Merseyside Thrashers Reaper originally planned ‘Stranger Than Fiction’ as an EP, but as a benefit of lockdown expanded their new release into full album status. It also gave them the opportunity to improve the production values of the release over their early work, as well as mature and expand their sound.
The term ‘progressive thrash’ has now been attached to the band, and whilst this is a fair pigeon hole, don’t expect the meaty riffs that the band were well known for during their Bloodstock New Blood adventures to disappear into guitar twiddling and weird chord structures (well not all the time anyway)
The Album kicks off with ‘Event Horizon’ a mixture of radio announcers and static, before launching into the first track proper – ‘Sigil’ hopefully most of you have heard this already as the bands single release, it’s at the thrashier end of the album listings and is an enjoyable romp, before the pace comes down and the heaviness gets dialled up for ‘Titan’, a brooding stomper that prowls menacingly around your ears!
‘Upon The Sun’ has a traditional rock/metal vibe and even has a little acoustic break in the middle, which Flamenco(?) style come back in at the start of next track ‘Flight’ which is a more complexed affair, with some ethereal singing mixed with some brutal chugging and riffs.
‘Jericho’ opens the throttle back up a bit for another of the more thrash tracks with some riffs that 80’s bands would have been proud of including in any of the classic album.
‘Afterlife’ is another up intelligent multi-tempo’ed rocker than despite its near 7 minutes duration remains interesting and enjoyable as it winds through its journey, the Album finishes with ‘Walk The Sky’ and possibly the most prog track on the album at over seven and a half minutes long it allows the creativity to flow out, with a blend of everything from throughout the rest of the album!
Reaper have upped their game dramatically for this release, but with it moved a little further away from thrash, the songs are brave and interesting, the lyrical content is thought provoking and more ‘acceptable’ from a prog thrash band.
All in all a strong release, and it’ll be interesting to see where the journey takes the band next!
Stranger Than Fiction is out NOW