HOLY MOTHER – This third studio album, Toxic Rain, released in 1998 by Holy Mother, is one hell of a solid chunk of Traditional Metal. Toxic Rain downpours with a sound and style of American Power Metal in the vein of DIO and Obsession, along with a thick influence from Judas Priest and the Old School/Traditional Metal essence that the NWOBHM is so remembered and revered for.
With Metal roots originating from Long Island, New York, Holy Mother is a Metal Band that should not be bypassed for any lack of commercial success, mainstream snubbing or mid-’90′s media ignorance towards Heavy Metal. Great and real Metal will always rise from the ashes or raise it’s victorious fist from any catacombs of dormancy.
Becoming aware of Holy Mother and Toxic Rain all started with my trip to Music Outlet in Enfield, Connecticut. Best Metal Buddy, Scott Coverdale took me to this very cool and independently owned record and CD store that he frequents consistently. That day, I observed Scott walking about Music Outlet with a sinister grin upon his face… “I got it”… is what he said to me. I looked down upon the CD he was holding and it was Toxic Rain. Man, Scott was psyched out of his mind to have landed this CD… and now I know why.
Now that I own my personal copy of Toxic Rain, I realize the reason why Scott was grinning from ear to ear at Music Outlet that day. This album = Metal. Damn, you could not find a better representation of Traditional Metal, built with speed, blazing guitar leads and victorious riffs, than this Holy Mother album. The drumming of Jim Harris is like a battle call to Metal arms, his ultra-potent fills and supercharged timing are the icing on the Metal cake for Toxic Rain.
Vocalist Mike Tirelli is not gonna be in the back of the line ever, not according to my Metal scorecard. Mike is also a former vocalist for Riot and Burning Starr, making for an impressive Metal resume. I can compare Mike’s vocals to that of Mark Boals (of Yngwie J. Malmsteen fame) and Michael Vescera (of Obsession and Loudness fame), only adding in a harder edge.
Rich Naso on guitar lays it down heavy and steady from start to finish on Toxic Rain, with shades of Speed Metal wizardry gelled together with many extremely relevant and Traditional Metal tones. Rich never runs out of ultra delectable guitar licks… he’s just a cool player to hear on this album. Randy Coven on bass, has played with Yngwie J. Malmsteen and Riot during his Metal career. Creating a Metal family tree is evident, with this Holy Mother lineup of 1998.
The decade of the 90′s is NOT the lost era of Metal. Many, many, Metal Bands were releasing albums and touring during the 90′s. (Thank you… Slayer, W.A.S.P., Pantera and Overkill, to name a few). Instead, it will always be remembered by me as the decade where the mainstream media did NOT cover Metal… or great Metal for that matter. If Holy Mother released Toxic Rain in the mid to late 1980′s, hell, it would have probably received a ton more promotion and circulation amongst the media. This is my Metal opinion… and I’m not budging from it.
If you want me to be “street” about summing up this Toxic Rain album in one sentence, well, here it goes: Holy shit is this Holy Mother band unreal great on Toxic Rain! For me to “refer” this album to fans of Metal is really absurd. I need to bellow: Buy this Toxic Rain album if you believe in your own damned Metal salvation! Seriously, if your looking to make that purchase of a classic Metal release… Toxic Rain can be as viable a choice as any. So let it be Metal written… so let it be Metal done.
Once you hear Wars kick in, this song’s speed and rugged crunch shall be the leading Metal indicators that Holy Mother is not screwing around on Toxic Rain. The title track – Toxic Rain is a deluge of Metal that forces it’s way upon my ears, all the while I’m taking it all in like a parched desert floor during a tropical downpour. Again, its the speed + power which = holy shit great Metal here. Again, that’s as “street” honest as I can get.
My favorite song on this now revered Metal album is – My Destination. I’ll tell you what my destination has always been… to discover and listen to great, quality laced Metal, just like Holy Mother. My Destination has a melodic power surge running wild and it’s riveting to say the Metal least. The River carries it’s melodic drive through the vocals of Mike Tirelli and the savory leads and solos of Rich Naso. This song is a heavyweight like all the others on Toxic Rain, it showcases no doubt’s that Mike Tirelli can hit the high notes. You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ is the lone cover song on this album. This Judas Priest Metal classic is given it’s justified due from Holy Mother, it’s worth cranking it up on high, still there’s nothing like the original. A solid cover it is and very worthy of many obligatory headbanging moments.
Losing My Bet closes out Toxic Rain, a song that sustains the consistent quality, heaviness and unrelenting power of sound that Holy Mother plays from the very onset. No one song sounds alike on Toxic Rain and Losing My Bet is an exclamation point to this statement. The only similarities heard between all 11 songs are that of the astute allegiance to Metal that Holy Mother plays so damn well.
I must factor in that the vocals of Mike Tirelli and the guitar playing of Rich Naso are standout on each song, while Randy Coven on bass and Jim Harris on drums are fabulously tight together. Once Losing My Bet comes to a close, I have that Metal hunger to listen to this Holy Mother album again… and again. That is a benchmark of being a great Metal album for me, when I can state something like that.
I could say, without any hesitation, that Toxic Rain is one of the very best Metal albums from the 90′s decade. (Criminal Afterlife is another Holy Mother album I feel this same way about as well, only that is for another post). You are getting the entire Metal ball O’ wax with Holy Mother’s playing on Toxic Rain… no run of the mill, no “standard stuff” or copycat crap going on with this band. Hopefully Holy Mother can make a return down the Metal road and release some potent, new material. Holy Mother is yet another Metal reality check, as to there being great bands from the 90′s that flew under the Metal radar by me… and I’m thankful Scott Coverdale uttered those now infamous words toward my way, during one cool visit to Music Outlet… “I got it”.
* For more info on HOLY MOTHER, just click on the link below:
* HOLY MOTHER – Toxic Rain was released on A.B.S. Records
HOLY MOTHER as they appeared on Toxic Rain:
Mike Tirelli – vocals
Rich Naso – guitar
Randy Coven – bass
Jim Harris – drums
Track Listing For Toxic Rain:
The Rats Keep Runnin’
Live To Die
You’ve Got Another Thing Comin’ (Judas Priest cover)
Symptom Of Withdrawal
Losing My Bet
LONG LIVE THE METAL OF HOLY MOTHER!