“Face This Burn”

By Dr. Abner Mality

HOLY MOTHER and their charismatic singer Mike Tirelli have been cranking out the metal since the early 90’s. This is another one of those bands like VICIOUS RUMORS or LEATHERWOLF that has all the tools but just can’t crack the glass ceiling. I can’t give a “one size fits all” description of the kind of metal HOLY MOTHER plays because they can almost play it all. “Face This Burn” has got elements of PRIEST/DIO/MAIDEN classic metal, QUEENSRYCHE progression, the heavier side of hair metal and even touches of grunge and nu-metal if you dig hard enough. The common denominator of all songs is all-caps METAL.

It’s hard, heavy and classy. The title track explodes with a surge of phased guitar and bass riffs and shows Tirelli’s immensely powerful and melodic vocals to great effect, including some hair-raising screams and almost robotic tones. This guy could sing the hide off an alligator and reminds me of VICIOUS RUMORS’ late, great Carl Albert. 

All of the songs have a different identity, but the album doesn’t lose coherence. “Legends” has some cool fat and groovy bass work and maximum crunch on the memorable  chorus. “The Truth” has a kind of grungy swagger to it, “Prince of the Garden” is psychedelic and sleazy, “Wake Up America” and “Today” are both super anthemic and “The River” cuts loose with fast PRIEST-inspired metal and tremendous guitar work from Greg Giordano, who shreds like a motherfucker on the whole album. The whole thing ends with the more hard rock/AOR influenced “Superstar” which even has piano.

It’s varied, but heavy all the way through, with even the more commercial cuts having strong heavy parts. The band sounds like a complete unit and Tirelli’s performance is virutally flawless.  I think this beats the hell out of the mostly tedious NWOTHM stuff. Pick it up!