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Holy Terror. A name often forgotten when discussing thrash but once mentioned, brings a smile on all our faces. Each and every time. Not without reason since they were one of those promising groups that unfortunately vanished after only two albums. And two great albums they were.
‘Mind Wars’ has an incredible European thrash sound to it. Good to hear not all American thrash guitarists want to copy Holt, Hetfield or Hanneman. Not that there’s much wrong with those 3 masters of thrash of course but Holy Terror’s almost un-American ability to combine heavy metal melodies with faster than average thrash is amazing. Just try the chorus and melodies on ‘Debt of Pain’. Almost angelical. It’s b-side compositional counterpart ‘No Resurrection’ comes close but is not as brilliant.
Are there no lesser moments here? Well, unfortunately there are. ‘The Immoral Wasteland’ feels like a leftover from the pervious album and has little to do with thrash and firmly stays within those cheesy US power metal boundaries without excelling and tempers the enthusiasm which was built up so nicely by the first two songs. Fortunately ‘A Fool's Gold’ saves the day with its high polka beat pace and flashy melodies. And then there is of course The Riff in the section between ‘Terminal Humor’ and ‘Mind Wars’ which Dave Mustaine blatantly stole for Hangar18 two years after this brilliant album. The song ‘Do unto Others’ even has a punky feeling to it. Mostly because of the constant high pace (except for the middle section that is), the almost comical vocal line trying to put in more words than possible and the simpler than simple tremolo picking.
It’s clear this is one of those albums appealing to most thrashers out there simply because it manages to incorporate almost everything there is to love about all different kinds of thrash. Keith Deen sounds a lot less like Martin Walkyier when he puts on his raspy voice this time around. He has become much more melodic and able to give the songs more than a bit extra. He gave them a lot extra.
And to answer the last question, is ‘Mind Wars’ better than ‘Terror and Submission’? Hell yes! Fortunately this album doesn’t have a Cream Cheese chorus like ‘Evil's Rising’ or runny Brie riffs like on ‘Guardians of the Netherworld’ and sounds a lot less power metalish than before but actually manages to have a lot more melody and more aggression at the same time. Holy Terror became more than the sum of its parts right here.