Despite having a history that can be traced back as far as 2004, Spanish thrash unit Holycide are only now releasing their first full-length album, Annihilate… The Ask!
Featuring nine original tracks and a cover of Détente’s Losers, A..TA is a chaotic blend of old school Teutonic harshness mixed up with a bit of Brazilian brutality, then end result of which is a pretty listenable album if you’re a fan of unforgiving, generally melody-free thrash metal.
Unusually for this kind of music, bassist Dani Fernandez finds himself high in the (excellent) mix and grabs the opportunity to impress with both hands. Guitarists Salva Esteban and Miguel Baraz are both similarly handy on their instruments, with the soloing on Deserve to be Erased being particularly ferocious and impressive; penultimate track Leather Spikes Chains and Blood is also the home of some really top-class lead work, bringing to mind modern day Megadeth in it’s polished, surgical preciseness and flair.
The whole album, though, hinges on the up-front vocals of Dave Rotten, who’s hoarse, deathly bellow stamps itself everywhere and brings a real professional attack to the record.
The second half of the album is strangely far more impressive than the first, with the band seemingly warming up as they move through the gears, ending with a very mosh-friendly track in the bass-heavy chug festival that is Back and Forth, which is probably the highlight of the album for me as it blends seventies rock, death metal and slamming thrash into one stimulating package. The front of the album isn’t without charm either, in particular the heartfelt tribute to Lemmy, Motörhead – not the track of the same name, but the band’s own composition – which almost serves as the support act for the good material that follows it.
Holycide draw on all their experience to bring the listener an interesting product on Annihilate… which isn’t always the case with modern thrash records. It’s not quite premier league material, but there is certainly enough here to interest you if thrash metal of all kinds excites your senses.
Annihilate… Then Ask! is released by Xtreem Music on February 1st.