Before the luxury of the internet, the only way I could listen to new hard rock/metal music in my mid teens would be from Chris Tetley on Piccadilly Radio and Tommy Vance on the Friday Rock Show on Radio 1, so from the latter in 1980 I heard a single called ‘Heavy Metal Mania’ from an Edinburgh based band called Holocaust. It was a real ear opener with a huge main riff and containing lyrics I could relate to. “Inside the power cage, I can feel the music of my age. It’s paranoid, first degree. Telling me that I’m not free. I’ve got heavy metal music in my blood and I’d like to give it to you if I could”. Thankfully Holocaust are still flying the flag for NWOBHM, proven by their current studio album Predator.
There are 9 tracks of controlled fury here and the album kicks off with the title track. Avalanche like grooves so thick that they could clear anything in their path along with mauling time changes and a snarling vocal delivery from front man John Mortimer (one of the founding members of the band formed in 1977 when he was still in high school) get the album off to a strong start. Things get even heavier as the NWOBHM defining main riff of ‘Expander’ roars through this bottom heavy chugger. A more melodic lead vocal sees some innovative vocal phrasing in the choruses.
‘Can’t Go Wrong With You’ slams in with hypnotizing riffs that run throughout and it took repeated plays to concentrate what was going on here. The face melting musical rush of ‘Lady Babalon’ provides a backing foil to John’s pleading howls. A foot to the floor powerhouse midsection precede a sombre instrumental passage until those huge riffs bring things to a close. ‘Observer One’ a quirky instrumental that comes across like a studio jam features some tasty wah wah work and serious pounding from Scott Wallace on drums.
‘Shiva‘ is also drum driven, almost power metal and when the band lock in during the choruses they sound like an unstoppable force featuring an intense lead vocal. ‘Shine Out’ is one of my highlights of the album. It features a clean vocal from John which strangely reminded me of Jim Kerr. The musical backing is of hard hitting Rush like dynamics and is another track which took repeated plays as its that good. ‘Revival’ thunders along on a headbanging inducing main riff with a Manowar like epic feel over a lung busting vocal. The final track ‘What I Live For’ arrives all to soon and ends Predator with a mean and moody almost psychotic amalgamation of Black Sabbath and Killing Joke.
The album is currently available via Sleaszly Rider Records for £12.60 inc. postage and packaging.
Predator album track listing :-
Can’t Go Wrong.
Observer One (instrumental).
What I Live For.
Holocaust band line up :-
John Mortimer – Vocals/guitar.
Mark McGrath – Bass guitar.
Scott Wallace – Drums.