Holy Moses

Agony Of Death

Written by: MB on 09/12/2008 12:06:29

While younger bands are still obsessed with playing whatever-core or a recycled form of Bay Area thrash metal, Germany's Holy Moses release a dozenth album to an unsuspecting world's astonishment. Holy who? On their latest, Deutschland's most uncelebrated (and oldest—their career spans 28 years) thrash group allow an army of guest musicians to polish their grim sound just a wee bit (the cameos include Axel Rudi Pell's Ferdi Doemberg; Schmier from Destruction; and Metalium's Henning Basse). The end result, "Agony of Death," runs like an instructional CD for the genre it represents—keyboards be damned. Everything you'd expect to hear on a Thrash record is here: Slayer decibels; gang-style backing vocals; riffs that stew inside your brain; and a no-frills vocal delivery by frontwoman Sabina Classen that's akin to hearing a Neanderthal learn english.

The spacey ambiance and cinematic sound effects at the start of "Imagination" does betray an epic bent, but don't be fooled, because once the song opens Holy Moses puts the listener inside a sonic blender. The band's thrash metal formula comes to the fore here and is heard from "Alienation" through "Angels in War." Not wanting to grow stale fast, Holy Moses gives "World In Darkness" a few melodic touches like an epic guitar solo at its start. "Pseudohalluzination" stands out as the album's most brutal song, a distinction hotly contested by the circle-pit anthem "Dissociative Disorder" and the rollicking "Schizophrenia," whose Judas Priest guitar harmony compliments Henning Basse's falsettos at the chorus.

"Through Shattered Minds" eases the band's characteristic tempos a bit but fails to grab the listener's full attention. Arriving after almost an hour of non-stop thrash metal, your ears will be exhausted by the time Holy Moses are ready to draw the curtains. "Agony of Death" may be bursting at the seams with the band's energy, but its biggest flaw is the by-the-numbers Thrash the band peddles. But nevertheless, Holy Moses keeps the album's less sterling aspects from ruining the whole sonic entrée by using lots of aggression and buzz saw riffs. Once the music fades on the closing track, whistling violins provide a neoclassical outro to the year's ugliest exercise in thrash metal. Holy sh*t.

7

Download: "Imagination," "Dissociative Disorder," "Angels In War"
For the fans of: Slayer, Destruction, Exodus, Legion of the Damned
Listen: Myspace

Release date 26.09.2008
Wacken Records/SPV

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