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A remarkable return - 88%

Zodijackyl, June 11th, 2017

It is rare for reunions to be great. While bands can often play their old material, they can rarely match it. Age wears you down. I can't say I've heard a band who returned 30 years after their apex and maintained the same energy - especially one of this breed - but that is what Holocausto have done. Their style was never as maniacal as their formidable debut, with four albums across three decades being a bit more "mature" or "toned down" in a disappointing way. Then, their original lineup got back together and ripped out a couple new songs and a couple old songs, and somehow they have this frantic, raw, untamed energy that nobody past the age of 25 should have.

War Metal Massacre has the same fury - the same raw energy and untamed aggression - as their early works, namely Campo de Exterminio. It's ripping Brazilian blackdeathrash of the old variety, and they even manage the crisp edge that is often lost in the dirtier and darker emulations of the style. The production is a bit thicker than the older works, but it is still every bit as rough and abrasive as those early Cogumelo years, with only the slightest hint in the mastering that this is from 2016.

I'll admit it's hard to describe it without repeatedly restating the obvious point that it sounds like old Holocausto, but it *is* old Holocausto and it is remarkable that they convincingly returned to where they were in 1987, before taming their style on Blocked Minds. Nearly all of their peers took similar paths away from the insanity which made this scene great in the early years. Sepultura focused on the grooves, ultimately too much. Vulcano became tighter but less ferocious. Mutilator cleaned it up a bit, too. Nearly all of these transitions happened pretty quickly - once the bands had some experience, they tried to tighten up and be technically better, but in the process stopped sounding utterly insane and obscene. While their other works were probably more like what they were *trying* to do, they somehow brought back that intangible element of what they managed to do.

I can't say if it was a conscious decision, but it is remarkable how 50-year-old Holocausto seem to have injected the youthful reckless abandon back into themselves, having unlearned it just a year after their debut. Perhaps the rise of bands influenced by them and the lack of something special in their later works inspired them to go fucking wild just like the same teenagers who decided to call their band "Holocausto" - a decision iconic of that reckless abandon.

It doesn't match their debut, but this is uncharacteristically good and unlike anything you could have expected.