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Holy Moses
Label: Steamhammer
Release: 25.04.2014
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Ruining Lives
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Agony of death Spec. Edition

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01 Imagination
02 Alienation
03 World in darkness
04 Bloodbound of the damned
05 Pseudohalluzination
06 Angels in war
07 Schizophrenia
08 Dissociative disorder
09 The cave (Paramnesia)
10 Delusional denial
11 The retreat
12 Through shattered minds/Agony of death (Outro)
As far as Sabina Classen is concerned, the title of the current Holy Moses album (their twelfth offering to date) says it all: Agony Of Death, the medical term for the death struggle and common denominator of the recording’s lyrics. “Amazingly, our band has been around for more than twenty years, which means that Holy Moses have been doomed for over two decades, but we’ve persevered,” the vocalist proudly points out, adding: “Life is a fight against death from the first moment. Some people are subjected to violence and abuse even in their childhood and experience this fight from an early age, while for others it may start later, but is no less dramatic.” These considerations are reflected in the lyrics on Agony Of Death. Be it in terms of ambivalent suicidal reflections (‘World In Darkness’), disturbances of memory and blackouts (‘The Cave’), or amnesia (‘Dissociative Disorder’) – it would hardly be possible to deal with this subject matter more intensely and professionally.

Musically, Agony Of Death features a stylistic review of legendary Holy Moses classics such as Finished With The Dogs (1987) and The New Machine Of Liechtenstein (1989), blended with more contemporary influences, complexity and diversity than any previous Holy Moses recording. More than its predecessors, every single note on Agony Of Death has the listener feel that this album is a true band project. Together with Atomic Steif (drums), who has returned to the fold, new addition Thomas Neitsch (bass) and Oliver Jaath (guitar), who joined Holy Moses three years ago, Sabina Classen and guitarist/composer & producer Michael Hankel have created an album which combines maturity and complexity in equal measures. This is red-hot thrash metal, Sabina Classen teasing out of her voice all those sounds that have become Holy Moses’ trademark: aggression, expression, power, technique, shouts, and even the occasional melody. “For the first time in the history of Holy Moses, I had almost six months to record my vocals. This allowed me to work according to my current mood, and the result ranges from hysterical screeches to deep growls.”

Just how ambitioned the band went about recording this album and just what an unusual trash metal opus Holy Moses have come up is reflected by a long list of illustrious guest musicians: Ferdy Doernberg (Axel Rudi Pell) contributed keyboards and samples, as well as intros and outros, and played slide guitar on ‘Through Shattered Minds’. Ralph Santolla (Obituary, Death, Iced Earth, Deicide) delivered brilliantly haunting guitars solo on ‘World In Darkness’ and ‘Dissociative Disorder’, while ‘Angels In War’ features a solo by his colleague Trevor. Then there are amazing solo guitars courtesy of Janos Murri (Darkside/Demolition) on ‘Imagination’ and ‘Alienation’. The album’s renowned background vocalists are Henning Basse (Metalium) on ‘Schizophrenia’, The Wolf (Darkside/Demolition) on ‘Imagination’ and Schmier (Destruction/Headhunter) on ‘The Cave’. And last but not least, there’s Agent Steel’s Karlos Medina playing bass on ‘Imagination’.

Agony Of Death will be available from 26 September 2008 in three different versions, each featuring the songs in a different sequence. The lavish Digipak with fold-out cover includes 12 songs plus all intros and outros in conceptual order. The regular jewel case consists of ten tracks without intros and outros, or, as Sabina Classen calls it, “without frills and full in the face”. The double vinyl edition will feature one intro and one outro per side, sort of a golden mean between the opulent Digipak and the straightforward jewel case. This allows every fan to choose the version they like best.

Perhaps we should mention that Holy Moses have the tightest tour schedule of their career lined up. At the beginning of 2008, the band toured Europe with Obituary. After a warm-up gig in Dortmund, Germany, in mid-July, Holy Moses will play the Wacken Open Air at the beginning of August and travel all over Europe as Benediction’s co-headliner for four weeks in September, before embarking on their first tour of North America in early 2009. Shows in South America, Japan and Australia have also been scheduled. There can be no doubt: the death struggle referred to in the album title will continue in a very noisy fashion!

The band got together in late summer 1980 in Aachen, Germany. Despite a number of line-up changes in the course of their career, Holy Moses have distinguished themselves through a high degree of musical consistency and downright disarming physical energy. They have been touring Europe regularly with thrash classics such as Finished With The Dogs, The New Machine Of Liechtenstein and World Chaos. When the international thrash scene experienced a perceptible slump in the early Nineties, Sabina Classen took time out from Holy Moses and founded Temple Of The Absurd. Based on a new lyrical and musical approach, she released two albums with her new band and reactivated Holy Moses at the beginning of the new millennium, followed by numerous shows all over the world, performances at important festivals such as the W:O:A and With Full Force, the Pusam Festival in South Korea, and the release of successful recordings such as Disorder Of The Order (2002) and Strength, Power, Will, Passion (2005). Holy Moses are alive and kicking and are set to cheat the grim reaper for years to come.
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