Holocaust - Elder Gods review


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Band: Holocaust
Album: Elder Gods
Release date: April 2019

01. Elder Gods
02. Children Of The Great Central Sun
03. Ishtar
04. Observer Two
05. Eon Of Horus
06. Astaroth
07. Solaris
08. Benedictus
09. Natural State

Some bands are destined to remain obscure despite their influential and pioneering sound. In the case of Holocaust, songs of theirs have been covered by the likes of Metallica, Gamma Ray, Six Feet Under, and even the Meat Puppets, yet I am sure that many of you reading this review have never heard of them.

Holocaust were formed in the late '70s in Edinburgh and started as a classic heavy metal band with their great debut, The Nightcomers, and then moved on to more progressive paths with releases that were hit or miss affairs. One of the hits is undoubtedly Hypnosis Of Birds, while their last record really worth mentioning is the criminally underrated Covenant, released 22 years ago.

While listening to Elder Gods I was thinking that it can be an enjoyable heavy metal album for those that mostly see traditional metal musicians as merely 'transsexuals in need of a shave' (©2017 Bruce Dickinson - What Does This Button Do?) and a comprehensible progressive metal album for those that can't relate to the flashy and astounding technical expertise that is encountered in prog bands. It has memorable riffs as any heavy metal album should and at the same time it features complexity that is mostly expected in prog. The end result is an album which has high replay value and is delightful in its entirety.

The heavy/doom riffing of the opening title track is pretty straightforward, but further down Holocaust's musical journey there are many unexpected twists and turns. "The Children Of The Great Central Sun" has a distinctive Killing Joke aura and an earworm of a chorus, the instrumental "Observer Two" and "Benedictus" both feature guitar synths reminiscent of Judas Priest's Turbo era, "Eon Of Chorus" storms in like a death metal bulldozer and then transforms into a groovy sensation, and "Astaroth"'s clean guitars and hypnotizing vocals have a surprisingly gothic feel to them.

Luckily, Mortimer (the only remaining founding member) has abandoned the raspier and forced style of Primal, and in Elder Gods his vocals drive the songs home without being over-the-top, with the dark and mystical "Solaris" being his standout performance in the album. The drumming is not mindblowing as you'd expect for a prog metal band but it is interesting enough, although I have to say that I did get a bit annoyed with the snare drum sound which feels too accentuated at times. It took me a few listens to realize that there are virtually no solos in the album because there are so many ravishing lead guitar melodies that overcompensate for the -obviously deliberate- omission; just listen to the dramatic impact of the middle part in the epic "Ishtar".

Elder Gods is a successful return to more progressive territory and much more engaging songwriting, and a massive improvement in all areas compared to its rather dull predecessor, Predator. It has the unmistakable charm of an older sound, enough variation in the rhythm without becoming too labyrinthine, and it is at the same time emotional and intense. Just like Diamond Head, Holocaust is another NWOBHM band coming back strong in 2019.

"She is the fragrance of indescribable bliss
The root of her being an elemental kiss
I melt in her being"


Written on 21.08.2019 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments: 3   Visited by: 110 users
21.08.2019 - 13:02
That's clearly NSBM
Father: How can a picture of a field be sad without a sad person looking sad in the field?
Young Woman: That's an interesting problem. Yeah, I struggle with that.
26.08.2019 - 20:20
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
This looks interesting, I will look at this, seems good
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
12.01.2021 - 15:11
I love how a 50 year old metal band can incorporate so many electronic elements in it's music. Loved this album. The last song Natural State is so groovy and it is mellow and chill, like butter melting on a crispy toast. Also such cool concept. They pretty much included all the elder Gods in their 9 song album.

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