Holocaust - Elder Gods

Holocaust Elder Gods cover
Elder Gods
Sleaszy Rider Records
Man, while I love the Scottish NWOBHM stalwarts Holocaust, who Metallica have famously covered on their “Garage Days” EP and who are returning after only three and a half years this time with a new album, instead of the decade long plus period of studio “draught” that seemed to affect the band for the latter part of the 00s, just by gazing at the artwork of their latest (ninth I think) album “Elder Gods”, I thought they’d gone completely bonkers and black metal at the same time!
Neither of the two seems to be the case, as it turns out, with the band’s leader and sole constant member John Mortimer really drawing lyrical inspiration for this album by some of the most ancient and primal deities of this world, thus the diabolical figure on the cover and the rather unlikely lyrics on the title track and “Elder Gods” become almost self-evident.
Musically, expect a bit more heaviness than on “Predator” and probably as much variety. The trio format keeps the songs from becoming as twisted as Mortimer’s mind could probably conceive, but that doesn’t mean they’re not pretty meandering, heavy and progressive as they’ve ever been. I mean following the rather straight forward title track, “Children of the Great Central Sun” (and not heating) sounds all quirky and heavy rocking, but with a bit of a hippy vibe as well.
The mellow-vibes continue and are exemplified on “Ishtar”, a melodic, 70s prog styled jam, which John’s varied delivery and frantic outbreaks make stand out. Granted he’s an adequate but not great singer, I wonder what the band would sound like with a man with a more “conventional” singing style, behind the mic.
The melodies especially on its latter part are sublime so… “Observer Two” is an energetic little instrumental with slight thrashing tendencies that leads into “Eon of Horus”, which is a heavy beast of a track, all about Aleister Crowley. While it’s a bit monotonous, its chaotic conclusion after some echoey interlude, gives it an additional charm.
“Astaroth”, with it’s almost mantra like repetition, is either genius or filler and somehow I seem to swing towards the latter opinion.
Thankfully, “Solaris” keeps the mystery filled vibes and the eastern influence, but imbues itself with sufficient heaviness to tackle the “bringer of the light of dawn” – Lucifer.
I did find “Benedictus” a little hard to fathom as its tonal qualities vary so greatly when compared to most other songs on the album, to the point where it feels like it came from another project altogether.
The same, off-putting tone is also prevalent on “Natural State” (a bonus track for the CD only), which has these buzzsaw guitars but sounds super bright and positive and frankly odd.
A welcome addition to the canon that would have possibly benefited from a slight delay and a few tweaks in its later part.