"Agoraphobia" (SPV / Steamhammer Records)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

"Agoraphobia," the new album by Holy Mother (a band made up of members from Virgin Steele, Messiah's Kiss and Yngwie Malmsteen's band), is a rather brilliant combination of the hard and loud Ronnie James Dio sound with a somewhat quicker tempo and a vocalist who brings to mind the best work of David Coverdale and Skid Row's Sebastian Bach and/or Johnny Sollinger.

Holy Mother is all about heavy metal guitars, soaring lead vocals and rhythms that demand furious headbanging. They're not speed metal, but their tempo is fast and furious throughout. Imagine Dio's faster-paced songs and you get a good idea of where Holy Mother is coming from.

Despite the comparisons above, however, don't think that Holy Mother are a retro metal band. That's far from the case. The songwriting and production on Holy Mother is sharp and very contemporary. Track 5, "Hungry for Exxstacy" is a perfect example here, skipping along on an edgy verse and then folding beautifully into a razor sharp chorus. Another highlight is the very next song, "Society, Anxiety," which boasts an irresistible Iron Maiden-ish throb.

Also included is a strong and respectful cover of Black Sabbath's classic "Never Say Die."

Holy Mother: Mike Tirelli - vocals, guitars; Randy Coven - bass; Frank Gilchriest - drums. Also appearing on "Agoraphobia" are John Macaluso - drums; Herman Frank - guitars.

For more information, check out http://www.holy-mother.net

Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.


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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 11 Jul 2017 13:44:32 -0400 .