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Sunday Old School: Holocaust

Last year, MetalUnderground took a look at the history and legacy of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, which included a personal top ten of bands from the movement. There were of course, far more than ten great bands at the time and it was mentioned in the article that some bands that didn’t make it into the list were of very high quality. One such band hailed from the Scottish capital city of Edinburgh and definitely made its own stamp on the New Wave of British Heavy Metal. That band was Holocaust.

The band began life in 1977, comprising of guitarists John Mortimer and Ed Dudley, vocalist Gary Lettice, bassist Robin Begg and drummer Nick Brockie. They formed at an opportune time, allowing them to become swept up in the growing popularity of the New Wave of British Heavy Metal, a time where record labels were searching for any metal bands they could, though instead of opting to sign with a company, the group formed their own label, Phoenix Record And Filmworks and released two singles, "Heavy Metal Mania" and "Smokin' Valves," before releasing their debut full length album, "The Nightcomers" in 1981. The record was very well received by heavy metal fans and remains one of the most popular albums of the NWOBHM era, featuring the two previously released singles as well as such songs as "Death or Glory" and the title track.

There then came a split of sorts, as Ed Buckley left the group to form a new, more radio friendly and commercial band, Hologram, which he presented as the continuation of Holocaust. However, in 1984, Holocaust's other guitarist, John Mortimer revived the name and assumed the position of vocalist as well, though he was the band's only original member in the lineup. Later that year, this new incarnation of the band released their sophomore album, "No Man's Land."

Following the release of the second full length, Holocaust seemed to return to the studio only fleetingly for a long while, not releasing their next effort, a well received EP entitled, "The Sound of Souls" until 1989, before a third full length album, "Hypnosis of Birds," was released in 1992, also to a great reaction from fans. It showcased a venture into a more progressive territory, earning them comparisons to the Texas thrash outfit, Watchtower. The record also contained a reworked version of, "The Small Hours," which had gained some popularity after Metallica covered the song on their "$5.98 EP: Garage Days Re-Revisited" six years previously.

Holocaust continued this experimentation on their next album, "Spirits Fly," released through the soon to be defunct label Neat Records, which was perhaps the most famous label amongst the New Wave of British Heavy Metal Scene, and then incorporated further into the concept album, "Covenant." The latter album featured a sixteen minute epic named, "The Battle of Soaring Woodhelven," described by some fans as one of the best songs the band have ever written, with the overall album being compared to another name in progressive thrash, this time, Voivod.

Since then, the band has soldiered on, releasing another album, "The Courage To Be" in the year 2000, before a seventh full length, "Primal" was unleashed in 2003, both of which earning some very good reviews. They kept quiet for a while, releasing only compilation albums until a new EP, "Expander" was released in 2013, designed to give a preview to the band's first full length album in eleven years, "Sweet Liberty," which was scheduled to be released later that year.

Holocaust - "The Small Hours"

Holocaust - "Heavy Metal Mania"

Holocaust - "No Time Left"

Holocaust - "Caledonia"

Holocaust - "The Battle of Soaring Woodhelven"

Holocaust - "Spanner Omlette"

Holocaust - "Colossus"

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com since 2007 and a metal fan since 2001, going as far as to travel to other countries and continents for metal gigs.

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2 Comments on "Sunday Old School: Holocaust"

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1. Carlos Santos writes:

I new the Metallica connection, but I don´t remember listening to their music. I liked it. Judging from the songs you posted, their recent albums are better, both in sound and in terms of compositions. They just sound stronger. Good article, as usual.

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Diamond Oz's avatar

Senior News Correspondent

2. Diamond Oz writes:

Thanks Carlos. I'm glad you liked it.

# Feb 5, 2015 @ 8:26 AM ET | IP Logged Reveal posts originating from the same IP address

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