First Reign
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First Reign

Band Metal Rock


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FIRST REIGN-"S/T" CD-Polished sounding melodic/technical thrash metal hailing from B.C. Canada thats defintally on its way to a major label soon! Talented riffs in a AT THE GATES/DEATH kinda way. The vocals are actually sung and not screamed which makes this cd almost sound mainstream. Fans of IRON MAIDEN would probally like this cd quite a bit!
- Worship Satan Zine...

As any sane reviewer would, I approach demo reviews with a healthy degree of trepidation. Generally my cautiousness pays off when the demo turns out to be prohibitively redundant, poorly performed, ruined by the production, or any combination thereof. First Reign, however, have brightened my day by producing a demo release that doesn’t suffer terribly from any of the typical ailments. While this band is obviously young and haven’t entirely grown into their sound yet, I could see First Reign giving some of the more popular melodic metal acts a serious run for it a few albums down the line.

Now, I rarely have much patience for metal this easily digestible, but this British Columbian troupe have somehow managed to sneak past my defenses. First Reign play a blend of modern technical thrash, Maiden-jocking NWOBHM riffage, a wee smidgen of death metal, and some more traditional rock’n’roll icing in the form of Dallas Erickson’s vocals. This would ordinarily land them in the fun-to-listen-to-but-not-so-substantial Herod/Beyond the Embrace camp, but this particular band manages to exercise a little more control than their obvious parallels. In large part their success relies on tastefulness; where Herod et al lean heavily on addictive choruses and wild, spectacular soloing to carry songs, First Reign turn up the structural complexity and lay off on the technical flair. They’re less insistently catchy upon first listen, but the added depth that comes with the longer and more intricate songs is worth the loss. Erickson’s vocals, similarly, are devoid of flashy power metal wails and punishing growls, but his melodies compensate in class for what his voice lacks in character.

Though the lengthy songs and refusal to recline on a hook generally work in First Reign’s favor, the band sometimes overstay their welcome (“Infirmity,” “Tasting the Rust”). This said, their occasional longwindedness is little price to pay for their surprisingly mature performance. If First Reign can progress and grow measurably over the next several years, they could well be a force to reckon with. Well done, lads.
- - Doug Moore

Once upon a time in Abbotsford, Bertrand and his brethren were the resident heavy metal hooligans. Younger neighbourhood ‘bangers (half of First Reign) could only gaze up in wonder at our glorious pubescent titanium purity. Now – of course – they’re better musicians than I ever was, 122% more metal, and have far better beards (I can’t even grow one). In sum: super-tight soaring melodic galloping thrash, well played, well composed and deceptively religious. Guitarist/back-up growler/key songsmith Ryan MacDonald is a dead-ringer for Jesus, only shorter (Christ was 6’ ”, 198 lbs.). Singer Dallas Erickson’s clean-lunged epic wail is in the sub-Valhalla realm of Blind Guardian’s Hansi Kursch, maybe less stratospheric. Straight’n’narrow traditionalist is the overall style (acoustic outros!), possibly better suited to mainland Europe. Nonetheless, these boys – including the superb, pummeling rhythm section of drummer Sean Lang and bassist Russ O’Shea – have got chops and vigor to rival the big league alumni. Guitarist Chris Holtz even drew some wicked cover art. So go forth little ones! Give’r shit.
- Dave Bertrand
- the Nerve Magazine - Dave Bertrand

“These guys were kids when I met them, and now they're metal gods! On the pale wings of destiny they fly into the heart of the sun, only to outshine it! Sorry, that was too glorious. Great guys playing melodic metal that continues to evolve and grow.”
(David Von Bentley - The Nerve Magazine -

- The Nerve Magazine

Finally cutting through the dull, sparse fog of bad punk, indie rockers and tight pants, First Reign have wrought forth their debut recording unto British Columbia's land of lower main. Young, though at the same time experienced, the Abbotsford-based quintet has been producing an ever intensifying series of waves throughout the BC music community. Wielding a catalog of skills and influences that range from the baroque to the brutal, their sound instantly brings to mind the progressive NWOBHM gallop of yore infused with all the better, heavier bits of the modern metal "underground." This is a force that will succeed by standing out musically as well as philosophically. As a whole, the band does not subscribe to the commonplace "satanic heavy metal band" descriptor, themselves being religiously opposed. But being a band of christian kids from BC's "bible belt" isn't going to affect the group's direction, business- or otherwise.
"We're all technically "Christians" but not a "Christian" band. We're not just going to limit ourselves to singing about spiritual things," says guitarist and co-wailer Ryan MacDonald, "We'll sing about whatever we go through in life and whatever we want to sing about."
This includes not limiting themselves to a Christian label, even though going the way of the more secular indie labels may end up being a tougher route.
"That's kind of taking the easy road. We want to cater to everyone, not just Christian kids," says drummer Sean Lang, "And we're just as evil as anyone else if you want to look at it that way," he adds.
One thing the band refuses to step on is the magnet bandwagon of commercialized "TV" metalcore; hipsters coming off the deceased grunge and nu-metal of the 90's are clammering for something new and fresh, causing many big labels and television channels to rev up the focus groups and eagerly comply with the demands of the generation.
"We like metal," the band agrees, "We're not trying to jump into the mainstream."
Adds Lang, "You got some people who are all like 'Keep metal underground and elite and blah blah blah,' but if there are a couple mainstream metal bands who are getting more attention then maybe people are going to discover better stuff that's not on the surface.

