Dave Rotten is a name that is known more for his brutal death metal projects and for running the excellent Spanish extreme metal label Xtreem Music. Having personally already heard his works on bands like Avulsed, Christ Denied and Putrevore among many others, it is indeed quite interesting to hear him finally break out of his typecast as a death metal force to reckon with. Instead of the usual brutal death metal style of his other projects, Holycide instead presents a sound that leans more towards the speed and recklessness of old school thrash metal, with Toxic Mutation being the band’s brand new EP release. So can Dave Rotten live up to the hype created?
It seems that genres are merely names for him, as the material on Toxic Mutation goes to show that the difference in genre is no obstacle for him. Having brought together an excellent lineup, right from the get go the aural assault is relentless, as one is brought back to the good, glory days of early thrash metal. The high-octane attack that Holycide presents to the listener is quickly reminiscent of the works of bands such as Dark Angel (hardly surprising, considering the inclusion of a cover of Merciless Death on the EP), Sadus, Vio-lence and even Demolition Hammer, along with that slight touch of death metal element in their playing. The recklessness and chaos that the band indulges in also brings to mind the early material of Sodom or Slayer.
At the same time, the thing that made this release particularly charming was the ability to not compromise on that sense of sanity and melody in the band’s playing despite the chaos that goes on around. For instance, towards the end of No Escape, guitarists Miguel and Salva managed to include a short melodic lick, which caught me by surprise but was also a nice touch for a well-balanced sound. In fact, throughout the record, the solos that are included are often of a rather melodic nature, which allows the guitarists to show off their versatility and abilities. On songs like Apocalypse Riders, this aspect is even used to create a dark and ominous atmosphere at the start of the track.
With Toxic Mutation and Holycide, Dave Rotten has once again proven his talents as a songwriting maestro, on top of displaying his versatility as a vocalist. While I can’t deny that I still enjoy his death metal material more – particularly the works on Christ Denied and Putrevore – Holycide‘s debut EP is one that any self-respecting old school thrash metal fan should not miss.
1. No Escape
2. Blood Typhoon
3. Apocalypse Riders
4. Radiation Endgame
5. Life Turned to Dust
6. Merciless Death (Dark Angel)