Style: Thrash Metal
Release Date: 28 May 2021
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While the British thrash scene was never as well known as its equivalents in the Bay Area, New York or even Germany, it was a busy and thriving scene in the late eighties and I remember Holosade well. It's fair to say, I think, that their session for the Friday Rock Show was much better produced than the one album they managed to release back in the day, 1988's Hell House, but I enjoyed it too. However, as so many other bands of that era did, they vanished when grunge took over and that was that.
Well, also like so many other bands of that era, they resurfaced much later, in 2011, and finally got to the point where they were ready to release their second album, no fewer than thirty-three years on from its predecessor. Now, I should explain that this isn't the traditional reunion, where most, if not all, of the heyday line up gets the band back together. The only original member is vocalist Philip de Sade, a powerful frontman who still sings in that late eighties clean and resonant but slightly shouty thrash style. But what matters most is that this is a damn good album.
Not only does it benefit immensely from the serious advances in both modern day production quality and the ready availability of that technology to bands or labels who may not have much money to hurl at that sort of thing, but it benefits from the presence of a pair of fantastic guitarists. They're Adam Ironside and Paul Trotter, who are also the guitarists in a far more recent Philip de Sade thrash band, Armortura, who were founded in 2016 and released one self-titled album in 2018. Needless to say that is now high on my priority list to catch up with.
Nobody here lets the side down, but Ironside and Trotter are surely the stars of this show. Whether a particular song needs them to churn, chug or blister, they're easily up to the task and the best parts of this album are when they just take over and weave their technical magic. De Sade does nothing wrong at all on Ascension from the Waves, for instance, but the guitars take over halfway and I couldn't have been happier.
The same happens on Abandoned on the Gates and that shows up after the fantastic Money to Burn, a song that allows for even more guitarwork because it lasts seven and a half minutes instead of merely four or five like most of these. The other longer song is Detonation to Oblivion, which almost reaches eleven minutes and it knows exactly what to do with them. That running time allows for delicate intro and outro, steady build, neat transitions into new sections, call and response, solo, instrumental part and reprise. This song really knows how to breathe and it's a gem.
Perhaps the best sign is that I'm posting review after listening to the whole album twice and a bunch of the songs a few more times and I don't believe I've even got my teeth into it yet. It feels like it will grow on further listens. That it's a better produced album than Hell House is a gimme. However, it's also a better album period and I'm eager to see where they go from here. Another album soon would be great, certainly before another thirty-three years go by. In the meantime, I wonder how soon I'll add another point to this rating. Welcome back, folks!
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