Review Summary: An overlooked progressive thrash gem.
It’s a bit sad that only a handful of thrash bands get so much attention. Metallica, Megadeth, Slayer, and Anthrax took the majority of the spotlight in the 80s thrash scene, and a lot of really great bands got swept underneath the rug. One of those bands is Holy Terror, founded by ex-Agent Steel guitarist, Kurt Kilfelt, who merged the speed and heaviness of thrash metal with a good dose of melody and progressive ideas.
The guitars of Kurt and Mike Alvord weave in and out of each other, forming some great and really catchy melodies. The riffs are insanely melodic when it comes to thrash, venturing near power metal at times (probably an influence from the power and thrash metal mixture of Agent Steel). Look no further for evidence to the insanely awesome album highlight Alpha Omega- The Bringer of Balance
. But they also bring the aggressiveness and sheer in-your-face power of thrash as well, creating an interesting dichotomy of periods of insanity tempered a little later with melody.
Another great aspect of the band is the vocals of Keith Deen. He is really quite unique, shouting more than singing, but creating his own tone. Combine this with the way he annunciates words oddly, you get a vocalist who doesn’t sound quite like any other. He can be abrasive (the title track, Terror and Submission
) or highly melodic (the very power metal-esque closer Guardians of the Netherworld
). He is highly versatile and has a great snarl, making him a very effective thrash vocalist.
The drum work of Joe Mitchell is great, filled with really great fills and technically demanding work. The aforementioned Alpha Omega- The Bringer of Balance
also shows off his great and technical work, forming a rhythm that is easy to headbang to. His compatriot in the rhythm section, Floyd Flanary on bass, is fairly surprising when it comes to thrash bassists. First surprise, his bass is AUDIBLE. It can be clearly heard, which helps highlight the second surprise. He keeps up with the guitars rapid pace, showing off some impressive bass parts.
Holy Terror’s debut album is a fairly impressive piece of work. The healthy dose of melody combined with thrash’s abrasiveness already makes them stand out a fair bit from their contemporaries, but the addition of prog sensibilities with some great technical riffs and drum parts gives Holy Terror a unique identity in a sea of copy cats of the late 80s thrash scene. Unfortunately, they never broke out, only releasing one more album before disappearing into the history of music. However, any thrash fans looking for an interesting album to listen to, pick this one up.
-Astounding guitar work
-Unique vocal style
-Great rhythm section
-Production is a little rough
Alpha Omega- The Bringer of Balance
Terror and Submission