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A good appetizer - 77%

Drequon, December 20th, 2014

It took them a full decade, but the NWOBHM pride of Scotland, Holocaust (who spend several years of soul-searching following the usual disillusion with the music business) finally decided to bring some new compositions to the world. "Expander" is a humble 3-track EP meant to introduce the new full-length, tentatively called "Sweet Liberty" at the time of writing and due to be released sometime soon. And judging from the music here featured, there's some good stuff waiting for us next time around.

As time went on, Holocaust became a band very keen to explore new musical boundaries without veering that much far from the NWOBHM - something I always tend to admire and a somewhat difficult equilibrium to reach. But I suppose their forthcoming CD will be a sort of back-to-basics affair, as all songs included in this appetizer have more than a passing resemblance with their 80s musical legacy - the title-track, for instance, could easily be in "The Nightcomers", with a main riff that screams "British Standard Approved 80s Metal" right at your face. It's a good song, but my personal favorite here would be "Shine Out", a somewhat heavier number with inventive guitar interplay and subtle-but-interesting changes in direction here and there. Judging by these two tracks, we can get our record players ready for a very respectable comeback from John Mortimer and his friends. Final track "Observer One" is a short instrumental piece that won't cause any major surprises but pleasant enough for most NWOBHM listeners.

Holocaust is still to sign for a label - let's hope it won't take too long, so we can listen to their new material in a reasonable timescale. While the deal is yet to materialize, I guess we can do with "Expander" - one for long-time fans, that's for sure, but very competent when it comes to make their fanbase happy.

- Originally published at