Holocausto – War Metal Massacre

Where can I even begin with this album, which I’ve listened to at least three times a week for the past four months? I started where I usually do, by looking around at what others have to say, after I’ve already formed my own opinion. I often find myself alone, or partially, constantly saddened by the lack of true journalism in underground music criticism. Does it really take that long to read a bit about a band’s history to understand the context of a release? Knowing me you know context alone never makes something “good,” sure, but it must still be understood. How can you truly critique something about which you know nothing other than its basic sound? I always start there, give it a listen, then some more, and then delve into what it’s about after the opinion has become not merely memory but DNA. Thusly, my opinion will never waiver, but yet I have still learned. That’s part of what it’s all about here, learning about the music I think is good enough to really pay attention to in this age of quick consumption and even quicker forgetfulness. When you find something that truly sticks, pay attention, and this is one band deserving of the mark of greatness we know as a Deaf Sparrow full-site review, Brazil’s true purveyors of a combination of black, death, and thrash metal they aptly title “war metal,” Holocausto. In spite of being brought back from a past rife with mistakes by Nuclear War Now! ProductionsWar Metal Massacre seems to have been generally avoided by most critics, the lesser out there passing it off a typical blackened thrash romp, even mentioning the heinous word “deathcore” without understanding what it means today and what it meant then. They just don’t get it. Not only have they completely missed what’s hidden under the surface, they don’t seem to grasp that this is more than a return, this is a revival. One which may, in fact, lead the fallen back to the true faith. Of course, I mean through being eaten by dogs and flamethrowers and stuff (see cover).

It kind of had to be like that, because Holocausto really lost their way. It was one of the most depressing falls in metal history, especially considering no one noticed it happened. How to come back from tragedy like that, worse than losing a band member, because it means musically everyone just wasn’t with it? What they needed was a violent, out-of-nowhere assault, something so sudden we realize it only as a final memory. But let’s look back a moment to understand, because a lack of critical understanding of this album is part of my impetus in this review. Holocausto’s 1987 cult classic Campo de Extermínio, embedded below, has been praised for its embodiment of the true cause of South and Central American metal. This is evident from the special live video released ten years ago, and several reissues, including one from last year. What’s so great about it? It’s got that lovable, poor-quality recording style, with a graininess exuding the hidden poverty and strife of the world down there, the brutality of the jungles, bureaucracy, and the drug trade, and all of its effects on daily life manifested in spiteful metal. And, of course, don’t forget the artwork, of a cheapness that only the best of bootleg, pirated Latino VHS covers can offer. It’s pretty much a cultural thing, and if you don’t get that, you won’t get Holocausto. Unfortunately for them, in spite of the glowing acceptance of Campo, they took an unfortunate path of experimentation afterwards and sinking into obscurity. Sometimes experimentation isn’t a good thing, old Holocausto being a poster-child case-in-point. But like any good musicians of the underground, whose blood froths at the chance to play again, much like a soldier’s urge to kill and maim, to rejoin the ranks and face the bullets, Holocausto was far from done, they were ready to return. Not just to their roots, but to their essence. I wish there was an analogy for Second Coming, because that’s all I got today.

 

 

 War Metal Massacre is only an EP, technically, and I would have preferred more material to work with, but what you get here is nearly a full-length and shows amazing perseverance, rising the band from their failures and giving the old adage meaning. A band returning to this level, after almost thirty years of total trash, is credible in itself, but as you know I’m not just about concept, I’m about sound. Holocausto have not only returned, they have re-positioned themselves at the head of the Brazilian underground. Typically when I find something taking the safe route of the past, I place it into the average category that it deserves. It’s too easy, and too few bands understand you can’t just sound like you used to, you have to accept what you now are. Here, that’s exactly what I’m talking about. The artwork by “The Waining Gibbous” (Barney Fried) which captures the band’s presence in 1987, sets the stage for what is not merely a time portal, but a release of this energy into the present, and then hopefully the future. Let’s face it, Holocausto, like me, are getting up in years now, but instead of vainly reliving their youth they’re embracing their age, and showing the mere infants of the Brazilian metal scene the roots too many have forgotten. War Metal Massacre catches immediately with addictive, uncut-cocaine riffs, throaty, jungle-rot, angry vocals, grindcore-styled musical crunch, and savage, uncompromising energy. The action is broken by samples of sounds of war such as gunfire, explosions, and air raid sirens, this serving as a temporary respite before Holocausto again falls to violence. To see a band make a comeback, not as a relic dusted off from the back of a collection, but as the resurrection of a religious savior to bring about the end times, is something I have honestly never seen before. This isn’t nostalgia, it isn’t fandom that refuses to let go, this is, simply put, the greatest comeback into the history of metal, to date. Nuclear War Now! Productions released it in a few different versions, but you better believe this boy is picking up the die-hard double green vinyl set, pictured at right. They’ve already taken their return on the road, so hopefully with this release they’ll be putting something even better together the next time around. The world may not be ready, but who’s ever ready for true metal rapture?

 

Holocausto Official Facebook

Written by Stanley Stepanic

Holocausto: War Metal Massacre
Nuclear War Now! Productions
4.8 / 5

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