Review by Rick Ossian
These Teutonic thrashers have been around since the early 1980’s, and hail from the town of Aachen in Germany. I must admit to some confusion when I first discovered that their singer was a frontwoman. Normally I would expect a voice that gruff to be coming from a guy who has shredded vocal chords. The pipes come from none other than Sabina Classen, who has been at the mic fronting Holy Moses from the beginning (save for a brief foray into The Temple of the Absurd in the 90’s). Her cohorts in musical crime, if you will, are Peter Geltat on guitar, Gerd Lucking on drums and Thomas Neitsch on bass (he also produced). Mixing and mastering were done by Tue Madsen ( The Haunted, Dark Tranquility, Extol).
There are two different versions of this particular release, by the way, featuring differing cover art. The CD is in a jewel case, while the LP vinyl is a double with a gatefold cover, coloured vinyl, and bonus track (“Entering the Now“) and the CD in cardboard. I believe I would go with the vinyl, but then I AM sort of a vinyl junkie.
Hellhound, the lead off track, starts things with a bang. This is riff city, with a vocal that is more of a statement of intent than regular singing. Some serious shredding involved here, and the obligatory Cookie Monster vocals, but just try to keep track of all the time changes – I dare you!
Triggered begins with a guitar duel of sorts, at least for the intro section, then more of the vocals – you know, the ones that make you wonder if their vocal chords are bleeding by the end of a set (or a studio session)? It is definitely another slammer. It is also in keeping with the time constraints these folks seem to restrict themselves to (the longest number is just shy of five minutes).
Undead Dogs, who can apparently ‘fight amongst themselves‘, is more of a steady, rocky rhythm riff sort of a tune. More of the same vocals, and then they throw in a guitar solo about two minutes in. And here I thought it was just going to be power slamming barre chords! I stand corrected.
Into the Dark is my favourite number up to this point; it is a slower, bluesy tune, at least during the intro, then settles into the main riff, which is sort of a sludgy slam, for lack of a better description. Sacred Sorrows boasts a heavy-bottomed rhythm with some pretty slamming chords. It is a bit slower than the rest of the fare contained herein, but nonetheless extremely powerful. They switch gears into heavy thrash again before it’s all over.
Process of Projection seems to be hell-bent on speediness, with all of the players trying to outdo, or keep up, with each other. An interesting exercise in tightness, if nothing else. Three minutes in, there is another guitar solo (surprise!), and I just realized I’m only half way in, and already impressed! Some double-bass thumping on the drums rounds things out in a nice thrashy kind of way.
Fading Realities is a another heavy stomper, with guitar shredding right out of the gate, and guitars vying for attention (including another wickedly good solo about 2 minutes in). They slow down and take a ‘regular speed’ break, if you will, then kick back into a double-time thrash to end things off!
Liars is another breakneck speedy number. I dare any rhythm section to try and keep up with these blokes on this section. Even I couldn’t keep up with my amazing air drum ferocity. I like the ‘shouting’ section (Who are these gods/To whom we pray?). Endings are just as quick as beginnings with these lads (and lady), coming to an abrupt stop at several occasions.
Redemption of the Shattered features another slamming, shredding intro jwith the guitar and the drums. Hold on a tick – do drummers shred? Gerd definitely does on this tune. Sabina seems to be shredding her vocal chords here again as well. About 2 minutes in they slow down for some more blues, and wait til you hear the little vocal surprise at the end!
Whet the Knife is more of a hard-rock riff-based number (and DIG THAT BASS from Thomas!!). There is a shared vocal call-and-response thing going on here as well. We get another cool guitar solo about two minutes in, and this one is, again, pretty slamming all the way through!
DELuision starts with sort of a mysterious. almost ‘whodunit’ guitar intro, more call and response vocals – the kind of a number that would undoubtedly lend itself to a crowd participation section. These folks are very good at what they do. At the 2:50 mark they slam and thrash some more, then there is a sublime guitar solo at 3 minutes in. It is angry, but controlled, somehow…
One Step Ahead of Death is a HEAVY blues tune, especially during the intro, then lulls us into stupefaction for a moment before settling into the main groove, a very powerful hard rock sort of riff. We are graced with another guitar solo at 3:30, then a sort of creepy fade-out at the end, which is a bit unusual considering what we’ve heard thus far.
This Dirt is short but sweet, at just over a minute long. It begins with a bit of white noise and feedback, then morphs into a total slam/thrash, as if Sabina just hollered ‘everybody play as fast as you can for a minute!’ Great stuff. Would love to get the vinyl so I can hear the extra track!