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Assassin - Holy Terror / The Saga of Nemesis

Holy Terror / The Saga of Nemesis
by Daphne Minks Daly at 10 May 2021, 2:27 PM

When hardcore thrashers ASSASSIN's "Holy Terror" began to circulate in 1986, it grew to become an instant classic putting Düsseldorf on the map of German extreme metal. Decades later, through High Roller Records, ASSASSIN's two demos, 1985's "Holy Terror" and 1986's "The Saga of Nemesis," have been carefully restored and remastered from their original tapes. Both demos present timeless masterpieces that are just as relevant today as when they were first released.

Track one, "The Damned (Intro)," starts the album off with a quick, dramatic intro reminiscent of a live metal show in the late eighties. The first track abruptly ends and leads into the second song, "Fight (To Stop the Tyranny)." With enough thrash to keep a pit going, this track has both a weight and a message to it that seems timeless. The third song, aptly titled "Holy Terror," is classic ASSASSIN at their finest. Rough and thick, it offers up crushing instrumentation with dueling vocals throughout. A true ass-kicker, "Holy Terror" is another song that conjures up imagery of raucous shows in the golden age of early extreme metal.

"Religion," has an intro that's worth the price of the album alone. A favorite track for this reviewer, the low-chugging bassline and shredded guitars add layers and grooves to a thoroughly sludgy, somewhat blackened song. Track five, "Bullet," is a quintessential thrash song with a sound that's unmistakeably ASSASSIN. The early roots of German extreme metal can be heard through the entirety of this song. Starting out heavy and continuing to grow in intensity, the only thing missing is a circle pit.

"Assassin," a song sharing the same name as the band, is a change-up from the previous tracks on the "Holy Terror / The Saga of Nemesis" album. The intro is melodic and cinematic before a complete change-up. The result is a thrashy metalcore tune with plenty of bite. Track seven, "Speed of Light" from 1986's "The Saga Of Nemesis," wastes no time establishing itself as a power track that furnishes no reprieve to the listener. A powder-keg from the word go, ASSASSIN slaughters genre boundaries and offers a window into the early days of hardcore thrash. A definitive groove track, this one eases its way into the favorite track spot for this reviewer.

"Forbidden Reality" is a classic early metal tune that gallops through the battlefield with a vengeance. Thoroughly enjoyable and a bit of a change-up from the previous tracks, it offers multi-level genres and blackened vocals. The entire album is definitely worth a listen and feels like a step back through time, into the earlier days of thrash and metalcore. A truly enjoyable trip through time, ASSASSIN's “Holy Terror / The Saga of Nemesis” is undoubtedly an actual historical work of art.

Songwriting:  6
Musicianship: 6
Memorability:  4
Production:  3

2 Star Rating

1. The Damned (Intro)
2. Fight (To Stop the Tyranny)
3. Holy Terror
4. Religion
5. Bullet
6. Assassin
7. Speed of Light The Saga Of Nemesis (1986)
8. Into War (Intro)
9. Forbidden Reality
10. Holy Terror
11. Nemesis
12. Speed of Light
Robert Gonella - Vocals
Jürgen “Scholli” Scholz - Guitar
Dinko Vekić - Guitar
Markus “Lulle” Ludwig - Bass
Andreas “Psycho Danger” Süther – Drums
Record Label: High Roller Records


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