Tuesday, October 4, 2016

Your unofficial guide to: Holy Terror

The Lamb and the Goat have finally fused as one...
 
Warning: This entry contains delicate themes like occultism, demonology and other complex metaphysical points of view not recommended for the faint of heart and mind. Also, there's a lot of imagery and symbolism linked to "shocking" topics like war, murder and terrorism. Not everyone will understand all the theoretical construction behind this, not even me. For further information, do your personal research and have your own conclusions. Thank you.

Oi! my chaton.ne.s. We're finally back with a special that I've been thinking of since long time ago: the unofficial guide to Holy Terror. Following the succes of Neocrust/Blackened Crust and 80s Japanese Hardcore Punk (thank you so much les chaton.ne.s! I'm really grateful) unofficial guides, I decided to talk about one of the most debated topics within the hardcore/punk community: Holy Terror. We've already featured hardcore punk bands related to this "movement".

Now, there are some key elements common to these bands: dark, apocalyptic and vicious metal-infused hardcore punk (some of them with evident japanese hardcore punk influence like G.I.S.M. and Zouo) exploring existentialist, occultist and demonology related themes. These bands were trying to surpass the natural boundaries of hardcore punk with their musical style and lyrical content, but don't get the wrong idea that this is a separated hardcore punk subgenre. In fact, other metalcore bands, and even crust punk bands, that could easily fit into Holy Terror and not necessarily be related to are, for example, Catharsis or His Hero Is Gone. And, as you may already know, the most iconic and influential Holy Terror band undoubtedly is Integrity.

This kind of images and symbols are commonly used by Holy Terror bands. For example, in this image we see the Process... "4Ps cross", Baphomet's symbol and Manson posing like a "Messiah".

But, why has Holy Terror been a delicate topic within the hardcore/punk community? First, over the years, Holy Terror bands have used imagery and thoughts of different secret religious movements like the Process Church of Final Judgement (an american sect that got mass media attention mistakenly accused of being satanic and and having potential links with Charles Manson) or the Abraxas Foundation (a now defunct Church of Satan's offshoot whose philosophy basically is resumed in "the strong rule the weak, the clever rule the strong"). Also, these groups have a strange yet fascinating obsession with serial killers (notably Charles Manson, which is seen as a martyr, like a new messiah, an outcast, a misunderstood free thinker) and other symbols, imagery and modern interpretations related to the bizarre, occult and demonology.

Second, Holy Terror bands in different interviews have mentioned Jack Abernathy, the founder of the "Holy Terror Church of Final Judgement" which compiled all the thoughts and philosophies (some of them mentioned in the last paragraph) that nourish the "movement". No one really knows Abernathy's "true" identity (some people argue that it's Dwid Hellion himself) and the whereabouts and activities of the Church. For example, in different interviews, most of these bands have teased some things related to the Church and the Holy Terror thing, but they have "strictly prohibited" to give detailed information of their activities. 

Last but not least, it's unclear the existence of the Church and Hellion isn't interested in getting adepts or that kind of things. In fact, he doesn't matter what the hardcore/punk community thinks about Holy Terror related activities. All of the "members" of the Church, self-proclaimed as Holy Terrorists, see Holy Terror as a weapon, and not as a musical genre. Despite all the controversy and discussion about these bands, I've always been fascinated with the occult and bizzare imagery these bands manage, as well as their superb music and the apocalyptic yet inevitable destruction of mankind as a way of salvation.

Finally, we will feature the bands that are linked (or presumably) to the "Holy Terror Church of Final Judgement", respecting the premise that Holy Terror is a mindset, but some bands mislabeled as such will be featured as well due to its musical influence to the "movement". Also, there will be other experimental music groups (most of them side-projects) related to this fascinating mindset. I hope this entry will please you and we'll be back soon (I certainly hope so) with more surprises. Kisses and hugs. So, let's begin...

Integrity - Humanity Is The Devil 

https://holyterror.bandcamp.com/album/integrity-humanity-is-the-devil

If someone dares to ask me what is the musical "bible of The Holy Church of Final Judgement", I wouldn't hesitate twice saying that is the spiritual guide to the inevitable destruction of mankind as the supreme act of love you're looking for. Originally released in 1995 by Victory Records, Humanity Is The Devil is considered by many the magna opus of Integrity. As a curious fact, the front cover features Abraxas, an ancient entity worshipped by gnostic basilidians that represented, in most cases, the duality of good and evil, and was designed by Pushead (Septic Death).

