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For a vicious thrash metal debut, call Holycide - 80%

SlayerDeath666, February 28th, 2017

Holycide are a thrash metal quintet out of Madrid. They have a demo and an EP to their name but Annihilate… Then Ask! is their debut full-length. Spain is not particularly known for making great thrash metal but Holycide are aiming to change that along with bands like Angelus Apatrida, Crisx, and Soldier. Holycide’s brand of thrash metal is fast and furious at its core with blistering riffs, propeller-like drumming, and ripping vocals that resemble a slightly cleaner version of Evil Chuck’s on the first two Death albums.

The riffs on this album are pretty awesome but considering they have two guitarists, the guitar tone seems a bit thin and the riffs are a bit lacking in heaviness. Still, these guys can thrash with the best of them as evidenced by a song like “Eager to Take Control” which is nonstop riffs, constantly bouncing between being a speed demon and wanting to maintain a shred of heaviness. This is a style employed by many bands in the genre and is very successful because it never stops or slows down even for a second, keeping the listener on the edge of their proverbial seat. The leads and solos on here are great when they appear but they are used a bit too sparingly. All told though, the guitar work here is all killer, riffs and solos alike.

Dani Fernandez’s bass lines are a big standout on this album. They could be a touch higher in the mix but with attentive listening, you can definitely hear all the cool lines he is playing throughout the album. Interestingly enough, Dani is also the current bassist for the legendary Spanish power metal band Dark Moor and his bass lines are rarely audible on their albums, which is unfortunate. Different genres call for different mixes though and Dani definitely shows his chops in Holycide. You can hear it right from the get go with the album’s blistering opener “Afterworld Remnants” and the killer bass lines just keep coming as the album progresses with funky grooves like the opening of “Human’s Last Dawn” and the album’s epic closer “Back and Forth.” It is wonderful to hear more thrash bands giving bassists their due justice. It really is about damn time.

The drum work on Annihilate… Then Ask! is very solid and occasionally stands out as extraordinary like the driving rhythms and cool cymbal work on “Human’s Last Dawn.” This is nicely contrasted by the fast and furious kick drum laden approach to the faster tunes on this album such as “Motorhead,” which also features the best guitar solos on the album and is probably a tribute of some sort to the legends. The opening drum lines of “Bonebreaker” are of interest too as they sound like a cross between a jackhammer and war drums done on a drum kit.

Dave Rotten’s vocals are the only real point of contention on this album. They are not bad by any stretch of the imagination. On the contrary, they are fantastic. The trouble is that with his accent and gruff early Death inspired voice, it can be a bit difficult to decipher the lyrics. Lyrics are not a huge thing in thrash and with careful listening, Dave’s lyrics can be deciphered but sometimes it sounds like he is just growling random words. Still, they work rather well for Holycide’s high energy brand of thrash and they do stand out as original.

The production on this record is pretty solid and it is nice to hear Dani’s bass lines so solidly integrated into the overall sound. The guitar tone is a tad thin but it works well and for the most part, every instrument can be heard clearly. The only time the modern production does not work for Holycide is on the Détente cover “Losers” which tries to match the rawness of the original but ultimately fails. Annihilate… Then Ask! is a killer way to kickstart what should be a long and great career. It may not be the best thrash album released so far this year but it is still a vicious album with plenty of mosh-worthy tunes.

- originally written for The Metal Observer