Album Review – Holycide / Annihilate… Then Ask! (2017)

A fantastic album of old school “Motherfucking Thrash Metal” by an unstoppable quintet from Spain, annihilating everything and everyone that dares to cross their path.

What started in 2004 as an uncompromised Thrash Metal project by vocalist Dave Rotten (frontman of underground Spanish Death Metal act Avulsed) long before the New Wave Of Thrash Metal exploded massively has finally reached its final stage of evolution, culminating in an unstoppable and pugnacious thrashing beast for lovers of bands such as Dark Angel, Infernäl Mäjesty, Atrophy, Coroner and Sacrifice. In other words, it might have taken over a decade for Madrid-based steamroller Holycide to become a reality, but after listening to the crushing music from their debut album, the excellent Annihilate… Then Ask!, you’ll see the wait for this new entity created by Mr. Rotten was definitely worth it.

The intention, from the very beginning, was to create a very aggressive kind of thrash, exempt of commercial touches and focusing on the intense side of this kind of music. However, Dave was able to record the project’s first demo only in 2013, named No Escape, followed by the EP Toxic Mutiation in 2015. Although those releases might not have been exactly what Dave had in mind at first, they certainly fueled him and his bandmates to keep moving forward and become a full-bodied Thrash Metal group in the next couple of years. Featuring a kick-ass old school cover art by Andrei Bouzikov (Municipal Waste, Skeletonwitch, Toxic Holocaust), Annihilate… Then Ask! not only brings forward all the passion of the members of Holycide for the most hostile form of Thrash Metal, but it’s also the first major step in the career of a project that can now be considered one of the best and most electrifying new names of the genre worldwide.

Guitarists Miguel Bárez and Salva Esteban, together with drummer Jorge Utrera, build the stage for Dave and his demented growls in the opening track, a brutal and metallic devastation named Afterworld Remnants, a perfect sample of what the band calls “Motherfucking Thrash Metal”, followed by the insane title-track Annihilate… Then Ask!, presenting more of Dave’s sick screams supported by the reverberating bass by Dani Fernández. This is another classic chant with amazing backing vocals during its beyond-fun chorus, with the album’s crisp production boosting its already belligerent vibe. Dani continues to kick us in the head with his bass while the rest of the band delivers pure Thrash Metal for our total delight in Human’s Last Dawn, in special the awesome job done by the talented Jorge on drums and the old school guitar solos by Miguel and Salva. And following the path of icons such as Exodus, Forbidden and Overkill, the band blasts high-speed, visceral Thrash Metal that will certainly inspire you to slam into the pit in Eager to Take Control, with highlights to the always inebriate and acid growls by Dave.

Motörhead, Holycide’s tribute to the most badass Rock N’ Roll institution of all time is flammable, potent and as thrashy as hell, with an entertaining bonus for the listener in all the references to Lemmy and his crew in its lyrics, while the band delivers unstoppable beats, classy solos and endless aggression to our ears. The next tune, Bonebreaker, is an uproarious, rhythmic and ruthless composition, with the bass lines by Dani and the riffs by Miguel and Salva cutting our skin deeply (the song could have been slightly shorter to keep the music fresh, though); whereas the band’s raging onrush of Thrash Metal goes on in full force with another furious spawn entitled Deserve to be Erased, where Dave continues to be the madman on vocals while Jorge accelerates the music with his frantic and precise drumming. Needless to say, this song should sound fantastic if played live.

Holycide’s cover version for Losers, one of the most famous songs by American Thrash/Speed Metal band Détente, is a thing of beauty, living up to the anarchy and hardcore vibe of the original version, with its guitar solos being exactly what we want in Thrash Metal, while Leather Spikes Chains & Blood carries in its name all elements we crave in good heavy music. Musically speaking, it’s a magnificent feast of slashing riffs, thunderous bass lines, powerful beats and a superb performance by Dave on vocals, supported by the song’s sick backing vocals. Put differently, it can’t get any more thrashing than this. And the album ends at maximum speed and savagery with the merciless tune Back and Forth, a demolishing hymn led by the hellish growls by Dave and Jorge’s intricate and demonic drumming. Well, what are you waiting for to have some beers and get smashed into the circle pit to the sound if this sensational song?

