Holy Terror – “Total Terror” 4CD / DVD (Dissonance Productions)
The problem child returns! Often overlooked in favour of its more commonly associated 80s hair spray scene was LA’s second wave of thrash metal. Initially started by Slayer and a soon to be departed Metallica, this new generation of bands that included Megadeth, Agent Steel, Dark Angel and Abattoir was even faster and more aggressive, spawning a new (if short lived) genre of their own known as ‘speed metal’. Having left Agent Steel, guitarist Kurt Colfelt (aka Kolfelt, Kilfelt) decided to form his own band – Holy Terror – drawing not just from thrash but also from NWOBHM, punk and even earlier 70s bands. The concept was brilliant with incredible artwork from underground artists like Rick Araluce as well as famed tattooist Mark Mahoney, who designed the band’s logo. If that set the stage for the music, then you knew it hadta be something else! Quite possibly still one of the best examples of extreme aggression and speed melded with the use of catchy melody as well as intelligent arrangements, Holy Terror was built around the twin guitar attack of Colfelt and a young guitar talent in Mike Alvord, not to mention the ferocious rhythm battery of Floyd Flanary and Joe Mitchell. The icing on the cake, which incidentally made up a thick layer, was the ‘unique’ vocals of Keith Deen whose wild style of crescendo screams, soulful singing and punk hollering were as erratic as were effective. With this band, Colfelt had what it took to take on not just his peers in LA but Euro thrash monsters like Kreator and Destruction on their home turf and indeed, the slavering hordes on the Continent soon welcomed them! Releasing not just one but two superb albums in “Terror and Submission” and “Mind Wars” resulted in one US and two European tours but drugs and label problems caused an abrupt end to the second tour, ultimately resulting in a fracturing of the band, compounded by the fact that aside from Alvord (who had quit by then), all the other members were from different parts of the US. With Deen unwilling to relocate to Seattle with Colfelt, Flanary and Mitchell, that effectively spelled the end for this amazing band who in my opinion had what it took to become one of the greats – just check out ‘Evil’s Rising’, ‘Debt Of Pain’ and my personal fave ‘Judas Reward’ with its immortal lines of ‘…A Judas reward to collect and to horde, Scum lizards of fashion pray to their gold Lord…’ – f–k yeah!!!! Despite Colfelt attempting to reactivate Holy Terror in 2005, things were not to be and by 2012, Keith Deen had passed away from cancer, aged just 56 years old. As such, this 4 CD / DVD set is the definitive package (and fitting epitaph), containing the band’s two albums, the “El Revengo” EP from 2006, and a previously unreleased 14 track live album culled from the band’s three tours, along with a bonus DVD of more live film footage and slide show extras. Today, Colfelt plays bass in punkers Zeke while Alvord is in his own band ironically called Mind Wars, while Flanary and Mitchell remain active musically in one form or another. But the band remains in the hearts of both band members and fans alike even to this day, a reminder of being part of something that was truly special and as such the cult of Holy Terror will still live on.