After being introduced to Reigning Days in 2015 and subsequently seeing them open for Wilson and interviewing them, I’ve been hungry for their album. I noted at the time the self-titled EP was “…intended as a teaser of the upcoming full album and if it’s even remotely like this, it’ll be nothing short of spectacular.”
Whilst it’s been close to two years since I wrote those words, it’s been worth the wait. Producing an anthemic slice of alt-rock and peppered with indie flavours, Eclipse shows Marshall are betting on the right bands when it comes to their label signings. Most notably of all, it’s just simply great to have the trio back with new music. Whilst the songs from the EP are present, they’re sprinkled throughout; the album opens with “Empire” much like the EP. It’s everything Reigning Days are boiled down to in one concise song. Massive riffs, equally big choruses and a tighter-than-a-noose rhythm section. It’s mirrored at the end with the fuzzy “Self-Destruct”, full of nasty riffs, breakdowns, screams and ample opportunity for a crowd to participate.
The “old” songs haven’t been changed with the exception of “Crazy Horse”, given a fresh lick of paint, it’s not until the lyrics kick in that you begin to recognise it. Taking on a more psychedelic yet sinister approach, the pop gloss of the previous version has been scrubbed off to create something more raw. Daniel Steer snarls his lyrics, taking aim at the concept of addiction, name-dropping Zopiclone and how other people can influence such a lifestyle.
Preening like peacocks with their deft skills, much like most other three-pieces of their calibre, they go out of their way to prove you have to be an exceptional band to justify only one guitar. Everything’s present in the mix with massive, chunky basslines from Jonny Finnis channelling Duff McKagan at points. Meanwhile “Gravity”’s intro sounds like classic Foo Fighters before jumping to a more indie rock sound but it’s fully conceptualised on “Inhaler” and it could have been the song Dave Grohl and co never wrote.
“Chemical” takes a look at the idea of all emotions simply being chemicals flooding our brain as it reacts to situations and is definitely the poppiest moment on the album but it’s catchy just like all good pop songs should be. And has far more substance. “Do You Feel” is another tame moment with light and airy melodies, bitterness laced into Steer’s vocals. Elsewhere, there’s massive drums on offer from Joe Sansome on tracks like “Renegade”, bouncing off the riffs Steer and Finnis’ bass work.
Whilst an album usually feels turgid at 14 tracks, it doesn’t here. Normally, I’d ask for a couple less and the obvious choices would be the older ones found on the EP but it’s a case of asking the question “Which do you cut?” As such, they’ve kept them all to provide you with everything in their arsenal and bringing something new to the table at the same time. This is an album made with live audiences in mind. It’s likely not going to appeal to your typical denim and leather fan but for those with an open-mind who want to hear a fresh sound by a potent trio, you’re going to love Eclipse.
With the UK reaching a critical mass of constantly churning out the same bands with the same look, Reigning Days have come to the rescue. Making something completely fresh and unique, it seems fitting the last song on the album is called “Sound of the Future” because that’s what this is. Between the bravado found on the hardest of hard rock bands, catchy lyrics fit for a stadium to scream at them yet heavy enough you can mosh to in a sweaty club, Reigning Days are the first band in a long time to push the genre further.
Eclipse is released today (Friday 13th April)