written By Nikos Nakos & Gio Tsekas

Holy Terror was founded in 1986 by Kurt Kilfelt, after his departure from Agent Steel (later on, he played bass in the band Zeke!!!!), Jack Swartz, the drummer in the album ‘We Have Arrived’ by Dark Angel and Floyd Flanary. The first demo came out in 1986 and made quite an impact, resulting to the band signing a contract with Combat Records. The release line up of the demo was: Keith Deen/Vocals, Kurt Kilfelt/Guitars, Mike Alvord/Guitars, Floyd Flanary/Bass and Jack Schwartz/Drums. Demo tracklist: ‘Blessed Sacrament’ (intro), ‘Black Plague’, ‘Distant Calling’ and ‘Guardians of the Netherworld’.

Their debut Terror and Submission’ contained the demo songs, along with six new ones and was issued in 1987. The compositions were rather technical and the vocals were placed “weirdly” on top of the music. Influenced obviously by Agent Steel, the guitarists Kurt Kilfelt and Mike Alvord gave us maniacal speed metal, which at times reached the boundaries of thrash metal. The guitar solos take turns with each other, incredibly bid together, Floyd Flanary (bass) and Joe Mitchell(drums) try to catch up with the rest and Keith Deen performs with his voice, either melodically or aggressively. The production could have been better, the sound is rather raw and the song structure complex in a positive way. When you have, however, a singer as good as Keith Deen, you don’t have to “sacrifice” good songwriting, but you can rely on him and write refrains that will stick with the listener and never follow the typicality of repeating the song title. When you have guitarists such as Kurt Kilfelt and Mike Alvord you don’t have to copy-paste Metallica-Exodus-Slayer, even if the year is 1987 and these bands are practically the Thrash Metal themselves. Unsung Heroes of thrash, as well as heavy metal at large, they had many power metal references in their sound and they also flirted with speed metal (defining the speed metal sound up to a point). Albums like ‘Terror and Submission’ can’t be written any given day. Songs that stand out –from an album that would score solid 6/6– are: the melancholic and my personal favorite ‘Distant Calling’, the speed ‘Evil’s Rising’, the epic ‘Guardians of the Netherworld’ and ‘Blood of the Saints’.

With the same band members, as in their successful debut album, one year later in 1988, they issued their second LP ‘Mind Wars’. From the first song we understand what lies ahead in the album. In comparison with the first LP, this one is superior technically, faster, with razor-sharp guitars, more clear sound, Keith Deen being top and the band more mature, knowing exactly what to do and how to do it. Rabid speed/thrash, like there is no tomorrow, with anti-Christian lyrics and, generally, based on common thrash metal lyrical themes. “Terror’s” cross is now broken, the music is enriched with incredible melodies and yet another “diamond” is added up in metal discography. Another 6/6, another monumental album was created, which seems unaffected by time. Outstanding moments of a perfect album ‘Judas Reward’, ‘Dept Of Pain’, ‘The Immoral Wasteland’, ‘Damned By Judges’, ‘No Resurrection’ and ‘Christian Resistance’… honestly probably the entire album is a highlight…

For good or for worse, Holy Terror left us as their legacy only these two masterpieces. Later on, without Keith and Mike, they changed the band’s name to Shark Chum, played punk rock and finally dismantled. In 2005 Kurt revived the band together with the drummer Joe Mitchell, the sole original member, in order to play some live shows but that didn’t last long.

el revengo

In 2006, a compilation entitled ‘El Revengo’ was the band’s swansong. In this package you can find 3 discs. On disc one, the first four tracks are from ‘Mind Wars’ and were remixed by Jack Endino in September 2004. The rest of the disc is the original American version of ‘Terror and Submission’, which has a different mix (by Casey MacMackin) than the U.K. version released on CD. Disc two is a DualDisc, with the audio tracks one to nine from a show in Dendermonde, Belgium; – fall of 1987 when Holy Terror supported D.R.I. on their European tour-, tracks 10 to 13 were recorded in Fort Lauderdale, Florida; tracks 13 and 14 were recorded in Milan, Italy. The video side of the disc features concert footage from Wisconsin, Illinois and California, as well as a music video for ‘Judas Reward’.

And at the 13th of December 2012, Keith Deen dies, after a three month long fight with cancer. R.I.P Keith….

P.S. The song ‘Debt of Pain’ from LP ‘Mind Wars’ was originally written for Agent Steel and is found in ‘Skeptics Apocalypse’ LP, with different lyrics and under the name ‘Back To Reign’.