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Victims of the Transformational 90’s “Holocaust” - 92%

bayern, April 21st, 2017

Holocausto are a very interesting entity; they are one of the most chameleonic outfits to ever grace the metal scene, never settling for one style on two consecutive efforts. Diversity was the name of the game in their “campo de exterminio”, and for better or worse they have stayed this transformational course to the present day. Their debut remains a milestone in the brutal/aggressive metamorphosis that started in Brazil in the mid-80’s, the band standing proudly beside Sarcofago, Vulcano, Sepultura, Sextrash and the rest with their chaotic thrash/death/black outrages. Interestingly enough, neither of these acts kept their remorseless “morbid” visions, and made compromises on subsequent releases sounding way more acceptable. Holocausto were no exception to this rule, and “Blocked Minds” featured much more controlled hardcore-tinged thrash with a curious mechanical, sterile guitar sound, “blocking” all attempts at any untamed black/deathy ingredients.

Far from a masterpiece, the sophomore provided a few momentary glimpses of less ordinary, more abstract genius which simply had to find a fuller realisation on future exploits. And the band made no mistake giving it full freedom on the album reviewed here, a marvellous entry into the technical/progressive thrash canon, one of the most original works the Brazilian thrash metal field has ever produced alongside The Mist’s first two efforts, Acid Storm’s “Biotronic Genesis”, and Butcher’s “Astral Karma”. In a manner akin to the Swiss Calhoun Conquer on their opus “Lost in Oneself” (1989), the Brazilians mixed the psychedelic progressivisms of Voivod with a more dishevelled thrash/crossover base to a pretty positive effect. Starts “Seconds”, and merely seconds into it the listener already knows that there will be neither “exterminations camps” nor “blocked minds” here; this would be a trippy, devious “excursion” into the progressive thrash “jungle”, one that is completely devoid of any notions of predictability from the get-go. So these “Seconds” start creeping forward with prominent bass and surreal scratchy riffage, and when the totally outlandish semi-declamatory clean vocals hit, some may plain leave the room since this would be far removed from any even remote expectations; this is robotic, dystopian thrash which predates the scene transformations that occurred merely a few years later. All is not rigidity and futurism, though, as “Opened Eyes to the Nothing” is a short thrash/crossover anthem without any offbeat embellishments. “Austroptecus Technologicus” blends the two heard so far styles into one intricate headbanging melee also recalling the future (for the time) feats of another very interesting Swiss outfit, Lunacy.

The achieved symbiosis works just fine so there’s no reason why the guys shouldn’t use it for a string of numbers which also includes the title-track, a more progressive composition with slower spacey digressions and twisted technical decisions; a masterpiece of amorphous shape-shifting metal. “Congratulations Mr. Money” is a more uplifting shredder with more elaborate accumulations the latter vintage late-80’s Voivod with a stupendous jumpy rhythm-section utilized in the second half. “Platzs Pitz” is an awesome technical headbanger with slower pounding stopovers its stride continued by the 30-sec outburst “Falling into the Void”, and by the “Disappointing the Ridiculous Analysis”, a vigorous speedy riff-fest with mind-scratching time-signatures, surreal dispassionate thrashing, minimalistic creepy intrusions, and a couple of great twisted melodies some of those also provided by the lead department.

Like the French Loudblast, who produced the sublime “Sublime Dementia” (1993), the band under scrutiny here have pulled themselves to the max this once, and have come up with a truly fascinating record which the world simply couldn’t have expected from them considering their previous output. The fandom didn’t have to worry about the Voivods surrendering to the spacey rock arena in the 90’s with the presence of such visionary performers who smartly borrowed from the Canadians’ palette, and yet managed to provide their own individualistic rendition of it. Holocausto stood proud beside the aforementioned Swiss formations, but also next to Jester Beast, Braindamage, Headcrusher (all from Italy), the Americans Transilience, the Swedes Omnitron... Killing Joke as well (the brilliant “Extremities, Dirt and Various Repressed Emotions”). The dissonant hallucinations of Snake and Co. had “contaminated” the field, the Brazilian batch seemingly one of the most “infected”.

“Infection” that didn’t hold for too long, though; other metamorphoses were coming on the horizon, and they found quite a few from the old guard ready to embrace them, more or less wholeheartedly. Holocausto didn’t think twice before they succumbed to them for their next instalment “Tozago as Deismno” two years later which saw them taking a very avant-garde, industrial rock approach that wasn’t necessarily bound to the metal world anymore. So the Brazilians decided to follow their Canadian idols down the road to radical alterations, and it was kind of good that they stopped there cause the prospective follow-up really looked scary…

The band returned in the new millennium with “De Volta ao Front” which was a direct nod to their primal bashing beginnings. No trace whatsoever of any more stylish variations; the guys sounded like they had just started playing, evaluation which also stands for the “War Massacre” EP which is marginally more professionally executed. A highly unpredictable team as a whole; which should by all means keep their early-90’s fanbase hopeful for more original “negativity” to be unleashed upon them one of these days.