Compared to Integrity's works prior to this release, we see a more refined and mature sound without leaving behind the glorious metallic hardcore punk style of the time. Also, the last two songs have harsh noise, ambient and experimental music influences in the same vein of Psywarfare and Rapewhistle, Hellion's side projects. In fact, some reissues of the record mention Psywarfare in the credits (You can listen to Psywarfare's From Xicotepec with Love and Process of Elimination EP, as well as Rapewhistle). And, this is the first hardcore punk record ever having Processean references and symbols on it.

Now, one of the most interesting features of this superb record, it's the last track, Humanity Is The Devil, because it has a strange manifesto that nourrish most of Holy Terror Church philosophy. It's been said that god would offer eternal bliss after 70 years of perpetual slavery. Humanity obviously refused this and opted for a more "free" yet material life. This decision, alongside the constant battle between angels and demons, emphasizing that the latter walk among us seeding pain and suffering, the inevitable destruction of mankind is a fact. Humanity is doomed per se and nothing can change that. 

Finally, you should get this record. Even though most recent Integrity material is darker and more complex, this is an excellent introduction to this Holy Terror madness and is also one of the best hardcore punk records in the 90s. Last year, it was remixed and remastered by Magic Bullet Records and also reissued this year by Organized Crime Records. I strongly recommend the latter because it's closer to the original release with a "special feature" contained in the last track, absent in most of reissues. Click on the image to be redirected to Holy Terror Records (Hellion's record label, formerly known as Holy Terror Church of Final Judgement Records. Coincidence?) official bandcamp account and get this masterpiece at a good price. You'll be really pleased with the aforementioned "surprise". Go on and listen to it. Mandatory adquisition. Enjoy! 

Gehenna - Negotium Perambulans In Tenebris 


https://gehenna.bandcamp.com/album/negotium-perambulans-in-tenebris

If I'm not mistaken, this is the first full-length of this amazing California-based hardcore punk band. This record was originally released in 2000 by Crawlspace Recordings and later reissued by Magic Bullet Records (CD version) and A389 Recordings (LP version) in 2013. Gehenna, today known as The Valley of the Son of Hinnom, is a place outside the Old Jerusalem (more precisely south to Mount Zion) and the Jewish and Christian analogue of hell.

As a curious fact, only the first LP release also featured an alternative black front cover due to the shocking value behind of the original. Something similar that happened with Carcass' Reek of Putrefaction. Also, the name of the record (translated to English as "Business walking in darkness") is mentioned in the Bible and was mistakenly translated to English in Negotiam Perambulans, a short story written by english writer E.F. Benson, whose writing style is compared to H.P. Lovecraft's.

Regarding the sound, Gehenna is one of the first hardcore punk bands that perfectly mixes hardcore punk with black metal. If something named as blackcore ever existed (I'm glad this never happened...well, kinda...damn you, dark hardcore!!!), probably this band, alongside with the first blackened crust groups, would be the first reference to it. Also, their lyrics evoke different topics like war, fear, hate, death, individualism and, of course, total fucking destruction of mankind.

Finally, I recommend you this album. Click on the image and you'll be redirected to Gehenna's official bandcamp account. Oh, I almost forgot. If you get Magic Bullet Recrords' reissue, you'll get an extra track, Yes Ma'am, which is a D.R.I. cover and, if you get the A389 Recordings version, just like the original LP release, you'll get another extra track, the Bite It You Scum cover, originally recorded by G.G. Allin. Also, get the Gehenna's The War Of The Sons Of Light And The Suns Of Darkness LP/CD, originally released in 1998 by the anarchist collective Crimethinc. with a 2013 reissue by A389 Recordings, which contains material prior to the release of Negotium... Pretty good stuff. Mandatory adquisition. Enjoy!

Ringworm - The Promise

https://ringworm.bandcamp.com/album/the-promise

Another outstanding Clevo hardcore punk band, whose sound has been a huge influence to almost all of the Holy Terror bands, as well as different modern hardcore punk and metalcore bands. This is their first album, and most well-known work, originally released in 1993 by Indecision Records. It's regarded by many as one the best and most iconic 90s hardcore punk albums and, of course, it's one of my favorite hardcore punk records. 

Regarding the sound, Ringworm took the best of late 80's hardcore punk mixed with a metallic touch, as well as a "darker" approach. Their lyrics are heavily influenced by different "negative" states of mind and old horror films. This band, as well as Integrity and Gehenna, was also labeled as Holy Terror in the 90s, but they never seemed to despise this. In fact, I read an interview where Human Furnace, vocalist of the band, said that they were really proud of being a musical influence for the movement.


