Holy Terror, Mind Wars

Me, via The Ripple Effect:

Since I’ve listed this as one of my top five albums of all time, I felt I should explain.

Tiny review: melodic/ fast/literate/ angry.

Bigger: Iron Maiden if they grew up in southern california in the 80s, rather than Birmingham in the late 60s. Southern California speed metal (à la Dark Angel) with a great ear for melody and the right singer (Keith Deen)– an actual singer who can become a raspy screamer where needed.

Track 1, “Judas Reward,” is essentially a microcosm of what you can expect from Mind Wars (originally released in 1988), Holy Terror’s second and final album: it starts with a slow chuggy, vaguely-British metal intro, but by 0:45 tremolo-picked riffs kick in and the song is off at around 200 bpm, complete with poetically strange lyrics, that, album-wide, seem to detail a loose concept about a defrocked priest. (That’s always been my interpretation, though I’ve no real evidence for that.) Then, once you’re about to tire of the speed (at 2:00), it slows down into a memorably melodic lyric which then becomes a Judas Priest-y guitar solo, and THEN, speeds up again (2:45) with a solo Dark Angel would be proud of.

The end of track 2, “Debt of Pain,” is another great exemplary piece: a riff that sounds like Paganini sped up; complex riffery (shut up, that’s a word) played furiously fast– or just furiously.

In short, what all intelligent metal is. Intricate and emotionally layered, though still badass and scary.

Track 3, “The Immoral Wasteland,” track 5, “Damned by Judges,” and the final track “Christian Resistance,” are, no shit, on my top 10 songs of all time. Nostalgia does play a part in this selection, though not nearly as much as you might think. (Though I did name my cat Kilfelt, after the guitarist/ mastermind Kurt Kilfelt. We called her Kilfy. She was solid gray. Wicked cute.)

Dig these “poetically strange” lyrics from “The Immoral Wasteland”:

Empathic prophet speaks
Divining reach, the hand of fate
Providence of true belief
The raven cries, it’s callous caw
For kismet iniquity
Knighted brothers, Sextons to the church
Patriarchs against the ebb of eternal night

You may not have the life-changing experience with Mind Wars that I did/ do, but it’s worth 40 minutes (down to the last second, with bassist Floyd Flanary sliding down his fretboard) of your time.

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