FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: Beyond the Cross
After years of working on uncovering these underground heavy metal relics and excavating what we can, Heaven and Hell Records are now preparing to re-release all three IRON CROSS/HOLOCROSS albums.
Little is known about Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania’s homegrown thrashers HOLOCROSS. The band would seem to appear out of nowhere, launching an assault on the burgeoning Steel City heavy metal scene like a masked villain from parts unknown.
The band would only stick around for a few years before mysteriously slipping back into obscurity. But, within the band’s short time in the scene, they would deliver three albums. Over the decades, the two would become underground classics. One of which would come to be thought of by many as one of the greatest unsung thrash metal albums of all time.
IRON CROSS was formed in 1982 by guitarist P.J. Kacin, singer Char R.G, bassist Max Uzax and drummer Ray Molinari under the name IRON CROSS. Musically the band would start out with a more Sunset Strip-type sound akin to bands such as MOTLEY CRUE, RATT and Quiet Riot with some JUDAS PRIEST type elements. In 1985 IRON CROSS would record their debut album “Warhead” at Micro Mix Studios with engineer Jimmy Wilson (The Tung Bandits), who had previously worked with fellow local Pittsburgh acts ASSASSIN, VAHALLA and X-CALIBER. The 10-song album would be released on vinyl that year on Micro Mix Records.
The album would showcase a band that had not yet focused on an exact direction. And even though it would be comparable to Westcoast contemporaries, “Warhead” would hint at something more festering in the band. With an underbelly of aggressive angst, the tracks on the album would have a punkish no-nonsense, DIY vibe to them. This approach, accompanied by screaming vocals, grinding riffs and increasing faster tempos, would cause the band to merge slightly into speed metal territories. Clearly, IRON CROSS was not an L.A. band, nor did they pretend to be.
After the release of “Warhead”, the band discovered a band in Florida named Iron Cross. This discovery would cause the Keystone IRON CROSS to change the band’s name to HOLOCROSS. The idea for the name came from a bad joke a friend of the band would make about Easter candy. The band thought combining the words hollow and cross had sounded sinister. Thus the band would be dubbed HOLOCROSS.
The violent grinding frenzy of HOLOCROSS was like the scraping of corrosion from the Rust Belt. With a reputation based on their controversial weapons-based stage shows on stages wrapped in barbwire and a go-for-the-throat approach, the group delivered ever-growing aggressive heavy metal fury that did not relent. Any trappings of Westcoast metal similarities quickly fell away as the speed and thrash would become ever-increasing more brutal.
In 1987 HOLOCROSS began to record the band’s second album, the first under the new name. They would once again record with Wilson at Micro Mix Studios. Around this time, HOLOCROSS would sign with New Renaissance Records for the release of their next album. But before a release was issued, the band would go into Pyramid Sound in Ithaca, New York and re-record the album with Alex Perialas at the helm. Perialas had a pedigree of working with bands such as BAD RELIGION and thrash metal titans such as ANTHRAX, TESTAMENT, OVERKILL and NUCLEAR ASSAULT. The re-recorded album would contain 9 out of the 10 songs previously recorded at Micro Mix Studios. A different song would be added for the updated recording of the album.
In 1988 HOLOCROSS “Holocross” would be released on cassette and vinyl through New Renaissance Records. The release would receive minimal distribution and exposure.
The sheer intensity and speed-crazed mayhem at 33⅓ RPM clearly made the statement that the party was over and it was now time for war. Any reservations and hesitation the band may have had were no more, HOLOCROSS were unleashed.
One reviewer said, “This isn’t an album that immediately lends itself to classic status, primarily because it’s so damned intense that it simply leaves a vague impression, right on the listener’s skull.” The same review would go on to say, “People tend to remember albums like “South Of Heaven” and “Coma Of Souls” better because they offer a variety of different ways to ruin the spinal column, whereas this is just a straight shot of pure adrenaline that tends to fade away once the music stops.” The suggestion of the album being intense and like a “straight shot of adrenaline” was a dead-on description.
However, the years to follow the album's release would prove that “Holocross” obviously did make some sort of an impression seeing that the album would become a classic.
At the start of the coming decade, HOLOCROSS would record their third album titled “Hypercaust”. Bassist Bill Turney of local thrashers TRAVESTY would join the band for some of the recording sessions.
The band would then slip into obscurity. Meanwhile, the album would go unreleased until 2005, when the band would finally self-release it. The pressing was very limited and received very little distribution. Many fans are not even aware that the album exists. Rumours began to be whispered throughout the underground that HOLOCROSS would reunite. However, this was not to be.
Planned for the fall of 2023 H&H Records will be releasing IRON CROSS “Warhead”, HOLOCROSS “Holocross” and HOLOXROSS “Hypercaust” all on CD. Each will be remastered from the best possible sources. The package will include restored artwork and complete lyrics. Each will be limited to 500 copies worldwide.
Tracks are as follows:
IRON CROSS - Warhead
01. Set Your Sites
02. Slaughter House
03. Waiting for the Axe
06. Send for the Cross
07. Come and Get It
08. Chain Gang
09. Cold Steel
HOLOCROSS - Holocross
01. Wolf Pack
04. B. Hive
07. Murder Cycle
08. Drill 02:50
09. Ptomaine 02:32
10. Battle Stations
HOLOCROSS - Hyperaust
01. Painful Reminder
02. The Bludgeoning
03. Guidance in Violence
05. Ded Bolt
07. Hollenlarm/Death Rattle
08. Body Bag
10. Hypercaust See less
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