martedì 28 marzo 2017

Holycide - "Annihilate...Then Ask!" (Xtreem Music, 2017)

Band: Holycide
Title: Annihilate...Then Ask!
Genre: Thrash Metal
Year: 1st February 2017
Time: 42 min
Rating: 86/100

The story of the Spanish thrash metal band Holycide seems to be a novel! In fact, Holycide were born even in 2004 when Dave Rotten from Avulsed and the guitarist Vicente Paya decided to create together a very violent thrash metal project in a period where the horrible metalcore dominated the scene while the aggressive return of the thrash metal seemed to be a chimera. But unfortunately, Vicente wasn't the right person to realize the aforementioned thrash metal dreams due to his lack of commitment, so Dave stayed alone. From here, a very tormented story started also because Dave found the first stable members for his project only in 2012-2013 thanks to the guitarist Miguel Bárez and the bassist Dani Fernández, and both were very fundamental for the first official demo of Holycide titled "No Escape", a raw effort also due to the use of a drum-machine (and I HATE the drum-machine!) while these 3 guys dubbed their music as "Motherfucking Thrash Metal". But, during a nice day and since the desired return of the true thrash metal into the scene, Miguel launched the idea to change Holycide from a studio project to a real band with the result that they became in 2014 a classic quintet with the addition of the guitarist Salva Esteban and the (totally human!) drummer Jorge Utrera. Hence, here you are, after an endless story, the Holycide's debut album titled "Annihilate...Then Ask!", released via Xtreem Music (which is, as you know, the label of the same Dave Rotten) with a fantastic cover artwork made by the known Belarusian artist Andrei Bouzikov with his now very recognizable trademark.

Said all this, I advise you that "Annihilate...Then Ask!" is a real atomic bomb! It comprised of 10 songs played in a style very close to the hyper-fast thrash metal full of impact of bands like Morbid Saint, Dark Angel and Num Skull but adding to it some modern elements and a big complexity more typical of the young monsters of this genre like Biocancer or Ultra-Violence. The result of this is an album able to mix perfectly the nervous and psychotic complexity full of tempo changes and excellent techincal skills with an intensity so extreme that the blast-beats are curiously not few for a production of this kind. Moreover, the two guitarists craunch riffs on riffs with a tireless dedication showing also a top-notch and imaginative taste for the guitar solos. The bass is very present into the musical discourse with the addition to be emphasized by the production. Instead, the vocal style of Dave Rotten, obviously different compared with the one used for his Avulsed, is very aggressive  while he is sometimes accompanied by the combative choruses of his comrades screaming the title of the various songs in a classic '80s style. But these are only the main features of Holycide!

Telling more about the album, my favorite tracks are 5 to 10. Firstly, I am talking about the opening song "Afterworld Remnants" which shows, simply, the hyper-fast thrash metal of the band. Instead, "Eager to Take Control" contains some very speed metal moments of pure intensity with a bass finally protagonist. "Bonebreaker" is a more mid-tempo oriented track (especially during its first 2 minutes) compared with the other numbers and it is comprised of one of the better performances by Bárez and Fernández overlapping also some riffs yet starting from the intro of this song. The following "Deserve to Be Erased" is so incredibly rabid to has a strangely slow and atmospheric passage where Dave sings through a lower voice. Finally, the conclusive "Back and Forth" surprises everyone through some melodic moments with a curiously "happy" atmosphere while Dave sings even in growl during some points! So, you have a more complete and surprising vision about Holycide!

In addition to all these songs, I have to mention absolutely also "Motörhead", a tribute-song to Lemmy and co. but, instead to be a rocking speed metal anthem, it is completely in Holycide-style. Then, there is "Losers", cover of the historic US thrash band Détente, played in a very violent manner. And, in conclusion, here you are "Leather Spikes Chains & Blood", able to floor the listeners through an abrupt and dark acoustic passage with a growling Dave before a fantastic lead phase.

Here's the bottom line, metalheads: "Annihilate...Then Ask!" rewards all the struggles fought by Dave Rotten and friends to make Holycide a destructive thrash metal band after 13 long years, an endless period in which everything has happened into the scene. So, the hyper-fast and nuclear thrash metal of Holycide has really everything, from the complexity to the inventiveness, from a drop of atmosphere to extraordinary guitar solos. Practically, I haven't found important flaws, I have noted only a predictable abuse of the breaks into the end of many songs while some sudden atmosphere changes can be a bit inappropriate (like the one in "Back and Forth", despite I adore this song) but I am talking about forgivable things also because both these relative flaws are managed very well.


1 - Afterworld Remnants
2 - Annihilate...Then Ask!
3 - Human's Last Dawn
4 - Eager to Take Control
5 - Motörhead
6 - Bonebreaker
7 - Deserve to Be Erased
8 - Losers (Détente cover)
9 - Leather Spikes Chains & Blood
10 - Back and Forth


Dave Rotten - vocals
Miguel Bárez - guitars
Salva Esteban - guitars
Dani Fernández - bass
Jorge Utrera - drums

Xtreem Music:

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