“Reign of Terror”

By Dr. Abner Mality

The late Mike Scaccia was one of the best metal guitarists I ever heard. His work on the first Rigor Mortis albums was jaw-dropping and his brilliant axe work changed the entire sound of Ministry. God, do I miss that guy! Back in Texas, where Rigor Mortis is something of a legend, certain bands are trying to carry on in the Rigor style. WarBeast, featuring former Rigor singer Bruce Corbitt, comes to mind, but with Rabid Flesh Eaters, we have a band that actually features a tune with Brother Mike himself on lead.

That song is “Lycanthrope” and it features some posthumous fret-killing from Scaccia. The song is very much in the Rigor Mortis mode of balls-out thrash and the Scaccia lead solo work alone makes it worth hearing. I can’t say that the Flesh Eaters reach to the high level of Rigor Mortis, however. But few do. A lot of “Reign of Terror” sounds like a band trying earnestly to follow in the R.M. footsteps, but they just don’t have the same skill or songwriting chops. “Lycanthrope” is pretty good, but following track “Gridlock” is a real mess, with childish song structure and lyrics both and “Industry Killers” isn’t much better.

The album is not a throwaway, though it has some rough patches. I really like the “BWAHAHAH” vocal trick that gruff singer Ricky Wilson unleashes on “Psychotic Episode”. The one thing that really makes “Reign of Terror” worth your time is the scorching, Scaccia-style guitar solos that pepper every track. Just listen to Mike Taylor cut loose with some screamers on “Morbid Beast” and the title track. Sweet music for those who love rabid guitar mangling. The energy of the band doesn’t flag….it’s just that their songwriting is not up to snuff all the time.

A pleasing workout in the Rigor Mortis vein, but alas, they are not Rigor Mortis themselves!