Finally, I'm not really sure if Ringworm nowadays is a disciple of the Holy Terror Church of Final Judgement, but they're good and close friends to Integrity. You should get this amazing record. Click on the image and you will be redirected to Ringworm's official bandcamp account, where the 2003 reissue is available. This reissue was released by Deathwish, featuring a different front cover from the original 1993 release, with the anotation that the tracks number 1 and 2 and 9 and 10 are respectively combined, as well as adding the original demo and a live version of Deuce, a Kiss cover, as bonus tracks. For an unknown reason, Gimme Sopor, a Angry Samoans cover, is absent. And, A389 Recordings re-released the original 1993 release in 2009 with the original artwork (a picture of different demons) with the anotation of the combined tracks and the omission of the Angry Samoans cover. Mandatory adquisition. Enjoy.

Catharsis - self-titled

https://mega.nz/#!r5ZAkSyQ!r1KN-WUfCPCIc96_pMev9ySqYJhHJw9Oc7phzG59mqY

In this special, we couldn't left behind the band that first coined the term Holy Terror. The first reference started when Brian, vocalist of Catharsis, wrote an article in his ancient fanzine Inside Front about emerging metalcore bands in the 90s that had a relentless sound mixed with dark and apocalyptic lyrics like Integrity and Gehenna. In fact, some of these bands, for example, Gehenna, despised the term but would later embrace it in recent years.

Even though this band has never officially been linked to the Holy Terror movement, its sound has been a big influence. And, their record label, the anarchist collective Crimethinc., formerly known as Inside Front records, released some early works of Integrity and Gehenna (We already featured some compilations of this label, you can refresh your memory here: http://lamortdunemoderniste.blogspot.com.co/2015/12/penultima-entrada-del-ano-addenda.html. It's in Spanish, though). In fact, they were close friends in the 90s but each one would eventually take its own path...

Now, I decided to feature the first Catharsis 7" because later superb works like Passion and Samsara (that have been an influence in my life) will be featured in the near future with other purposes. Promised. Also, in musical terms, this record marks the beginning of the sonic madness Catharsis is known for. It should be noted that some lyrics of this record are weird reinterpretations of some passages of the Bible, (de)constructing an abstract and complex comprehension of this decaying and material world anticipating a prelude of destruction. Cool.

Finally, this the Crimethinc. edition, released in 1996, that compiles the original Endless Fight Records release of the same year, with their 1995 demo (named Fall) tracks, two covers of Sick People (Breakdown) and Our Fight (Confront), previously unreleased and with some minor changes in the lyrics, and the whole 7" tracks played backwards and in reversed order, as bonus tracks. Click on the image to download this interesting work. Sadly, I don't have the inserts but I added the original 7" artwork with lyrics for your amusement. Mandatory download. Enjoy!

Pale Creation - Wake Of Temptation

http://a389recordings.bandcamp.com/album/pale-creation-wake-of-temptation

Pale Creation is a Cleveland-based hardcore punk band formed back in 1994. They have a self-titled (1994), Twilight Haunt (1999), this record (2010) and different splits with Repugnant (2000), Hessian (2012), Integrity (2010) and Abraxis (2012). There's also an anthology that compiles most of their work named Before Twilight and After, released by Holy Terror Records in 2008. As a curious fact, they also participated in the legendary Cleveland Hardcore compilation Dark Empire Strikes Back.

Regarding the sound, Pale Creation plays metalcore in the same vein of Integrity and Gehenna, although some songs have interesting stoner rock and goth rock influences mixed with clean vocals, complex guitar riffs, and slow and introspective interludes that finish with brutal breakdowns. And, of course, the lyrics have the Holy Terror trademark. It's one of the few Holy Terror bands that don't use the complex symbolism imagery they're known for.

Finally, give it a try. It's pretty neat. Click on the image, and you'll be redirected to A389 Recordings' official bandcamp account where you can listen to it and get it. If you dig 90s hardcore bands like Mean Season and Strain and want to hear Pale Creation's classic sound, get Twilight Haunt, this one is for you. Also, some members of Pale Creation, Integrity and VEGAS had an superb acoustic side-project named Roses Never Fade. It's dark and creepy as fuck. Highly recommended. Enjoy!.  

