The sheer bloody bravery to name your record after a genre of music can’t go un-noted. It’s raising expectations massively. Imagine if your high-school band that ripped off Slayer and Kreator riffs called your bedroom-recorded demo Thrash Metal. You’d be setting yourself up for one hell of a fall. And so it is with Climate of Fear. By calling their new EP Holy Terror, they’re raising expectations massively, bringing to mind as it does mighty bands like Integrity and Rot in Hell. But bloody hell, the English hardcore band get away with it, as Holy Terror is bruising, confident, and so forceful that any objections to the record’s name are promptly forced out the door, never to be seen again.
One of the reasons that Holy Terror works is because it confounds expectations. Sure, there’s a bit of Holy Terror to Holy Terror, but more than that, there’s old-fashioned muscular, pummeling, take-no-bullshit beatdown hardcore; and the kind of melodies that could have been pulled from your favourite At The Gates albums. There’s a lot packed in to its fifteen minutes, making the EP absolutely fly by in a whirlwind of riffs, crushing drums, and commanding vocals.
In terms of highlights, fifth track ‘Entombed’ is the stand-out on the EP for me, with the way it deftly switches between melodic guitar leads and brutal beatdown riffs, all backed up by an incredible sense of energy; when the song really hits its stride around the 1:15 mark, it absolutely slays. The inclusion of an interlude track is also a smart move, lending the EP an extra sense of contrast that it would otherwise lack, and providing a moment for the listener to catch their breath – though it’s worth noting that half of said interlude track consists of chugging breakdown riffs and gang vocals.
The album closes with its title track, which is arguably the most vicious of them all. Switching between up-tempo hardcore punishment and sinister mid-tempo movements, it sees Holy Terror end in a suitably hard-hitting fashion, with barely any let-ups in intensity or brutality. By the time it’s done, all thoughts that Climate of Fear have taken a risk by titling their EP as such will have vanished; there’s absolutely no messing with, or doubting, a record this hard-hitting, invigorating, and confident.