|#FOR FANS OF: Black/Thrash, Sarcofago, early Sepultura, Sodom|
In the eighties, Brazilian metal had a lot of provocative bands, but Holocausto was for sure the one that stood out the most in that area. With their constant references to the Nazi regime in their image and lyrics, it didn’t take long for them to be accused of being nazis, even if they expressed that they only adopted those symbols to express the horror of the Holocaust. And their music was as extreme as their image, because 'Campo de Extermínio' ('Extermination Camp'), their debut from 1987, still sounds as brutal and violent as it was at that time, with their sloppy technique, their blastbeats, monstrous vocals, and simple but effective thrashy riffs.
This period of rawness ended up being a little short-lived, as Holocausto decided to start changing their sound in their follow-up 'Blocked Minds', where they left the nazi image and Portuguese lyrics, and adopted a crossover thrash sound in the vein of Suicidal Tendencies. The following albums saw Holocausto with the same approach to songwriting as fellow Brazilian bands Sepultura and Sarcófago, never releasing the same album twice and experimenting with more technical riffs and some industrial and noise influences, but unlike those bands Holocausto never managed to capture the same impact of their debut. Internal turbulences and a constant change of members didn’t helped, and they split-up at some time in the mid nineties. Although they reunited in 2005 to record the hardcore-tinged 'De Volta Ao Front' ('Back to the Front'), they didn’t do a lot more.
That is why 'War Metal Massacre' is so welcome as an addition to Holocausto’s discography. With all the members that recorded 'Campo de Extermínio', with the exception of the drummer Armando Sampaio, and a cover that reminds of the one in that album, the intention is very clear and simple: they want to go back to their roots.
The most interesting part of this six-song EP is in the last three songs, the ones that Holocausto composed for this release. It’s complicated to talk about them individually because there isn’t much difference between them, but what they don’t have in variations is compensated with an incredible display of force: “Eu Sou a Guerra” (“I Am the War”), “Corpo Seco / Mão Morta” (“Dry Body / Dead Hand”) and “War Metal Massacre” show Holocausto going back where they feel like a fish in the water, with blastbeats, punchy riffs and lyrics about the horrors of war. Sometimes they sound like 'Obsessed By Cruelty'-era Sodom, but with much better sound. If sometimes critics have used terms like “war metal” and “noise metal” to describe Holocausto’s style, this are songs thet justify those claims.
“Massacre”, “Destruição Nuclear” (“Nuclear Destruction”), and “Escarro Napalm” (“Napalm Sputum”), the three other tracks from this EP, are re-recordings of songs that the band released in their first years. And here they’re present in their best versions: even if there aren’t a lot of changes, with the exception of a short rainy “Black Sabbath”-like intro, the musicians playing them, have improved their technique and the better quality sounds manages to make that the rhythms of Nedson “Warfare” Conde, who was the first drummer of Holocausto, sound as violent as they’ve to be. To “go back to their roots” is something that not a lot of bands manage to do, because a lot of times they end up sounding like tired versions of what they used to be. But with “War Metal Massacre” these Brazilians manage to combine the search into the band’s origins with the experience they’ve gained along these years. I don’t know if a lot of people were expecting new material by Holocausto, but it’s a great surprise nonetheless. There isn’t a single bit of filler in 22 minutes of music, and it’s a perfect comeback for a band that deserved a lot better. Will they manage to get that with the release of an LP? We’ll only have to wait. (Martín Álvarez Cirillo)
(Nuclear War Now! Productions - 2017)