Record Review: The Holy Terrors – Live Six – 25th Anniversary Reissue
1992 was an interesting year in South Florida’s music history. The scene was large and prolific enough to afford stark divisions. The primary divide was between the mostly Miami-based contingent of punk rockers and weirdos and the mostly Broward-based “serious” would-be rock stars. The division was deep enough for noise guru Rat Bastard to design a flyer illustrating it. The art depicted an overflowing toilet with the name of every would-be corporate rock band from north of the Dade County line. Scrawled above it: “Broward County is Musically Stupid.”
Broward residents The Holy Terrors were the sole band accepted by both local factions. They lived in Broward and hung out in Miami. They were melodic and complex enough for the squares and guitar store warriors. Loud, snarky and aggressive enough for the listeners of Bob Slade’s “Off The Beaten Path” — WLRN’s Sunday night, punk rock radio show. “Live Six” is a live performance from that show, recorded by the aforementioned Rat Bastard.
Like most things the Terrors did, “Live Six” was executed backwards. We are, after all, talking about a band whose drummer (Sam Fogarino, Interpol) is the member who later became famous.
The first two songs, “Mantovani,” and “The Rape of the Vespers” are 4 and 5 minute anthems that feature lead guitarist Dan Hosker’s intricate, dynamic soundscapes. Not exactly catering to the audience for the only punk radio show in 600 miles not broadcasting on a feeble college radio frequency. It’s likely half the audience tuned out, after the pretty, Pixies-esque, start-stop epic “The Big Sea.”
1992 punk ADD’s loss, is the world’s gain in 2017. “Live Six” may be backloaded like Jennifer Lopez’s physique, but it is a potent blast from the past. “Cigaretello” chugs in and out of your earholes. Fogarino’s snare drum gallop propels Hosker and singer/guitarist Rob Elba’s twin guitar attack through a thicket of catchy riffs.
Everything boils over in “Lisa’s Last Words.” It’s a four minute punk rock horror movie wrapped around Elba’s screamed tale of terror. Within a minute, Elba informs the listener that Lisa’s last words were: “NO! NO! NO!” This is repeatedly beaten into your head with punishing punk rock guitars that sound as fresh today, as they did back when Cobain’s brains were still intact.
“Live Six” ends suddenly after 90 seconds of hummable, octave chord laden pop punk called “The Chicken Won’t Stop.” After 5 straight tunes clocking in at over 4 minutes, “Chicken…” feels like a palate cleanser instead of dessert. Which is all the more reason to hit play again.
“Live Six” sounds great. That’s amazing when you consider Adam Matza from Magic Ears Mastering archived and remastered it from a cassette tape old enough to rent a car. The majority of the proceeds fund the Dan Hosker Music Continuum, a scholarship at Hosker’s high school established after his tragic accident in 2012. These high quality tunes for a worthy cause can be purchased here: https://magicearsmusic.bandcamp.com/releases.
Slider image collage by Chuck Livid from images provided by Adam Matza.
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