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Dies Holocaustum – Scorched Promised Land (digital album review)

Since I’ve arrived to the UK I’d been wondering why metal is not more popular on these shores. Think about it – how many great metal bands from Britain you know? Yeah, exactly, quite a loads from basically every metal genre. But, unfortunately, metal is definitely underground here in the UK. Good thing? Bad? Hard to say, but what’s definitely a great thing is the fact there are so many bands to discover in what amounts to almost endless suply.

Although nu-metal and metalcore are probably more popular in this country than traditional metal, if there is a good metal band, I want to know about them and their material. Therefore, it didn’t take long to make a discovery pleasant to my ears and heart.

Hailing from Bristol, Dies Holocaustum is quite a new band in town (although its beginning dates to 2013), bursting onto the scene with their debut album “Scorched Promised Land” in January 2020.

Before the album lads released a digital single “Glories of Hell” back in May 2019, this track is also featured on their full-length, so, let’s have a listen.

First look – the fact Dies Holocaustum doesn’t fuck around with a few minutes of music – they really bring out the full-length and they earn a heartful of praise for that.

Inviting us to the experience is “Death Rides Shrouded”, and what’s starting as little of a generic thrash/death into soon blows into the blasting inferno of sounds. I’ll still class it as thrash/death more than pure death metal band, mainly for the raspy vokills, and this very first song confirms a high musical virtuosity of guys in the band and it’s a delight to one’s aural channels. Guitars might be little louder than the rest of the instruments, but I don’t think that would somewhat diminish the listening experience. Especially when the guitar work is great.

“The Corpses Store” brings in some tried patterns but does not shy away to apply some pure death metal passages as well. And dual vocals are definitely not wasted here. Guitar work is again admirable, the whole song is an early contender for a loved classic soon-to-be. I especially love the passage around 3:00 mark, very short, but intense.

As mentioned above, “Glories of Hell” was published as a single in May 2019, so a year ago, and that’s a full blown modern thrash/death metal. Played with more speed, but still essentially a thrash/death track. Again, you can argue stuff sounds familiar, and I agree, but it’s like building with Lego, the same building blocks, a totally different experience. I really dig the changes from the blasting passage to the slower ones, and I will mention it for the last time (I don’t want to repeat myself), love the guitars.

“Macabre Rebirth” is the 4th track on the album, starting with nice semi-accoustic intro and a nice solo straight from the beginning, this opening takes 45 seconds from the whole 3:47, but it’s well worth your time, because it opens the grand stage of what Dies Holocaustum does best. Hm, and here I was thinking I’m gonna save money this month not buing any CDs… seriously, by this track you should know that this band is worth your money and support. And the song is excellent, I think it surpasses “The Corpses Store” for the classic tune from this album.

And as if that one was not enough, we follow with “Funeral Dawn” and again, fitting double vokills on top of the raging musick, this time I dare to say, pretty much in the standard thrash tempo. I am actually undecided to say if I like DH in this setting or in their faster passages…what is evident, though, is the Jon Alcover Martin’s love for accoustic passages. Not that I will object!

The shortest song on the album, 2:06 long “Burial Ground” is a blasting anthem which reminds me of a glorious era of Sepultura’s “Arise” (remember “Dead Embryonic Cells”?, albeit the beginning is the child of “Arise” as fuck). Oh, those were the days. Obviously, I am not accusing DH of ripping off the Brazileros, there’s nothing wrong with the inspiration and influence (but people can cite other sources of inspiration, so take my opinion with a pinch of salt), but DH put their own stamp all over the song to own it. A classic example of a pupil overcoming the teacher. If it’s good enough for you, it’s good enough for me…

Lucky 7th “Let Them Hang and Rot” continues in the set mood (but I will commend on the extended use of – is it a ride cymbal? I love it) but with the “Terms of the Coven” on the 8th place guys again unleash their horses, so to speak, and explode with the ferocious fast metal tune, although not forgetting their roots firmly in the genre.

“They Never Left These Boundaries”, a statement so true! Yes, DH staying true to the genre through the whole album and that’s more than commendable. Actually, what’s left to say is a simple statement – if you liked previous songs (and I did and do), don’t expect any experiments, here or in the remaining two songs, you’re wasting your time.

But when one of the remaining songs is titled “Leatherface” and you’re hearing the sound of the running chainsaw in the beloved thrash/death setting, you can’t do anything but accept the fact those lads know how to keep listeners interested.

By the way,if you still don’t have enough, the last song should satisfy your hunger, it’s monumental 6:42 long “In Your death Bed… See my Face” and presents a fitting finish to an excellent debut album.

There might be no obvious hit singles, but I consider that a positive aspect, as this release is best judged as a single unit. As such it stands firmly on its legs and certainly won’t be overlooked.

And experienced live, I guess that would be a totally different level….hopefully the day comes soon!

Bandcamp: https://diesholocaustum.bandcamp.com/album/scorched-promised-land

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Rudolf Schütz

A father to two little perpetuum mobiles called kids, Rudolf is a main force behind The Rubber Axe webzine, a bookworm, musick lover and a movie fan - not to mention his virgin forays into the comics and board/card games.

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