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  • Jonathan Widran

HOLY BEACH, All That Matters Is This Matter

Atlanta being smack dab in the heart of the Bible belt, we should expect that there would be some sort of spiritual oasis there to chill, relax and contemplate the bigger picture. But if you’re fortunate to head off to Holy Beach – as in the transcendent realm where the four budding guitar gods of this heavy experimental metal/rock ensemble – be prepared for a full on aural assault that will leave you breathless and transport you into a realm where scorching noise, blazing energy and freewheeling emotional abandon reign.

The six-piece unit formed earlier in 2019 and one can imagine the inferno they stirred up as they made quick work of All That Matters is This Matter’s eight soaring, chugging but also strangely atmospheric tracks (with brash titles like “Confident Prick” and “Skullface on a Horse”) at Atlanta’s Tree Sound Studios and Cassida Studios. Yet there’s a backstory that should inspire any veteran musician longing for an ensemble where his/her truth – the louder the better - can be appreciated.

Not long ago, lead vocalist/distorted scream team leader John Lally, was in the shoegaze group Sleep Therapy, but found that the material he was penning demanded something beyond that band’s dreamy haze. So he split and joined forces with three veteran axe grinders (Jon Hilton of US Prizms), Mike Gibbs (Krem Love) and Jason Petty, and the crack rhythm section of Kevin Faivre (bass) and percussionist Jordan Hershaft (The Tens) and got to work on creating the next phase of out there Southern bred rock.

Despite the overall din, there are many cool melodic elements here, particularly on the hypnotic and deeply poetic “Ships Off The Coast” and the set’s most infectious and emotional tune “The New Colossus.” Having the tunes and vocals obscured beneath layers of guitars is the whole point here – but there is one superfluous addition that should have rolled later in the mix. “Fade Away” is just superfluous instrumental white noise that keeps us waiting for something to emerge from the atmosphere but remains flat and goes nowhere. Which can’t be said of Holy Beach overall.

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