FORGOTTEN GEMS: HOLOCROSS S/T
New Renaissance Records
Pennsylvania thrash metal band Holocross were a popular (if controversial thanks to their weapons based shows) live act who were a tad late on the scene with their self-titled debut. Originally formed in 1982 under the name Iron Cross (releasing the "Warhead" album in 1985) the band changed their name (and sound as Iron Cross were more traditional/power metal if I recall right) to Holocross and released their s/t album in 1988. Recorded in New York (with Raven's Rob "Wacko" Hunter as assistant engineer) the album features mindless and overly hyperactive thrash not too far removed from bands like Razor, Onslaught, Vio-lence or for that matter other New Renaissance Records thrash bands from the same time period. I remember reading about Holocross and thinking that with a name like that (and the fact that they played brutal thrash according to sources) this band would be nothing short of killer. I called around to various record stores looking for the album and finally someone said they had a copy they would hold for me. "A copy? As in only one left?" I thought to myself surely this must be some seriously kicking stuff if they only have one copy. Buying the cassette tape I jumped in my car and put the tape in the stereo. Admittedly I was a little let down. I had let myself be caught up in the hype of things and while it was some good thrash at the time I thought it wasn't much better than any other second generation act. Vocalist Char R.G. sounds quite a bit like Overkill's Blitz to start with. Is that bad? Not really it's simply that it threw me for a loop. "Wolf Pack" (the album opener) just sounded like someone beating on drums over and over with Char screamed over it. Sure it had some lightning fast guitar going for it and all. It's just that it was rather a shade generic. Thankfully I gave the album a try and their music does get better as it goes along. "Bombardment" is just plain brutal. And "Warpath" throws in enough Metallica/Anthrax thrash to get any one's blood pumping. I just love the heaviness of tracks like "Manslaughter" and "Murdercycle". While Holocross really didn't bring anything new to the scene they at least played with a serious boner for over-the-top thrash. You've got to like that. If there is one draw back to this album it's that while this is heavy and brutal the songs do tend to sound rather similar after awhile. Still though this is an album in need of a proper CD release. It's got everything thrash freaks love and truly is one heavy record.
Metal Mark says-
Ah, Holocross I remember them well. I bought this in 1988 without hearing so much as a note before hand. They were on New Renaissance and in their picture on the back of the album they were all wearing leather and some were holding various weapons. So they had to be metal and that was enough for me to plunk down my money for a cassette copy. Being on New Renaissance records also meant it had the standard poor production values, but that didn't stop me from enjoying it. These guys just plowed through their music with little though about melodies, smoothness or anything like that. This is fairly brutal for the time although sloppy around the edges. Still their ferocious take on thrash and straight ahead sound had me hooked right away. I played the cassette over and over back then. I definitely prefered and still prefer the second side over the first. Those songs are the fastest and the heaviest and always made a stronger impression on me. It's not a total classic because there are a few filler tracks and this may not be an album I can listen to over and over today. Still it's a fine release with an interesting take on thrash of the time. I own it on vinyl as my cassette copy is long gone. You may be able to find a vinyl on eBay or free downloads are availible if you search for them. All hail Holocross.