If you’re still not convinced about the absolute awesomeness of the music by Holycide, simply click HERE and, after around 42 minutes of sheer havoc, you’ll certainly bow your head to this amazing Spanish quintet (or at least headbang nonstop to them). Holycide can be reached through their Facebook page, where you can keep updated with everything the band is working on, while Annihilate… Then Ask! can be purchased at their BandCamp, at the Xtreem Music’s BandCamp or webstore, on Amazon or at Discogs. When you have in your hands an amazing album of old school Thrash Metal like what Holycide are offering us, you don’t ask anything. You simply annihilate whoever crosses your path.

Best moments of the album: Annihilate… Then Ask!, Motörhead, Leather Spikes Chains & Blood and Back and Forth.

Worst moments of the album: Bonebreaker.

Released in 2017 Xtreem Music

Track listing
1. Afterworld Remnants 4:13
2. Annihilate… Then Ask! 4:04
3. Human’s Last Dawn 4:43
4. Eager to Take Control 3:24
5. Motörhead 4:42
6. Bonebreaker 4:56
7. Deserve to be Erased 4:47
8. Losers (Détente cover) 3:13
9. Leather Spikes Chains & Blood 4:20
10. Back and Forth 4:00

Band members
Dave Rotten – vocals
Miguel Bárez – guitar
Salva Esteban – guitar
Dani Fernández – bass
Jorge Utrera – drums

Guest musician
Juancar – guest vocals on hooligan chorus

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Album Review – Aegri Somnia / Ad Augusta per Angusta (2017)

A compilation of Iberian popular folk songs from the late 19th and the early 20th century, where Spanish oral traditional music is mixed with the harmonic eccentricity typical of musical styles such as Black, Folk and Experimental Metal.

Whenever metal gets blended with any other type of music in the world, in special with more traditional styles and genres, the result is always beyond interesting, transpiring creativity, passion, feeling and entertaining us all in a different way than our usual metal bands. That encounter of the fury and darkness of heavy music with distinct non-metal sounds is exactly what you’ll experience in Ad Augusta per Angusta, the debut full-length album by Madrid-based Black/Avantgarde Metal project Aegri Somnia, where Spanish oral traditional music, unknown even for most of Spanish people, is mixed with the harmonic eccentricity typical of musical styles such as Black, Folk and Experimental Metal.

Aegri Somnia are Cristina R. Galván (also known as Lady Carrot), from the Castilian folk music world, and multi-instrumentalist Nightmarer, from the Avantgarde Metal scene (As Light Dies, Garth Arum), who decided to form the project in 2012 in an old ghostly house located in a northern Spanish valley, surrounded by loneliness, silence and the smell of wet earth. And it didn’t take long for the duo to give life to Ad Augusta per Angusta from the harmonious union of their skills and backgrounds, offering the listener a compilation of Iberian popular folk songs from the late 19th and the early 20th century, a travel through the rural and magical Spain with its lights and shadows, and a gaze into the abyss of the black and tenebrous Spain with the inner cruelty and brutality of human beings. Featuring a stylish artwork designed by Cristina and Nightmarer themselves, Ad Augusta per Angusta will certainly redefine the way you see folk and metal music.

