It’s possible I tend to de-emphasize lyrics because I listened to a lot of scabby hard-rock and metal (in smalltown Idaho, no less) in grade school. Profound wordplay shouldn’t be expected from a song titled “Fight Fire with Fire,” after all. Still, it would have been nice to have a little more substance to accompany those endless riffs of fuzz.
Holy have little to do with hard rock or metal, but they’re heavy as shit, just like I’ve always liked it, and though I’d accuse them of iffy lyricism as well, they scream from the heart-bone and tote more than enough weapons to achieve the destruction they aim for. Edgy and boiling over with unchecked anger, new LP Age of Collapse ably follows a 12-inch on the Hell, Yes imprint a few years ago and scores a victory for scratchy, scrappy lo-fi hardcore.
And don’t forget, of course, that a riff that hits the brain like a red-hot chisel is worth a thousands deftly chosen words. Holy can help you with that, too. There are traces of breakdowns and buildups that hearken to a more muscular brand of hardcore than I’m used to covering, that of Strife and their ilk, though I am much more amenable to Holy than I was to Strife back in their heyday. Their extremely propellant instrumentals reek of White Shit, if you’re of the modern world. If you’re more of an old school hellhound, you’ll think classic fast-ass acts like Bad Brains and slower flatmates like Flipper. The long-lost Trapdoor Fucking Exit also come to mind (the band, not the album), albeit with less diverse instrumentation.
Age of Collapse represents hardcore approached with more imagination than usual, but it has its limits. No matter how choppy the beats get, nor how fast or slow the tempos flow, Holy play guitar, bass, and drums, and spit in the face of the petulant scum who might ask for more adornment. Embrace Age and its rare lack of synth accents and you might just find yourself remembering why sweat trumps digital burn any fuckin’ day of the millennium. Let those kids diddle their pads, keys, and gadgets; Holy will be standing long after technology leaves the laptop musicians behind.