The first release from the newly resurrected Holy Terror Records is "Before Twilight and After", a 24-track, 78-minute (almost) discography collection from Cleveland's always underrated Pale Creation. Opening with one "new" track, "Kaliira", which I believe was recorded about three years ago around the time that the band regrouped for a reunion show in Cleveland, the disc then contains their sole full-length, 1999's "Twilight Haunt" (originally on East Coast Empire Records), as well as the four tracks from their extremely rare split CD with Repugnant (originally on Repentance Verified Records, released in either 2000 or 2001, I can't recall), with the eight tracks from their absolutely excellent 1992 demo tacked onto the end of the CD. This is pretty much everything the band ever recorded, sans the instrumental outro from "Twilight Haunt" ("Procession", likely omitted due to time constraints for its less-than-mandatory status) and the six tracks from their 1994 demo sessions.
The inclusion of the 1992 demo and "Twilight Haunt" alone really gives you a feel for the massive evolution Pale Creation endured throughout their near-decade of existence, sprouting up from a crossover-tinged thrash metal act with almost Dave Mustaine-like vocals to a much darker and more diverse take on the metal-based hardcore for which Cleveland is so revered. The light vocal effects and droning guitar work present throughout "Twilight Haunt" really lend a different sort of feel to classic tracks like "Trade a Soul", among others. In fact, the closest Pale Creation ever came to sounding more like their Clevo hardcore forefathers was on their final release, the split CD with Repugnant, where they stripped down to a rawer, more in your face attack, with shorter songs and harsher, more direct vocals – which, when devoid of effects, actually had much more in common with Dwid's inimitable screams. But even the centerpiece of that release, the absolutely awesome "The Rest of Forever", revisits some of the more twisted riffing and droning leads of "Twilight Haunt", so… Pale Creation was always operating just outside the bounds of what was considered "normal" for whatever scenes they were tending to fall within. And that's certainly not a bad thing, granted it may provide some additional insight as to why the band never received their due.
The disc is packaged in a standard jewel case with more superb artwork from the one and only Stephen Kasner, as well as a five-and-a-half-page complete history of Pale Creation, which goes into plenty of detail – right down to the fact that my old blog posts about the band's two demos back in the summer of 2005 may have provided the first spark that eventually led to this CD. If that's the case, I have to say that I'm honored to have played even a small role in leading to the proper release of such a collection, and I certainly hope the renewed interest in the whole "holy terror" thing that's going on right now will finally bring some more appreciative listeners to this sorely overlooked material. It's about time…
Pale Creation "Trade a Soul"
Pale Creation "Terror Binds the Soul"
Pale Creation "Natural Assassin"
This one's only available from the label at the moment, and I'm extremely curious to see what the future will hold for Holy Terror Records. In a day and age where "holy terror" is being claimed by a number of bands whose material has little in common with what the "holy terror hardcore" sound represented a decade (or more) ago, I'm guessing it's safe to assume (especially based on this collection) that the record label itself will uphold a higher standard of quality…
@ Holy Terror Records