History & BiographyGerman thrash metal band Holy Moses has released a series of albums over the years and taken advantage of the high profile of its frontwoman Sabina, who hosted a metal cable program called Mosh on cable TV station RTL in the late '80s, and her then-husband Andy Classen who has become a sought-after producer in his own right.
Holy Moses was active as early as 1978 as a school band, but became a serious entity when the Classens joined in the early '80s and the band issued demos called Black Metal Masters, Satan's Angel, Walpurgis Nacht (Running Wild anyone?) and Bitch. The founders were bassist Ramon Brüssler and singer and guitarist Jochen Fünders. Members were coming and going during this period including singers Iggy, Kathy and even Georg Classen. The demos crystallised the band's thrashing mania and garnered the interest of West German death/thrash label Aaarrg!. The debut featured drummer Herbert Dreger. A year later Berker was recruited to fill the vacant bassist position from the speed metal band Darkness. Sabina's looks and profile, the band's heavy impact and the success of bands like Kreator and Destruction prompted a major label to scoop the band for the German territory, but that didn't stop Hermann to join his old Faithful Breath friends in another upstart thrash band, namely Risk. The New Machine Of Liechtenstein was produced by Alex Perialis who had a good name in thrash circles at the time for producing Testament. The band played the Dynamo festival in the Netherlands and toured with Forbidden and Sacred Reich, but sales were not as good as a major would want and the boys and girl moved on to West Virginia - a sort of homecoming as the Classens were part owners.
The demise of the thrash scene saw the members scatter in 1993 - West Virginia was also on life support - until the eventual reformation in 2001 along with a new Europe-only contract from Century Media. Andy Classen would depart at this time. Dan Lilker was a transitory bassist for Holy Moses here as well. The band's No Matter What’s The Cause was issued two years after the band's death. The reformed band quickly issued the Master Of Disaster EP. The reformation featured Jochen Fuenders who had been a founder and member in the band's early days as well. He took up the bass now. He stayed for one year. The band signed to the Wacken festival-affiliated Armageddon label in 2004. Sabina also worked at the company. The group's 2005 album was entitled Strength, Power, Will, Passion and not Strange Power Will Passion. The latter mistaken title was publicised by the band's label Armageddon Music. The band was billed to perform in Kabul, the capital of Afghanistan on May 27, 2005. The band recruited bassist Ozzy formerly of Warpath and Temple Of The Absurd and drummer Asgard in 2005. Well-known thrash drummer Atomic Steif of Sodom and Living Death fame returned to the band after a 15-year absence in 2007. The line-up picked Bloodbound as the title for its next album, which was due in the spring of 2008. The band was touring with Obituary and Avatar in January. Holy Moses: More line-up changes occurred in 2008. Thomas Neitsch (Courageous and Desilence) took over the bass with Oliver Jaath moving over to the guitarist spot alongside Michael Hankel. The new line-up was at Wacken in 2008. The Germans picked Agony Of Death as the title for its new album, due on September 19th, 2008 through Wacken Records/SPV. Nominon , Benediction and Holy Moses were touring together in September of 2008 and next in Europe. Doro Pesch appeared at Holy Moses’ singer Sabina´s birthday party on stage in December in Niederkrüchten, Germany. The couple played the songs Celebrate and All We Are. Following the release of Agony Of Death in Japan, the religious figure was hitting that country in October and November for a tour. The group appeared at Bloodstock in 2010.
Holy Moses would commemorate its 30th anniversary by playing 30 shows around the world beginning on December 3rd, 2011 – the 30th anniversary of vocalist Sabina Classen joining the band - and ending one year later. The band’s self-cover album, 30th-Year Anniversary - In The Power Of Now double CD, was out that winter. In 2012, Holy Moses parted ways with guitarist Michael Hankel (also in Dew-Scented) and replaced him with Peter "Pete" Geltat (ex-Desilence). Early drummer Herbert Dreger (also in Darxon) died of a heart attack in 2012. Holy Moses’ Redefined Mayhem was out on April 29th, 2014. Olaf Zissel, drummer for Tankard, was admitted to the hospital in August 2015 following a suspected stroke. He was said to be improving. Nonetheless, the drummer wasn’t able to accompany the band to the Summer Breeze and Motocultor Fest festivals in Germany and France. Filling in for him as Gerd Lücking who had previously worked for Tankard as a roadie. With the band again on leave three members spent time in Klonque.
Atomic Fire, which was related to Nuclear Blast, issued the band’s return album Invisible Queen in 2023. It was preceded by the video for the title track. The band’s line-up had surprisingly persisted from the previous record. Holy Moses was booked at a number of European festivals including Hellfest and Eindhoven. The’ farewell album Invisible Queen entered the German charts at position No. 14.
HOLY MOSES - STRENGTH, POWER, WILL, PASSION - CRASH
Holy Moses, the veteran German thrash metal act lead by the steadfast Sabina Classen, has signed on to a new record company and issued another album packed with raw and simmering signature savagery. The material ranges from mundane to good, but rarely gets to the point of excellence. The band should be commended for thrashing so hard, a la Kreator or Destruction, after all these years. Having said that, only some of the material is listenable, while songs like Death Bells II or the ever-popular hidden track are just worthless. In the latter case, the band has gotten together with Tom Angelripper of Sodom to perform a German ditty - possibly as a joke - while elsewhere several songs give the listener the feeling that the band is just going through the motions. Holy Moses needs to pick up the pace. Nevertheless, and here is the band's ace, the guitars are occasionally impressive, and that goes for both the leads and the riff. As much as Sabina's barking is a mark of devotion to her extreme music - God knows student Angela Gossow is not doing too badly in the sales sweepstakes - and the sound of thrash is a welcome notion at Metallian Towers on a scale of Strength, Power, Will, Passion Holy Moses probably scores a 2.5 out of 4. - Ali "The Metallian"
HOLY MOSES - AGONY OF DEATH - SPV
I dare say Holy Moses singer and leader Sabina Classen has paid her dues to metal and more. She has lead the band for twenty years, produced and promoted bands via the media and her companies and is now back for more. She was thrashing hard 20 years ago and anyone who knows thrash has or has heard the band’s early albums. Quantity aside, what counts is quality and that is where the surprise lies. Agony Of Death is above average and full of good heavy content. The first notes of Imagination exude a sound and style like Hypocrisy, before the band kicks into some raw thrash metal. This song, Alienation, World In Darkness and what follows are heavy and uncommercial. Holy Moses is not trying to make up for lost time by making itself more sellable. The riffs are strong and kudos goes to returning veteran drummer Atomic Steiff for some powerful drum work. Chunky riffs mix with some odd sequencing and synthesizer samples between songs, but Agony Of Death is a brutal thrash album that no one can deny. There a couple of either buried or hushed guitar lead parts on the album that tell the listener what the guitarists are capable of except, apparently, the savage needs to be emphasized and so these are not given accent. Whether anyone has noticed or not Sabina Classen’s voice is close to Paul Baloff’s early days, which is perhaps not a coincidence given a couple of riffs that remind the listener of Exodus. Unfortunately, despite her standing the vocals are possibly the weakest link here, as has always been the case with the band, coming across as too raspy. The kick-off riff on Dissociative Disorder is pure Bonded By Blood to point one example out. There is Slayer in there too as anyone can hear in the middle of Pseudohalluzination! The album is supposedly a conceptual idea, which explains the less than brilliant sampled voice on Schizophrenia.
Everyone likes to rave about Doro Pesch. She was a sell-out years and years ago. Sabina Classen is a much better representative of metal from Germany. - Anna Tergel