Wednesday, September 29, 2010

The OTHER Holocaust that cannot be denied...(Part Two)

*cough**cough**splutter* So, I was slightly waylaid in my intention to post the second part of this EPIC post up sooner by a stinking cold. I'd apologise, but I really don't think you care, heartless fiends that you are! *COUGH**SPLUTTER*

Aaaaaaaanyhoo, moving on with MORE Holocaust.

It seems that the common consensus is that NO-ONE knew that Holocaust had reformed after their initial NWOBHM period, let alone released four albums and an EP of top-notch WEIRD PROG METAL.
Frankly, this is a damn shame BUT not a surprise - I was not aware of their LAST two releases until comparatively recently myself, due to what appeared to be a total lack of advertising. CRIMINALLY, their 1989 comeback EP 'The Sound Of Souls', its followup full-length, 1992's 'Hypnosis Of Birds' (AKA 1996's 'Spirits Fly') and their 1998 concept album - yep, you HEARD me, a CONCEPT ALBUM - 'Covenant' are all completely unavailable outside of paying collector scum prices via Discogs/Ebay/Amazon Marketplace.

This saddens me greatly, MOSTLY because I don't actually OWN 'Hypnosis of Birds/Spirits Fly' OR 'Covenant', but also because it means that the world is deprived of some Class-A WEIRD PROG METAL, and we frankly need ALL the WEIRD PROG METAL we can get our grubby paws on.

So, where were we? Ahhhh yes....

...1997 saw the release of the 'Covenant' album. A concept album based upon the book 'The Chronicles Of Thomas Covenant, The Unbeliever' by reknowned fantasy writer Stephen R Donaldson

Having never read the book myself - I'm basically Elf intolerant - I couldn't honestly say whether it is a good and faithful adaptation or not, but hey, the book is ABOUT a leper, and the first track on the album - as seen above - is called 'Leper's Progress', so I figure they at LEAST got THAT part right. I'd give you a synopsis but, frankly, I can't be bothered. Go click on the book title to read it on Wikipedia...I mean, do I LOOK like a library??

On the whole, 'Covenant' is some very EPIC WEIRD METAL, and hell, who doesn't LOVE a concept album?

Get it HERE, and dig another track from the album, the very Obsessed-sounding 'Salt Heart'...

.....yessir, that track puts me strongly in mind of The Obsessed's mighty opus 'The Church Within', which is a VERY good thing indeed.

2000 saw the release of the much more aggressively METAL 'The Courage To Be'...

...a very SOLID and consistent record which, along with the more aggressive tone, featured a return to the WEIRD METAL of 'The Sound Of Souls'...


Now, this CD is STILL available for CHEAP on Amazon and if you dig what you hear here I would advise that you buy it ASAP as I don't know how many of these are left floating around it there. UK/Euro folks can get it HERE, and septic tanks can get it HERE. Of course, it goes without saying that you can also get it HERE fer nuthin' too. Cheapskates.

Okay folks, we're into the home stretch now, and I just want to thank you for sticking with me on this one, I know it's been a chore for some, but i like to think that the aural rewards MORE than compensate for wading through this waffle and blather.

Released in 2003, 'Primal' is the most recent Holocaust album, and things have been completely silent for them since then.
More straight-forwardly METAL than the other releases of the reformed band, if it turns out to be their swan-song, then they went out on a good note.

Mortimer's vocals here are more along the lines of his Mille Petrozza/early Mustaine snarl as deployed on 'The Sound Of Souls' EP, which seems to have alienated a few people. Not me though! I dig it ALL. Here is the opening track 'Iron Will' for your listening pleasure...

...and here is my favourite track, 'Colossus' - LOVE that massive lumbering riff!

...again, THIS is still available HERE for very little money (only on Amazon UK this time though, I'm afraid. Hey, suck it up Yankee Doodle Dandies!), and HERE fer NUTHIN'...

And THAT, my friends, is THAT. All that remains for me to do is to direct you toward the official Holocaust website, which hasn't been updated since 2003, sadly, and also to direct you to an interview with Holocaust mainman John Mortimer from just before the release of 'Primal'. He's a smart and interesting man who claims that his three interests in life are music, theology and chemistry.
Makes a LOT of sense to me when you listen carefully to his music and lyrics.

I hope some of you dug the choonz I put forth on here, and feel compelled to pick up any of the available Holocaust records. It warms the cockles of my heart when i get to share stuff I really dig with folks and those folks get to diggin' it too.

Next time, something infinitely less metal from me, but still KILLER...BRIAN ENO ROCKS OUT.


Helm said...

I like your posts on Holocaust and I'm glad they're receiving more exposure. I do not rate them as highly as you do because I find most of their songs half-written, but they're certainly worth listening to just for playing a different sort of metal to most.

I do not want to insult you at all, but please know that your constant-capped-words-for-emphasis is really annoying for this reader because I imagine you shouting out every half sentence.

The Thing That Should Not Be said...

...but Helm, I AM shouting! I hate typing, as opposed to talking, so i use caps for emphasis. I get very frustrated with having to type, as too many subtleties and nuances are lost in translation. Apart from SHOUTING ;-)

I will ALWAYS stand up for any band that sticks to their guns and plays what they WANT to, as opposed to what 'sells', and for that reason alone I find 'em highly admirable.

Helm said...

I have admiration for Mr. Mortimer as well, especially after reading interviews with him. I just wish they could take the material of 4 records and make a perfect record from the best parts of them, heh.

The thing you said about weird metal not being necessarily about riffs, well I half-disagree. I agree riffs aren't anything, but good songs are a must. Some latter-day Holocaust material just falls a bit flat for what it is.

The Thing That Should Not Be said...

I think the thing that 'makes' a Weird Metal band is some indefinable 'off-centredness' to the arrangements, but it HAS to be an un-selfconscious one. The best ones are the ones with no guile or 'plan' - they write what they write and it can't help but come out askew.

I can smell a phony band a mile away - Mudvayne spring to mind; They have all of the trappings of being Weird Metal, but its too calculated and skewed toward a populist demographic.

I like an undefinable sense of 'otherness' in my music.

I always say that I have problems with a LOT of 'sludge' 'doom' or 'drone' bands these days, due to the fact that I hear a lot of 'em sounding as though they have DECIDED to play 'slow'. My thing is, you should just play what you FEEL. I never liked Grief because, to me, they always felt like a fast crust band who DECIDED to play slow. Warhorse never convinced me either.

But, yeah, killer riffs are all fine'n'dandy, but if the feel is off, you're wasting your time.