The planet is not dying – interview wih Howard Smith, Acid Reign


Howard Smith, the vocalist and sole active member of English thrash metal band Acid Reign (created in 1985), has told for Musictivity, that “THE PLANET IS NOT DYING. It’s been here for billions of years and will still be here in billions of years. What is dying, are the conditions that make human life possible on the planet, we are just a virus with shoes and do not have a right to be here.”

Don’t let us be misunderstood and read the full interview published below. Howard explains briefly his point of view over metal history and modern social problems in general.

What I like most in this chat, is the sober voice of reason in the digital social media world.

At the end, you will become familiar with the difference between old and new Acid Reign, what can be beneficial for your reputation when you meet with your metal friends next time, because Acid Reign is truer than Manowar.

“We wanted to come back and kick our old label in the teeth”.

source: Dissonance Productions

Life’s a journey, a vision, a quest
You only get one this is not a test

Acid Reign “The New Low”

Acid Reign came back on thrash metal scene with an excellent album “The Age Of Entitlement” (Dissonance Production, 2019).

New line-up features:

  • Howard Smith (vocals, original member),
  • Paul Chanter (guitars, joined Acid Reign after reunion in 2015),
  • Cookey (guitars, joined Acid Reign after reunion in 2015),
  • Pete Dee (bass, joined Acid Reign after reunion in 2015),
  • Marc Jackson (drums, joined Acid Reign after reunion in 2015).

Listening to “The Age Of Entitlement”, I’m pleased to say, that THRASH METAL IS NOT DYING. It’s been here from a dozen of years and will still be here in the future. What is dying, are the conditions that make metal thriving, and we need to defend the metal faith.


Hello Howard Smith. How are you half year after “The Age Of Entitlement” was released?

Howard Smith: I am well, thanks. It’s been great to finally getting the album out, and that it went down so well.

Your newest album is more true, than Manowar ever wanted to be. What inspired you to create the newest longplay?

Well, I cannot stand Manowar, but thanks for the compliment (I think). We just wanted to make the best album possible, one that we would want to listen to, and contained all our favorite aspects of Thrash.

Great job then! I mean, Manowar claims to be true, while, in fact, your style is the truest form of metal music. So yeah, this is a compliment. Although thrash metal is more about hate than love, this genre might be considered as a unique medium, which allow people to transform their emotions from hate into love, same like martial arts make people better versions of themselves…

Well, this is your theory, everyone has their theory, but it cannot be defined, we all just have theories. Music moves people in different ways. Some will, without doubt, turn negative emotions into positive ones, while others will just enjoy a good rage and getting their anger out.

Additionally, you add some doze of humor into that. What is your sense of humor? Could you share something funny regarding Acid Reign, please?

We have moved on from those days; there is nothing “funny” on the most recent album. The humor, over the years, has distracted from our music, and lead to us being unfairly labelled “a joke band”. We wanted to come back and kick that label in the teeth. If you want humor, you’ll have to come and see us live – we’re having more fun than ever!

Younger listeners do not remember that “humor times” of Acid Reign…

Thrash metal, like all music, is for people of any age. Yeah, we are old, but you know what? That means, we’ve spent a long time perfecting what we do! 

Could you then tell us a story, how it was with Acid Reign in the past? How difficult it was to create a thrash metal band in 1985 in Northern England?

It was easy. I formed the band with friends at school. We all loved thrash metal. NWOBHM seems to be more important outside the UK than it ever was to us. Also, we were younger, and all that music was old and boring to us. We wanted to create something new and exciting!

Acid Reign released two albums “The Fear” (1989), “Obnoxious” (1990) and then split up in 1991. Why?

Thrash Metal went into a coma. The UK scene was not strong enough on its own to support the bands. We split, Sabbat split the week after, and Onslaught two weeks after that.

Did you feel some kind of “social sense of entitlement” that times? Or when did it draw your attention?

Entitlement has become more prevalent in our culture with the advent of social media. As has narcissism. It’s about thinking that you should have things, just because you want them, and not have to work for them.

the newest Acid Reign album called “The Age of Entitlement”

I can understand. What was the reason behind Acid Reign reunion in 2015, with completely new line-up?

We tried to reform (with the original line-up), but it didn’t work out. Everyone has jobs, families and commitments. We tried, we really did! But we couldn’t make it work. So, with the blessing of the old members, I put a new line-up together; a reboot, not a reformation.

Did you feel some kind of anger, which you needed to relieve through music in 2019? Anger towards modern age of entitlement?

I am not angry about the internet, social media, young people, streaming etc. In fact, I love all of that. My point is that as a species (ALL AGES) we have become accustomed to thinking “we are entitled to things”; but we are not. We have our fair share, and we have to work to earn what we desire.  

So we need to tell it clear, that you do not address these words only to the youngest generation?

Yes. What is a shame, people seem to have decided that I am taking aim at younger people, which is not the case. ANYONE is capable of acting entitled.

I guess that the main reason of that is a global overpopulation.

I agree, that overpopulation is, without doubt, an issue. I don’t have children, but if you do then good for you – as long as we are clear about one thing. THE PLANET IS NOT DYING. It’s been here for billions of years and will still be here in billions of years. What is dying, are the conditions that make human life possible on the planet, we are just a virus with shoes and do not have a right to be here.

What could we learn from you then, listening to your music?

That I am a much better singer now than I was the first time around!

Hopefully, more people will listen to you, because the world would be a better place then. Thank you very much for the interview. Cheers from Iceland!

What a lovely thing to say! Thank you. I really hope that, one day, we will get to play some shows in your beautiful, amazing country.


Acid Reign will play soon few exciting concerts:

May 2nd 2020, Dublin, Ireland

May 30th, 2020, Chester, England

October 3rd, 2020, Fismes, France

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Author: Sam O’Black