It’s the Friday after what seemed to be a week of Halloween. Candy throughout offices, at businesses and fitness centers (of all places), along with costumed ghouls and haunting darkness. It’s been the best Halloween in a long time! With that said, it’s fitting that there’s only one release that I must focus on.
The name that Holy Wars has taken seems like a misnomer of what this band actually is. You’d probably expect a death-rattling metal excursion but instead what you end up with is something completely different. From what I gather here, Holy Wars is the brain trust of vocalist Kat Leon and Nicholas Perez. Earlier this year Holy Wars released the Mother E.P., and you can find those songs listed here as well. There are only six tracks on the band’s new offering Mother Father (self-release) but this recording is just so damn appealing. Rarely do I pay heed to a group’s own press release, but it seems accurate and on point, but it seems to leave things out.
The L.A. band’s explosive sound draws from a number of watering holes where thirst had been quenched by others for Mother Father. Makes no difference though, when songs like the opening mid-tempo pace of “Orphan” rattles like a snake with stormy effect as Leon’s perfectly delivered vocals occasionally caterwauls when necessary. I reel back when the song ends, playing the repeat button to hear it over and over again. Its grip is tight with the huge arena-sized sound the band gets from it. It’s easy to fall in love with Kat Leon here. But we must press on, and what follows is just as compelling. “Back To Life” seems to pilfer from Black Francis for a moment, hitting dissonant notes but the fuzzed-out bottom-end lets you know it’s something completely different, that is if Leon’s voice didn’t give you an idea of that as well. It hypnotically draws you in, as the band plays with dynamics and sonics throughout it. The distorted guitars are outer dimensional, creating textures and haze that are magnificently beautiful.
No sooner does the song end that they attack with “Warrior,” a larger-than-life attack with words and power as drums seem to lead this track. On “I Can’t Feel A Thing” the band shifts gears going full-frontal, with Kat Leon changing up her delivery as well singing in a higher register that’s fitting. It’s a rock-heavy track that’ll have you air-guitaring in your underwear as you bounce off your bed. The band shifts gears again when they end things with the title track, a balladesque number that showcases the versatility of the group. It’s beauty wrapped up in Kat Leon’s airy vocals here. My original thoughts about this brief release were quelled by the remarkable songs written and compiled on Mother Father. I think there’s a Holy War in me now, and that’s not such a bad thing.