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Holy Terror - Total Terror Award winner

Holy Terror
Total Terror
by Marcos "Big Daddy" Garcia at 23 September 2017, 1:53 PM

The great importance for boxed sets is to bring a chance for new fans to know the previous albums of some artists. In the case of “Total Terror”, that assemble all HOLY TERROR material, is a great opportunity for many fans.

About HOLY TERROR, I’d like to introduce you all to a North American insane quintet from Los Angeles that was formed back in 1985, in the middle of a Metal scene that was boiling with new names. But unfortunately, even being a good act, they remained in the deep parts of the underground, and it was a pity. They had a resemblance with acts like FLOTSAM & JETSAM, DARK ANGEL (from where their first drummer, Jack Schwartz, came), ABBATOIR, AGENT STEEL and some others that were playing a melodic and furious mix between Speed Metal and earlier Thrash Metal. But their biggest difference between some of their comrades back them was the ability to use very good melodies in the middle of an attack of excellent guitars, thundering bass guitar and drums, and very good screamed vocals.

From here on I’ll review each album separately.

“Terror and Submission” came to the world on 1987. That was the year when the bands were evolving to better sound qualities but the band stayed with those tunes from the first half of the 80s, and the production was managed by the lead guitarist Kurt himself. Even with this nasty and smoky sound (It’s an album from the 80s, have this in mind, please), their musical talent pulses on songs as “Evil’s Rising”, the aggressive orientation from guitars shown on “Mortal Fear” (excellent riffs and great solos duels, and excellent vocals as well), the melodic and US Metal orientated tempos of “Guardians of the Netherworld” (that bears a Hard’n’Heavy scent, along with a very good chorus), the clear influence of NWOBHM that is shown on “Distant Calling”, the touch of Heavy/Power Metal that US Metal inherited from JUDAS PRIEST that is felt on “Terror and Submission” and on “Alpha Omega (The Bringer of Balance)” (both with fine vocals and great amounts of energy). If this album was released 3 or 4 years before its time…

One year later, on 1988, “Mind Wars” (their second album) came to the world, once more produced by Kurt (that did the mixing as well), and the sound quality improved a little. You can hear that their style became more mature and aggressive, but keeping its features. “Judas Reward” is a violent song, fast and heavy (with slow tempos during the first solo parts), and fast as well is the aggressive “Debt of Pain” (that shows melodies on vocals), the NWOBHM influence comes back on “The Immoral Wasteland” and its fine melodies, the conceptual and brutal grasp on triplet “A Fool's Gold”, “Terminal Humor” and “Mind Wars”; the clear Speed/Thrash grasp of the energy unleashed on “Terminal Humor”, the mad Thrash Metal fury of “No Resurrection” and “Christian Resistance” (this one with some subjective melodies). A fine work, but it was a time that if you were on a great label, you’d make some success, but it wasn’t their case…

And the band ended on 1989, and the feeling we had back on those days is that they deserved a better chance.

But they came back on 2005, and on 2007, they released a compilation remixed material, called “El Revengo”. On this box set, only the first CD (the one with studio remixes) is present. So, with a better sound quality, you can see how they were good, because the technology helped Kurt to find a better sound for the band. The songs 1 to four were remixed on 2004, and 5 to 13 on 1988. And on the new versions of “A Fool’s Gold/Terminal Humor”, “Christian Resistance”, the amazing energy of “Damned by Judges” and its guitar solos duets, the raw energy of “Evil’s Rising” and “Mortal Fear”, the great appeal that the vocals show on “Distant Calling”, the essential weight and melodies of “Blood of the Saints”, and the slashing fury of the guitars shown on “Black Plague” and “Guardians of the Netherworld”.

“Live Terror”, as the name shows clearly, is a live album. The shows were recorded on Dendermonde (Belgium), Fort Lauderdale (Florida), and Milan (Italy). The sound quality is really good, but keeping the rawness from a live album. And the power of their musical work is unleashed on songs as “Black Plague”, “Evil’s Rising”, “Distant Calling”, “Christian Resistance”, the hymn “Blood of the Saints”, the thunderous “Do Unto Others”, and the version for “Judas Reward” recorded on Milan.

The box set has one more surprise: a DVD that has three shows of the band, all of them on 1988, recorded on Milwaukee, Chicago and Anaheim 1988, and a session of extras, with slide show, extra pic from The Reign of Terror, and the official video for “Judas Reward”. A great homage to HOLY TERROR, to their fans and it will show that, if thing on this life were fairer, they could be the fifth band on the North American Big Four of Thrash Metal… Who knows?

Play it at the highest volume!

Originality: 10
Songwriting: 9
Memorability: 10
Production: 9

5 Star Rating

Tracklist:
Terror and Submission:

1. Black Plague
2. Evil’s Rising
3. Blood of Saints
4. Mortal Fear
5. Guardians of the Netherworld
6. Distant Calling
7. Terror and Submission
8. Tomorrow’s End
9. Alpha Omega (The Bringer of Balance)

Mind Wars:

1. Judas Reward
2. Debt of Pain
3. The Immoral Wasteland
4. A Fool’s Gold
5. Terminal Humor
6. Mind Wars
7. Damned by Judges
8. Do Unto Others
9. No Resurrection
10. Christian Resistance

El Revengo:

1. A Fool’s Gold / Terminal Humor
2. Christian Resistance
3. Damned by Judges
4. No Resurrection
5. Evil’s Rising
6. Mortal Fear
7. Distant Calling
8. Alpha Omega (The Bringer of Balance)
9. Blood of the Saints
10. Black Plague
11. Terror & Submission
12. Tomorrow’s End
13. Guardians of the Netherworld

Live Terror:

1. Black Plague \[Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
2. Evil’s Rising \[Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
3. Judas Reward \[Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
4. Debt of Pain \[Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
5. Distant Calling \[Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
6. Christian Resistance \[Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
7. Blood of the Saints \[Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
8. Immoral Wasteland \[Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
9. Alpha Omega \[Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
10. Do Unto Others \[Live In Fort Lauderdale, Florida]
11. Christian Resistance \[Live In Fort Lauderdale, Florida]
12. Alpha Omega \[Live In Fort Lauderdale, Florida]
13. Judas Reward \[Live in Milan, Italy]
14. Black Plague \[Live in Milan, Italy]
Lineup:
Keith Deen - Vocals
Kurt Kilfelt - Lead guitars
Mike Alvord - Guitars, backing vocals
Floyd Flanary - Bass
Joe Mitchell - Drums
Record Label: Dissonance Productions
     


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