Thursday, 20 March 2014

Extreme Thursday: Holy Moses

Flares. What better thing to brighten up a dismal Thursday than a pair of epic flairs? Walk with me, back in time, back to the dim, distant past, to a time when the 70s were still lingering in the air like a bad smell. Back ... to the 80s.

The year is 1980. A group of high school kids, Ramon Brüssler, Peter Vonderstein and Jochen Fünders, were putting together a thrash metal band that, little did they know, would kick off a multi-decade storm of German thrash. That band was, and is, Holy Moses. A band who have been around, on and off, for over thirty years, and have somehow never made it beyond cult status.

Things did not run smooth for the young band, and over the next six years a great churning would oust the founding members and replace them with a whole new lineup and, importantly, a new vocalist in the form of Sabina Classen (née Hertz), girlfriend and future wife of the new guitarist Andy Classen.

The band's debut album, Queen Of Siam, was released in 1986 towards the end of this period of change to critical acclaim, despite the following tour resulting in the sacking of the drummer and the departure of Ramon Brüssler, the last founding member. The album, and indeed the band, were unusual for their time, and forged ahead with a new, heavy thrash style, carving the path for other bands featured here on Extreme Thursday.

Featuring lyrics dealing with the fantastical to the political, the band's sound crystallised early in their career, needing to change little except for improvements in production and the honing of individual talents. The 1987 sophomore release Finished With The Dogs took the good work from Queen Of Siam and refined it further.

Holy Moses continued releasing albums like a new, relentless machine. The New Machine Of Lichtenstein was released in 1989, World Chaos in 1990, Terminal Terror in 1991 and Reborn Dogs in 1992. They even found time for the delightfully, and terribly spelled, Too Drunck To Fuck compilation in '92. The band continued improving and tweaking the sound, taking their thrash as far as they could push it.  Unfortunately, all this was to end as Sabina Classen left the band and, bereft of vocalist, Holy Moses disappeared.

Sabina went on to form a new band called Temple Of The Absurd, with whom she released two albums; Absurd and Mother, Creator, God. Meanwhile Andy Classen and co in Holy Moses released a more death-oriented record in the form of No Matter What's The Cause. It didn't do too well.

During touring for Temple Of The Absurd's second album in 1999 Sabina fell ill and collapsed on stage, resulting in her hospitalisation. A year later, she was in a motorcycle accident. At this point she dissolved Temple Of The Absurd and went back to working with Andy on new Holy Moses material. When the band finally reformed in 2001, Andy wasn't in it. Instead, a whole new lineup including Franky Brotz and Joern Schubert on guitar, Jochen Fünders on bass and Julien Schmidt on drums. The album that came out of all this was Disorder Of The Order, proving immediately that Holy Moses were back, even if they looked a bit different.

The fans were delighted, so much so that the band put together a new album, as well as a full release of their older material. Strength Power Will Passion was released in 2005, and the third album of the new era of Holy Moses, Agony Of Death, in 2008. The ever increasing discography meant that, in 2012, there was plenty of material for a two disc compilation to celebrate 30 (well, 32) years of Holy Moses.

The band has been, not quiet perhaps, but less productive over the last few years. Switching from an "album per year" cycle to only one in six years (not including the 30th anniversary compilation) is a certainly a shift. Despite announcing the departure of guitarist Oliver Jaath, the band are currently promoting their next album, Redefined Mayhem, ready for an April 2014 release. There's not much to show about the new album yet, except this guitar/bass playthrough:

And these pictures:


Not sure about the photo, but the guitar sounds pretty good to me. Watch this space for more release details.