ACID: Acid / Maniac / Engine Beast


Acid were a female-fronted, cult heavy metal quintet from the early ’80s and based in Bruges, Belgium. Taking their cue from the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal movement, they featured lead singer Kate De Lombaert, Demon on lead guitar, Dizzy Lizzy on rhythm guitar, T-Bone on bass and Anvill on drums. After releasing their debut single for the legendary HM label Roadrunner in 1981, Acid recorded three slabs of pure, unadulterated heavy metal for their own Giant Records between 1982 and 1985. These albums have been reissued with band approval, their full involvement, and featuring liner notes from Acid expert and Classic Rock/Metal Hammer writer Malcolm Dome.

Acid – Acid

It hits you to the core, it touches almost every single feeling you have. Good clear lyrics, it’s right on cue with the music, with strong, multi-dimensional levels to the vocals. The vocals are emotional, but not in a bad way, but the raw emotion, the raw feelings to music, is pure rock. The album has a really fast paced tempo, but not to the point of being too fast paced for the vocals. It’s powerful, Kate is fearless, not so much in your face, but you can tell she isn’t messing about. The guitars and bass are not competing with each other; they compliment the lead, the rhythm guitar and the bass. You can hear all three and without one or the other, the feel or the sound wouldn’t be the same. Kate brings a sense of sexiness to the music, the dirty, rough, let’s roll about anywhere and do it kind, with no strings attached. This is newly released with some bonus tracks, such as “Hell On Wheels” which is really good, and really powerful. It’s a “don’t give a damn” kind of song that is pure attitude, pure kick ass. “Hooked On Metal” which is also a powerful, attitude filled song, and “Five Days Hell,” which is a demo that I think would have been good as a single, and “Women At Last” which would be good as a single as well. This album is long overdue as a re-release, it features a strong female lead, it’s hard-hitting, fast paced, multi-layered, and not flat or dull at all. Kate oozes sex appeal, an “I do as I want, don’t give a damn” attitude which fits her style and the bands. Each track keeps getting better and better, there isn’t anything negative about this album except it’s too short.  Even though this is a female lead band, this album doesn’t scream man hater, or I don’t need one, it doesn’t even scream it’s a feminist album, and it’s not overly masculine either. It’s a good match up with being masculine and pleasing to both the ones who like hard, ultra masculine bands and for the girls who “don’t need men.” It’s friendly to all that appreciates powerful, raw emotional sexy music. Kate is very confidante and she uses her sex appeal to her full advantage, it sounds like the band is taking their cues from Kate’s voice instead of the other way around.

Acid – Maniac

This album seems more constrained, more restricted, and more disciplined than the self-titled album was. The first album was more fluid, more like they were cutting their teeth with it; it was rebellious, more energetic, and wilder than this one. This album was energetic, but not as high as the other one, and this one isn’t about proving themselves to either us or to the band, it’s more about “let’s see what else we can do.” It was a good mix of vocals and music, with the lyrics being very good and clear. The vocals are emotional, nice and strong and it was restrained, but it helps with the overall feel and sound to it. The album wasn’t all over the place and neither was the music, everything was nice and tight, but it wasn’t flat, it just showed that Kate and the band knows control and knows more than one style. It shows that they aren’t one dimensional, but they have a complicated sound to them which is refreshing from the other bands who doesn’t know anything but to copy and paste the same sound to different lyrics.  Acid is different, it’s a fun album, and it’s an album with attitude. The way they did the sound in editing just gives it a nice echo effect which fits, and it just emphasis the sound of Kate’s voice in a unique way. The guitars are tight and controlled, not all over the place, not as flashy, but they do have their moments when it’s called for to make a statement. This album features three bonus tracks; “Drop Dead,” “The Day You Die,” and “Exterminator,” which is really fun and it has spoken word at the start that gives you a sense of anticipation of what the song will be like.

Acid – Engine Beast

This album is fearless, constrained, which means they have control over their music, Kate with her vocals, and Demon and Dizzy are the keys to the overall sound to the album, they can do scales like pro, they have lots of power and it seems that they are setting the pace. It’s a powerful album with lots of attitude. The first album was their cutting teeth one, the one before this one was where they knew their style, they knew how to show control and play around with other sounds, and became more confident and more comfortable in their shows, and this one is showing just what they figured out, that they can be sexy, confident, powerful, with an in your face, bad ass attitude while having fun and not taking themselves to serious. There are sixteen tracks this time, and they are all good, and all fun. “Hooked On Metal” appears twice on this album and “Hell On Wheels” appeared twice on the self-titled album. Track four is called “Big Ben” and it’s so good, Demon and Dizzy actually do chimes like clocks, and their scales are spot on, the tempo is great, the instrumental parts don’t over shadow Kate, nor does she overshadow them, it’s all balanced. The pace is fast, but not too fast to the point where Kate can’t keep up. Anvill does a really good job keeping everybody in line with the beat. The guitars, bass and drums are nicely blended, you can tell what everything is, but it’s so nice to hear a cohesive and clean piece of music. I feel like this album is the end result of years of practice, years of trial and error, years of getting it just right and by the sound of it, they have done it.

Yes, I know these are re-released albums but they sound so fresh, so good, they sound like they are being released for the first time.

Review by Amy East