A name like Rabid Flesh Eaters suggests "Reign of Terror" is no cupcake. The Texan thrash squad had a close affiliation, both sonically and personally, with the deceased Rigor Mortis, the most anti-cupcake band on the planet. Casey Orr has performed alongside Rabid Flesh Eaters in a live setting, and "Reign of Terror" was, in fact, produced by Mike Scaccia and features one of his final recordings in the form of a blistering solo exploding out of the album's first cut. Given the association to a cult group and the general formalities of stuff like Rigor Mortis, Rabid Flesh Eaters leaves little to the imagination. They're from Texas, they play thrash, they sound like Rigor Mortis; I think you can figure this one out.
The nice thing about "Reign of Terror" is that it manages to be more than just a retracing of Rigor Mortis, especially "Slaves to the Grave." The thrashy riffs are punishing when performed in medial tempos and skin-peeling at full throttle. Generally, the M.O. of Rabid Flesh Eaters revolves around unleashing turbulent thrash numbers that sound absolutely nuts. The title track and "Lycanthrope," for instance, have frenetic riffs coiled over the outrageous howls of the vocalist, from whom there is no shortage of madness; he sounds like an antisocial Pepper Keenan who took bath salts before going to the studio. I have a hard time pinpointing if he's growling or if he's shouting, but he sounds totally awesome belting out his crazed voice over the bloodshed underneath. Talk about intense: these songs are a f***ing sacrament to derangement, like "Flesh for Flies," only more extreme and complex, somehow.
Much of their appeal is due to Scaccia's production, which has modern spunk but isn't ruined by its crisp and clear form. "Reign of Terror" manages to successfully expand a bit in the songwriting department; it's not like this technical, wild style is the only trick in the book, though it is the focal point. "Morbid Beast," "Psychotic Episode," and "No Escape (From Murder House)" teeter near or beyond seven minutes in length, each boasting a plethora of thrashy sections helping to vary the perpetual intensity. The drumming echoes the chaos of the remaining group, hammering down in frenzied fills and proficient use of the blast for a sizable chunk of the record. Long story short, it hurts so good. Have fun telling your face from your ass.
Like most groups following this style, Rabid Flesh Eaters is at the top of their game when the havoc is turned up to 11. "Gridlock" and "Industry Killers" throw off the album's consistency a bit; their tempos are scaled back and they lack the intensity Rabid Flesh Eaters otherwise churns out effortlessly. "Reign of Terror" for most of its running time otherwise puts up a hell of a fight, summoning an homage to Rigor Mortis that goes beyond a mere resemblance of qualities. It is also nice to hear one of the final works of Mike Scaccia soaked in blood, his specialty. Rabid Flesh Eaters is a nice little find that itches the Rigor Mortis craving.