Serene acoustic guitars and the delicate voice by Cristina kick off the folk composition Seran, full of traditional Iberian elements and showcasing a steady, melancholic atmosphere. Furthermore, all additional instruments played by both Cristina and Nightmarer are necessary to the music, never sounding out of place. Aegri Somina offer heavier guitars and a rousing vibe in the excellent and classy chant Señor Platero, presenting a great performance once again by Cristina on vocals while Nightmarer brings the word “metal” to the musicality in a perfect balance between extreme music and Iberian folk; followed by La Culebra, a song that’s at the same time tailored for a dancing performance and for a metal concert. Not only Cristina changes her tone a bit in this song, sounding more aggressive than before, but also the song’s symphonic elements enhance its darkness, cohesiveness and taste.

La Deshonra, the longest of all tracks, transpires melancholy through the beautiful acoustic guitars by Nightmarer and the passionate vocals by Cristina, and despite the music not having any breaks or variations, that doesn’t mean it’s not a great song. In fact, its constant rhythm is what makes it mesmerizing. In Molinero – Vengo De Moler, the fusion of metallic guitars and the classic sound of unique instruments like spoons, clamps and stomps, among others, creates a fantastic ambience for Cristina to declaim the song’s lyrics, filling all spaces in this exotic and fun composition, whereas in La Niña De La Arena, one of the best tracks of the album, the duo speeds up the pace and delivers sharp guitar lines, both electric and acoustic. This is indeed an intricate chant displaying several different instruments and layers, with nuances of modern folk music to spice it up a bit. And exhibiting a softer side, Cristina and Nightmarer focus on the more gentle sounds of their instruments in Romance De Santa Elena, generating a calm atmosphere where Cristina beautifully tells the story through the song’s poetic lyrics.

Ronda De Mayo brings Iberian folk with hints of modern Hard Rock, Folk and Progressive Metal, feeling like part of the soundtrack for a dark movie, with its percussion and synths working really well, keeping the music flowing smoothly. Then we have Rondón Del Enamorado Y La Muerte, another dancing tune full of clapping and acoustic lines keeping up with the Spanish traditions, with Cristina going back to her sharper vocal lines while Nightmarer does an amazing job with his unstoppable guitar, and Charro Del Labrador, where Cristina continues to showcase her tender vocal lines, with the musicality in this case being denser than usual thanks to the heavier beats and louder folk instruments. I personally think this experimental composition should sound very interesting if they record a full metal version of it. And Veneno, the last composition in Ad Augusta per Angusta, offers the listener atmospheric passages and a high dosage of melancholy, and albeit not being a bad composition, it’s in my opinion slightly below the rest of the album in terms of creativity.

It’s extremely easy to know more about Aegri Somnia and their music. For instance, you can listen to the full album on YouTube, where you can also watch an amazing video by Cristina herself speaking about the traditional percussion instruments used in Ad Augusta per Angusta and other details about the Iberian oral tradition (with subtitles in English available). You can also follow the duo on Facebook, and purchase Ad Augusta per Angusta at their BandCamp page, at the Symbol Of Domination’s BandCamp page, at the Satanath Records’ webstore or at Discogs. And if exploring new music is part of your life, then you’re more than welcome to join Cristina and Nightmarer in their voyage through the darkness and light of the rural Spain.

Best moments of the album: Señor Platero, Molinero – Vengo De Moler and La Niña De La Arena.

Worst moments of the album: Veneno.

Released in 2017 Symbol Of Domination/United By Chaos

Track listing
1. Seran 4:08
2. Señor Platero 4:51
3. La Culebra 3:13
4. La Deshonra 6:06
5. Molinero – Vengo De Moler 5:05
6. La Niña De La Arena 2:40
7. Romance De Santa Elena 4:28
8. Ronda De Mayo 4:17
9. Rondón Del Enamorado Y La Muerte 3:40
10. Charro Del Labrador 5:41
11. Veneno 4:51

Band members
Cristina R. Galvan (Lady Carrot) – female vocal, galician and castilian tambourine, pandero cuadrado, palo de agua, spoons, almirez, shells and claps
Nightmarer – male vocal, electric & acoustic guitar, fretless bass, keyboards/synths, programming, violin, accordion, wind chimes, claps and stomps