Towards Idiocracy

Xtreem Music
rating icon 8 / 10

Track listing:

01. A.I. Supremacy
02. Towards Idiocracy
03. Remote Control
04. Lie is the New Truth
05. Power Corrupts
06. Technophobia
07. Angry for Nothing
08. Chemical Dependency (Atrophy cover)
09. Pleased to be Deceived
10. Flamethrower 'Em All

Thrash or be thrashed: That is the code. Formed 20 years ago but increasingly active and prominent since 2017's face-removing "Annihilate…Then Ask!" debut, HOLYCIDE play brutal, old-school thrash with echoes of everything from HEATHEN's tech-thrash grandeur to the gritty violence of D.R.I. and CRO-MAGS. Undeniably authentic but sonically modern and destructive, with no quarter given to nostalgia, and everything focused on the breaking of necks, "Towards Idiocracy" is the Spaniards' third full-length, following up last year's "Bazookiller" EP. It is a savage, no-holds-barred, thrash metal beating that is unlikely to be bettered in 2024.

HOLYCIDE are fronted by Dave Rotten (AVULSED, PUTREVORE, CHRIST DENIED and several more): a man who knows a thing or two about making brutal music, and whose caustic yelp gives his band a proudly hostile demeanor. With more in common with ancient legends like SADUS, DARK ANGEL and SODOM than any of the noughties' revivalists, Rotten's rotten lot are a classic thrash wrecking crew, Holycide and "Towards Idiocracy" is their gnarliest effort to date.

As newer bands like ENFORCED and HIGH COMMAND have proven in recent times, thrash is often best when played with maximum intensity and a heartfelt desire to open that pit up and, if you don't mind, destroy the fucking place. SLAYER nailed it on "Reign In Blood" and thrash bands have been desperately trying to replicate those levels of mad-eyed ferocity ever since. "Towards Idiocracy" may not be a classic on a par with "Reign…" but HOLYCIDE have a similarly unabashed commitment to causing carnage.

"A.I. Supremacy" and the title track offer a two-speed combo of full-bore assaults, and the timeless and yet timely vibe of the whole record is efficiently established. "Technophobia" lives up to the promise of its title with an explosive blend of intricacy and muscle; "Angry For Nothing" proudly wears a bloody vest, as brutish hardcore bursts from the split skin of a crossover corpse. Elsewhere, "Power Corrupts" gets punky and political, with Dave Rotten spitting barbarous hooks over a Bay Area-tinged maze of great riffs; a cover of "Chemical Dependency" by recently re-animated cult Arizona thrashers ATROPHY (and originally from their 1988 debut, "Socialized Hate") is so mean and bloated with red hot adrenalin that you can almost hear HOLYCIDE grinning in unison, as they teeter on the edge of heavy metal madness.

It ends with the mid-paced and sinister "Pleased To Be Deceived", which dabbles in black metal snottiness, and evil thrash blowout "Flamethrower 'Em All", a frosty, death/thrash show-stopper with a melancholic undertow. "Towards Idiocracy" satisfies all the basic requirements of any thrash metal album, but it does so with such glee and with such a strong sense of its creators' identity, that after its 38 minutes are done, you may find yourself wondering why HOLYCIDE are not one of the biggest names in thrash right now. They definitely should be.

Author: Dom Lawson
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