REVIEW: Holy Cow - "Purge"

By Marcus Pan

Chain Border

PurgeOne of the strongest touring bands both through Europe and the United States, Holy Cow first hit the scene in 1985 and released Call It What You Will in 1986. Recently picked up by Neue Asthetik who released their latest LP, Purge, Holy Cow continue to produce older skool darkwave music blended with post-punk and experimental influences. Truly a darker sound and theme permeate the music of this group.

Besides the latest CD we're reviewing here in this article, and the first release of Call It What You Will, the history of the band includes more CDs such as Suggested Reading and Soul Box in 1989 and 1995 respectively. Soul Box is also available through Neue Asthetik at their online catalog in addition to Purge, of course.

Purge opens with Dig, with a heavy bass strum and very moody vocals. Surreal guitar pickings populate the track. An interestingly dark arrangement. The following track, Outsider, ups the bar with a heavier rhythm, but still keeps a very strong bass line. Vocals become more subdued and faded adding a stronger guitar riff over top. A definite stunner for the old-skool darkwavers. It's a bit repetitive in arrangement but holds a charm of its own for being a nice representation of the style of gothic rock that swept the UK in the past and later crossed the Atlantic.

You Get What You Deserve becomes slower and a bit more experimental rhythmically. Simplistic, slow, but powerful in its presentation. Holy Cow mix it up a bit throughout the album, but there is always the basic bass-driven rock style, dark and morbid atmospheric influences and solid if minimal arrangement. In tracks like Dance of Torture they may find themselves dipping with much success into post-punk styles with Jesus & Mary Chain being a close proximity to some of these more experimental tracks. One of their heavier post-punk tracks is indeed one of my favorites from the album - The Desk has strange explosive breakdowns, minimal yet heavy guitar and bass-heavy instrumentation with slightly distorted vocals. Chorus parts are strong and moving.

Random meanwhile takes a completely different tack, opening with acoustic guitar and untouched male vocals. A complete turn-around from the previous bass-heavy and rock tracks. It adds in the missing bass in short order, but retains a more laid-back setting with mixed in nuances of sound throughout. Another favorite is Nub of Flesh, a brooding track that returns to the clear darkwave influences that Holy Cow opened Purge with. They close on a similar note with Drug.

Buy The Album
Buy Purge

Post: Neue Asthetik, P.O. Box 174, Murray Hill Station NY, NY, 10156
Phone: (212) 679-1287

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