Holy Terrors

The Holy Terrors' This Is What It Sounds Like When You're Dead is equal parts retrospective and new album. All of the tracks from their 1992 Live Six cassette, which were originally taken from the May 18, 1992 broadcast of Bob Slade's Off the Beaten Path show on WLRN-FM (93.1), are here, as is the 1997 "Four Questions/Janet (from another planet)" single and an extra song from that session, "Date." It closes with four (or five, wink, wink) live recordings from a Washington Square concert in 1992.

The first five songs follow the Terrors' pattern: "Fifth of July" displays the precision and thickness of the rhythm section; "At the Awful" pairs a funklike beat with melancholic guitar, providing the necessary energy for Rob Elba's vocals to soar to the point of crackling; and "Johnny Zhivago" demonstrates an understanding of primal, reverberating rock and roll. The Terrors incorporate booze-induced noise à la Laundry Room Squelchers and the artsy breaks of Wire into the postpunk, pre-alternative fury of hardcore acts like Mission of Burma and the Minutemen. To say "Thank you sweet Jesus, it's finally here" is a fucking understatement.

We need more documented histories like this for a scene as geographically isolated as ours to survive. The Holy Terrors put their two cents in the can with this decade-plus slab of wax.

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