Creepout - OVSKVERE TORTVRED ORDER

https://mega.nz/#!G54EnCLZ!l83iHmCElvffGNSsAPEEimEu9fMfo_Nmx6Xrhp6D7pc

Ah...Japan...It's a country that never stops to impress me. Japanese hardcore punk bands explore every hardcore punk subgenre surpassing their limits and this enigmatic group is not an exception to this rule. They formed way back in 2004 with beatdown influences (yes, there are japanese bands that play this way) paying tribute to NYHC and Cleveland Hardcore styles. With the release of the split with Integrity - Love Is...The Only Weapon (the name is an obvious Holy Terror reference), Creepout changed its image...

OVSKVERE TORTVRED ORDER is the first full-length that confirms the new shift the band took. Unlike other Holy Terror related bands, the sound of Creepout is closer to modern beatdown bands. So, you can imagine a Hatebreed-influenced sound mixed with the occult and individualistic attitude of Integrity. Also, this is their first record where Holy Terror imagery and references are more common (even the band's name uses the same font as Integrity does). 

Finally, I recommend you this band. We're not really used to post beatdown related groups but this one really rocks. Click on the image and you'll download this amazing album. Also, you can check their official bandcamp account (http://creepoutjapan.bandcamp.com) where you can listen to their latest release SON OV A VVITCH EP. And, I encourage you to get their split with Integrity. It's monstrous as fuck and has a top-notch presentation. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Blind To Faith - Under The Heptagram

https://a389recordings.bandcamp.com/album/blind-to-faith-under-the-heptagram

This is the second album of this outstanding Belgium/Netherlands hardcore "supergroup" (it features members from Reproach, Rise And Fall, Amen Ra, Skullhog, Inhume and Lifespite). It's one of the best european modern hardcore bands nowadays. As a curious fact, the heptagram is a symbol used by ancient alchemists for representing the 7 planets known at the time and it's also used for Babalon (the Great Mother of Abominations representing the female sexual impulse and the liberated woman) in Theleman law, among other interpretations. 

Regarding the sound, Blind to Faith mixes la crème de la crème of both hardcore punk and extreme metal alike. Thus, we find different influences from groups like Repulsion, Celtic Frost, Bathory, Entombed, Ringworm, Gehenna and Discharge, among others. And, as you may expect, the lyrics are filled with an impressive violent, lawless and pure attitude. The band itself says that their musical agent is Richard Ramirez, so you know what you'll get from them...

Finally, I highly recommend this masterpiece. Click on the image, and you'll be redirected to A389 Recordings' official bandcamp account where you can listen to it and get it. It's worth it. Also, get their The Seven Fat Years Are Over EP and the split with Gehenna (both released by Holy Terror Records). They're fucking amazing. If you're looking for some raw, violent, and dissonant sound attack, this is the right place. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

VEGAS - Sagevisule

https://vvegas.bandcamp.com/album/sagevisule

VEGAS (also known as VVEGAS) is a Belize-based german hardcore punk band, whose mastermind is an enigmatic yet charismatic man known as "T", formed back in 1999. In the same fashion as G.I.S.M., the acronym VEGAS has different interpretations. For example, V.enerous E.idetic G.alimatias A.boulomaniac S.chizogenesis, V.eritas E.nquesta G.uerra A.rratum S.anctuarium and V.raiment E.ffrayé G.amin A.tavique S.ang. The two latter names were used for some limited edition records during their Japan and Australian tours last year.

Regarding the sound, VEGAS has 90s hardcore punk influences like Integrity, Ringworm and Catharsis, as well as japanese hardcore punk influences like G.I.S.M. and Zouo. There  are some songs with a more experimental approach but in general terms they play fast and rabid straightforward metalcore like most of Holy Terror bands. Also, most of their lyrics display the same attitudes as the bands posted so far and in differents languages (english, french, german, italian and portuguese). We do hope some record with spanish lyrics in the near future.

Finally, you should check this amazing musical project. It has the best elements of Holy Terror with an interesting touch. Also, you should check out their split with Integrity, which pays tribute to british comedy artists Dudley Moore and Peter Cook and it has a superb artwork as well as a full size 24x36 movie poster print "promoting" the collaboration between thes two Holy Terror powerhouse bands. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Rot In Hell - Hallways Of The Always

https://a389recordings.bandcamp.com/album/rot-in-hell-hallways-of-the-always

This is a compilation of the early works (including demo, first 7" and shared splits with different bands, as well as top-notch Meanstreak, Integrity, Inronside and Last Rites covers) of this brutal UK-based Holy Terror band. It was released by A389 Recordings in 2015. So, you will find the best of Integrity and Ringworm's sound in the 90s with a superb modern hardcore punk touch displaying "musical terrorism with an extreme religious manifesto". Also, this is an amazing apéro for their brutal Deathwish debut As Pearls Before Swine. So, you'll be asking, why so short this review? Well, the band itself gladly ask me to do it this way...No, I'm joking. Finally, you should get all of Rot In Hell records. It's worth it. Mandatory download. Enjoy!

