Acid Reign

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Acid Reign
Acidreign 02.jpg
Background information
Also known as ATB
Origin Onslow College
Genres Thrash
Years active 1985-1987
Labels H2SOa
Associated acts Compos Mentis, Nazgul, Avil Retards, Microwave Babies, One Less Customer for the Butcher
Past members Andy Hope (guitar), Jarad Bryant (drums), Andrew Johnston (guitar), Andrew South, Gareth Levett, Alistair Fyth (drums 2), Nick Lawson (vocals 2), Alan Clark (vocals)


The wind swept hills of Wellington's Northern suburbs in the 1980's may have been a world away from the slow burn insanity of Cold War Europe but in the minds of many teenagers growing up punk in the 80s the nuclear arms race was an all too present reminder of the society of fear they were about to inherit from their parents generation. In the middle class suburban class rooms of Onlsow College (a relatively liberal state school) that has been the starting point for a number of punk bands: Condemned Sector in 1980, Floorpie, Bonus Donor in the late 90s. Members of the class of '85 were forming one part of the latest iteration of Wellington's anarcho-punk scene in the form of Acid Reign. Former drummer Jarad Bryant shares his perspective on what was going on.

“I was born in New Zealand but grew up in Bristol, England during the 70's. We had regular ads on TV about white washing windows and making nuclear fallout shelters under the kitchen table and warnings not to go outside in the event of fall-out from a nuclear attack. My family decided to move back to Wellington to get away from this insanity. These were the Cold War years and the arms race was in full swing. Nuclear War seemed a real possibility.

Cogs were turning in our minds. Duran Duran and Wham were in the charts and we basically saw bands like these as corporate shit. New Zealand had had the Springbok Tour riots, then marches to stop US warships entering our harbours. A neighbour of my classmate Andy Hope introduced us to New Zealand bands like Compos Mentis, ?FOG and the Capitol Kaos compilation. We were also listening to UK punk like Flux of Pink Indians, Dirt, Omega Tribe, Crass and Poison Girls. There seemed to be so much shit happening and these bands inspired us to do something. We were only 15 but anarcho-pacifism seemed to offer some answers leading some of us to change aspects of our lives like becoming vegetarians and to stop wearing leather.

Acid Reign

Andrew Johnston ( Juve) and I had been playing as Affliction and then in late 1985 Andy Hope, Juve and I got together at Andrew South's house to record a demo under the name Acid Reign. All we had were acoustic guitars, a biscuit tin and spoons but we recorded five or so songs on my grandmothers's tape deck. At the time we all had short hair so one of our first songs was called We're not Skinheads it went something like :

We've got real short hair but we're not skinheads... no, we're not skinheads.

Other hits included Fuck War: Fuck war, fuck war, fuck what it stands for

Normality: You're so normal and I'm so strange, but really we're just the same

And an anti-vivisection song, Death Without A Thought: Made to drink bleach to see what happens to their insides. Death without a thought

Interview about anti-vivisection, May 8, 1987

We dubbed off a few copies and made a black and white photocopied fold out cover with pics and lyrics. It was quite rough and raw.

Around the same time as Acid Reign started Andrew Hope and me published a zine called Second Dark Age. We did band interviews and printed pictures, opinions and articles about nuclear war, vivisection etc. There was a really healthy zine scene at the time with the likes of Anti-System, Communicade, Submission, ANI and others.

In 1986 we started getting more serious about Acid Reign and scratched together some amps and guitars. I opted for drums and swapped a box of 2000AD comics for most of a drum kit. I painted up a banner on a white sheet with the Queen's head and ACID REIGN written above in spray paint. Each weekend we'd practice at Andy Hopes folks garage in Crofton Downs. This essentially consisted of us playing as loud as we could. After a family trip to the UK at the end of 1986 I left the Acid Reign along with the Juve while me and Juve left the band. I scored a better drum kit and me and Juve began jamming in his parents Khandallah lounge. This was the start of the Avil Retards.

Acid Reign continued with Andy Hope on guitar, Andrew South on bass, Alistair Fyth on drums and Nick Lawson singing. Under this line-up they released a second demo-tape titled 'Rain Fall' with a fold out lyric sheet cover that featured a nuclear missile launching from the Statue of Liberty's torch. Recorded in September 1986 it featured re-recorded versions of Fuck War, Death Without A Thought and Normality with a new track Frogs and was released on their own label H2Soa. Soon after this Nick was replaced by Alan Clark on vocals and they recorded the song Carnivore in 1987 for the New Zealand 7” compilation.


Acid Reign: Carnivore


  • New Zealand, 1986, 7" vinyl, compilation, Track: Carnivore
  • Rain Fall, 1986, demo tape
  • Acid Reign, 1985, S/T demo tape