(TheBRHM.com) Seattle-based band Skelator is one my favorite bands to come from the New Wave of American Heavy Metal. While I will do a dive into their work, this is about Holy Tyrant which is headed up by former Skelator bassist Rahsaan Davis.
Who Are Holy Tyrant?
Davis made the jump from bass to vocals at some undisclosed time in his musical career because I’ve always know him as the bass player for Skelator via his two stints with the band and in listening to Man Destroys Himself.
Needless to say, I had to check this out once I saw that they had a Bandcamp with their demo on it. The band features Jake Lopez and Zachary Coleman on guitars, Zach Hogan on bass, and Reed Olsen on the skins.
The act plays a mix of black metal and thrash with Davis bringing the rasps and growls here. The playing by Lopez, Olson, and los Zachs is rapid fire and punishing. Mix all of this together with some brief songs—everything on this demo is under three minutes—and you have punchy, powerful, 16-minute sprint.
Let’s get into the Holy Tyrant demo!
Released in May 2020, Holy Tyrant features six tracks with the longest clocking in just shy of three minutes. Check out the listing.
-Masking the Pain
-Once Upon a Podium
-Price of Privacy
-Human Chameleon (demo)
“Masking the Pain” kicks off things, obviously. Usually, the first song on a release sets the pace for everything else. The opener in this case just lets you know how hard the party is going to be.
This demo jumps between heavy on the black metal and heavy on thrash depending on the track. Given that black metal is an offshoot of speed metal or thrash metal—depending on the wave—Holy Tyrant were able to shift between the two fluidly.
There were even times when I’ve gotten into the song—into my black metal headspace—only to get some thrashy guitarwork in the same song. Trust me, I’ve replayed this several times and some tracks more times than I’ve replayed the whole demo.
“Holy Tyrant” and “Manslaughter” just rip as tunes and keeps the momentum going. By the time that you reach the third song, things have crossed the six-minute mark. Again, it’s a demo and fast one at that.
Of the two, I enjoyed the titular track more. However, what blew me away on this demo was the fourth song “Once Upon a Podium”. On my first listen, I kind of started vibing with the album until Rahsaan Davis changed his vocals up and went clean and epic with them.
My mouth was agape. Those are the kind of vocals I love. It was as if he said “You thought I was just going to rasp my way through the album huh, you mark?” This was a welcome surprise and now I’d love to hear him in something like heavy metal or power metal.
Here’s hoping Davis gets the “I can do it all” bug that Swedish musician Cederick Forsberg has. Shout out to Ced, Blazon Stone and Rocka Rollas are awesome bands.
The Finishing Stretch
Back to Holy Tyrant, “Price of Privacy” is the shortest song on the demo and if you blink, you’ll miss it. That’s all to it. It’s a solid song nonetheless. Closing out the demo is the demo version of “Human Chameleon”.
I kind of have the same impression of the closer as I do of “Price of Privacy”. It’s a solid track but the first four smashed things out of the park, hands down. I’d probably have a better impression of them if “Once Upon a Podium” didn’t come before them.
I don’t grade demos but I will say that overall, this was a strong first volley. I’d love to see what these dudes do with another demo or a full-length release and how these six tracks change—if they make it to the potential full-length.
If anything, “Once Upon a Podium” must be on that full length. I don’t know if it should be longer or stay as it is but it was the star here.
Standout Tracks: “Masking the Pain”, “Holy Tyrant”, “Once Upon a Podium”**
Be sure to check out Holy Tyrant’s Bandcamp and—as always—support the band!
Staff Writer; James Swift, Jr.
This talented writer is also a podcast host, and comic book fan who loves all things old school. One may also find him on Twitter at; metalswift.