Withdrawal - Faith, Flesh and Blood

https://a389recordings.bandcamp.com/album/withdrawal-faith-flesh-blood
 
This is the second album of these Canadian disciples of the Holy Terror Church of Final Judgement. I chose this record because it's their most well-known and, in my humble opinion, their best work. Also, they have a superb split with blackened crust fellows Young And In The Way (already featured in our infamous neocrust/blackened crust special). Finally, you'll get everything you'd expect from a Holy Terror band (just like the last record, we won't say more about it). Highly recommended. Enjoy!

AVM - Shokography

https://holyterror.bandcamp.com/album/avm-shokography

This is a fascinating and cryptic Japan-based (allegedly) G.I.S.M.-influenced noisy hardcore punk project. No one knows who they are and it's been said that they have forbidden going to USA for national security reasons...Well, this is absolutely getting out of control...But, we don't care. Anyway, this compiles their splits with Integrity and Cape of Bats. Click on the image, and you'll be redirected to Holy Terror Records official bandcamp account where you can listen to this superb record. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Broken Cross - Anti-Human Life

http://brokencross.bandcamp.com/

This a Sweden-based one-man musical project that draws influences from Holy Terror, "metal punk", early black metal and noise  for creating this impressive experience. Broken Cross has already released 4 records: New World Soldier (2011), this record (2013), Secret Destruction (2014) and Through Light To Night (2015). And, as you may expect, this project displays the auditive terrorism Holy Terror bands are known for. Click to the image, and you'll be redirected to the official bandcamp acoount. Highly recommended. Enjoy! 

 OEDE - One Man's Trash 7"

https://holyterror.bandcamp.com/album/oede-one-mans-trash-7-ep

This a Norway-based one-man dark ambient noise musical project. The name of the record, as well as the brief musical description, says it all. You can imagine Burzum and Psywarfare combined in a deep dark electronic ambient jail in Hell, for getting an idea of what this superb project does. Some songs have southern american folk rock, blues and creole influences. And, of course, he's a Holy Terror partisan. Finally, OEDE has been a curator of different blackened musical projects. In the near future we'll feature two of them. Just wait and see. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Vermapyre
http://www.vermapyre.com/

This is the most recent Hellion's experimental music project. It shares the same musical taste and approach like OEDE. Hellion describes himself the project like this: "Vaudevillian horror soundtrack performed on home made instruments. Flickering imagery haunts, concealing the forgotten past of our vaudevillian apparition. Distorted, broken sounds from the deteriorated reels of many lost, 1920s silent era horror film devours the listener within the blackened, grit-pocked nightmare that is conjured through the home-made electric cigar box guitar". The only exception is the song Return Of The Sorcerer, featured in the split with japanese "metal punk" outfit Parasite, that has blackened hardcore punk influences. We do hope in the near future songs like this one. Click on the image and you'll be redirected to Vermapyre's official website where you can listen and download their works. Also, if you can get their split with Saturnian Tempel, a french dark ambient project. It's pretty amazing. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

Shades of Mankind - Songs Thou Shall Worship

https://shadeofmankind.bandcamp.com/album/songs-thou-shall-worship

Last but not least, we finish this special with this outstanding brazilian grindcore band. They mix crust, black metal, deathgrind, and Holy Terror perfectly. I never thought listening to something like this. I really enjoyed it. In the other hand, I'm not really sure if they're disciples of the Holy Terror Church of Final Judgement, but they use the same imagery, symbols and their music and lyrics are influenced by Integrity. Now, this record has amazing Integrity, Cro-Mags, Impaled Nazarene, Eyehategod, Nasum and Amebix covers. You should obey the title. Those covered songs are mandatory for any hardcore punk and extreme metal fan. Finally, check this band out. It's pure gold. Highly recommended. Enjoy!

2 comments:

  1. Great write up but I feel like there's a few more bands worth mentioning.
    Abraxis
    Pulling teeth
    In cold blood
    Shin to shin
    Heksed

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yup, you're right. I'll keep them on my mind for future posts. Thank you for the recommendation. Cheers!

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