The band's new demo was recorded in a friend's basement studio in exchange for a new bassdrum microphone and an equalizer. With little prior recording experience, it's amazing how clean and professional the record sounds. Reflecting on the experience and any lessons gleaned therefrom, the guys recommend studious rehearsal with a metronome.
"We recorded on separate tracks. So obviously there were multiple takes until we got things as good as we thought we could get them." says Lang. When pressed for advice, he adds, "Practice with a click track, otherwise it'll suck."
The songs produced run the gamut from wide open ballad-esque tunes to tight, fast-paced thrashers; they call to mind a myriad of styles. This is fitting, considering the group's collective writing process.
"We all write stuff." says Ryan, "I've written a couple songs, Chris has written a couple solos and a couple entire songs. Russ-"
"-Even the bassist and drummer write songs," interrupts intrepid frontman Dallas Erickson.
"It's like putting a puzzle together, pretty much." finishes guitarist Chris Holtz. This holds quite true in that each of the members bring their own characters and qualities into songwriting, be it on the voice, the guitars, the computer or the keyboards.
"I've written lots of stuff on piano. We just haven't had a keyboard so there's no point in putting it into the band." mentions Ryan.
From what can be deduced without a the use of a convenient CD sleeve, the band touches upon greed and other various tribulations of the human condition with their lyrics. When pushed for info regarding the themes of First Reign's first words, the band has no problem divulging some insight.
"Lots of the lyrics are about self-evaluation," responds Erickson, "What you've been doing with your life and what you're gonna do with your life. Trying to encourage people to be aware of who we are by what we do. Lots of experiences too. Chris' song "Tasting the Rust" is about pain that you've felt and dealing with that. Tasting the bad parts of life."

Opeth, The Haunted, 3 Inches of Blood, Black Dahlia Murder, As I Lay Dying - all are figurehead bands that are actively progressing the metal correctly in the eyes of First Reign. When pressed for the obligatory list of influences, older In Flames, Children of Bodom and Death are added to the above roster. With this schooling, the next step is the bust into the big city; is this as easy as it reads for a band with this type of sound?
"Not at all," comes Lang's reply, "We keep getting asked to play. We have 5 gigs lined up [this month]."
Ryan adds, "In Vancouver we've played the Astoria Hotel, the Brickyard, the Columbia..."
"It's been all right, mostly East Hastings, crackheads everywhere." concludes Lang.
The band plans to begin a mighty label hunt once the demo has been pressed, followed by relentless touring as far as their paths may take them. Regardless of the outcome, the boys will follow up their touring with some studio time; hopefully the Reign's first full-length will not be far off. -


2005 "self-titled" EP
1. Infirmity
2. Killing Our Kind
3. Optimus Prime
4. Tasting The Rust


Feeling a bit camera shy


“Finally cutting through the dull, sparse fog of bad punk, indie rockers and tight pants.”
-(Dan Yakimow - The Megalith rock webzine)

Every great band that has been organically formed is the product of something more than their own musical intuition. The formation process is as much a product of environment as it is personal endeavor; if the people, uncorrupted by the wiles of media and true to the reality of music, don't accept the band then it will fail. The people will see through any falsity, the music must be absolute. This is what First Reign strives for in music; in fact, it is in the unlikely environment of a sleepy farming town full of churches and seniors clubs that this melodic metal band was formed. Drawing from a wide variety of acts such as In Flames, Death, Iron Maiden, and Opeth, as well as many others, First Reign has developed a diverse sound all its own. It has honed its sound into its own brand of metal, with a strong classic metal influence and a penchant for technical thrash. With metal, intensity and emotion are often the key elements, but more important, perhaps, is a band's technical skill. First Reign definately carry themselves on this tripod foundation. Formed in the summer of 2004, they by-passed many other more established bands with the force of a twenty pound sledge hammer driving a six inch spike. Their musical ability is quite astounding, they know their instruments, they know metal, and they know how to utilize this knowledge to create a whole that is greater than the sum of its parts. Before First Reign, Sean had been wetting his feet in numerous small projects and Ryan and Russ had been in an Iron Maiden cover band called Wailing Corpse, the influence of which can be heard specifically in track three of their demo, a song entitled Optimus Prime. Since the beginning, First Reign has continued to advance in playing ability and song-writing. They have always taken each members individual influence into the music, to form songs that will permeate your mind. Songs that will not be forgotten.

“These guys were kids when I met them, and now they're metal gods! On the pale wings of destiny they fly into the heart of the sun, only to outshine it! Sorry, that was too glorious. Great guys playing melodic metal that continues to evolve and grow.”
-(David Von Bentley - The Nerve Magazine)