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Album Review

Holy Terror – “Total Terror” [4CD + DVD Boxset] [Album Review]

Total Terror is a holistic celebration of one of the unsung creative heroes of late ‘80s speed/thrash metal.



In terms thrash metal, its legacy and history, Los Angeles’ Holy Terror was the band that never got its due. This, despite being one of the few outfits that took the template established by its Bay Area, New York and Teutonic peers and forefathers and wrangled it enough so that something unique and singular came sliding out of its ass end. But as much as members were responsible for creating some of the quirkiest and most entertaining thrash from 1986-89, those same dudes were also responsible for their own untimely demise. Poke around the band’s website and you can read first-hand autobiographical accounts of how alcohol, drugs and sketchy personalities combined with youth, inexperience, cash flow problems and clashing goals and work ethics created a hot mess once the quintet took their noise from the rehearsal room and studio and brought it on the road.

Total Terror is a holistic celebration of one of the unsung creative heroes of late ‘80s speed/thrash metal. The five-disc box set compiles both classic full-lengths (1987’s Terror and Submission and 1988’s Mind Wars), the El Revengo double-disc compilation originally released in 2007, Live Terror (which is actually three shows from the late ‘80s in Belgium, Ft. Lauderdale and Milwaukee) and a live DVD. It’s complete and total Holy Terror overload, but an incredible way to experience the essential majesty of this band, where they were at, where they were going and where they might have gone.

Vocalist Keith Deen (who passed away after a battle with cancer in 2012) was a firebrand frontman, using the full complement of his vocal capability, messing with degrees of clarity and octave range, injecting vocal lines that locked into riffs but also moved into wild directions of counterpoint. The riffs of unheralded barnburners like “Christian Resistance,” “A Fool’s Gold/Terminal Humor,” “Blood of Saints” and just about everything else they ever wrote already teetered on a revved up, flagellating edge that incorporated elements of punk, classic New Wave of British Heavy Metal and what the big names of the day.

But Deen’s frenzied style along with guitarist’s Kurt “Kilfelt” Colfelt and Mike Alvord’s employment of spidery runs and blazing picking hand speed, the irreverence of Floyd Flanary to throw in a mid-song bass solo (“The Immortal Wasteland”) and how they could sling-shot from sounding like five dudes playing five different songs to moving in complete harmony and unison like a Super Bowl winning offensive line is also part of what made Holy Terror an incredible force to be reckoned with.

This collection is thorough, almost to a time-consuming fault, but exists as an amazing celebration of a band that coulda, shoulda been much more popular. Holy Terror absolutely deserves to be remembered under bright and shining lights and, with this comprehensive package now available, they will hopefully never be forgotten.

Total Terror Track Listing:
CD1 – Terror And Submission
01. Black Plague
02. Evil’s Rising
03. Blood Of Saints
04. Mortal Fear
05. Guardians Of The Netherworld
06. Distant Calling
07. Terror And Submission
08. Tomorrow’s End
09. Alpha Omega (The Bringer Of Balance)

CD2 – Mind Wars
01. Judas Reward
02. Debt Of Pain
03. The Immoral Wasteland
04. A Fool’s Gold
05. Terminal Humor
06. Mind Wars
07. Damned By Judges
08. Do Unto Others
09. No Resurrection
10. Christian Resistance

CD3 – El Revengo
01. A Fool’s Gold / Terminal Humor
02. Christian Resistance
03. Damned By Judges
04. No Resurrection
05. Evil’s Rising
06. Mortal Fear
07. Distant Calling
08. Alpha Omega (The Bringer Of Balance)
09. Blood Of The Saints
10. Black Plague
11. Terror & Submission
12. Tomorrow’s End
13. Guardians Of The Netherworld

CD4 – Live Terror
01. Black Plague [Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
02. Evil’s Rising [Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
03. Judas Reward [Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
04. Debt Of Pain [Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
05. Distant Calling [Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
06. Christian Resistance [Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
07. Blood Of The Saints [Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
08. Immoral Wasteland [Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
09. Alpha Omega [Live In Dendermonde, Belgium]
10. Do Unto Others [Live In Fort Lauderdale, Florida]
11. Christian Resistance [Live In Fort Lauderdale, Florida]
12. Alpha Omega [Live In Fort Lauderdale, Florida]
13. Judas Reward [Live in Milan, Italy]
14. Black Plague [Live in Milan, Italy]

DVD – Live sets from:
01. Milwaukee
02. Chicago
03. Anaheim
04. Judas Reward Video
05. Slide Show

Run Time: Days
Release Date: February 9, 2018

Check out the Total Terror teaser video here.