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Holy Moses – Agony of Death

Label: Wacken Records
Format: CD
Released: 2008
Reviewed By: Kevin Alba

Holy Moses are certainly no strangers to heavy metal as they have been around since 1979. They are however strangers to my ears as I have not heard this band until now, shame on me. Dio once told me “Don’t Talk to Strangers” but I am afraid in this case that I am going to have to disobey the metal master as Holy Moses is kicking my ass and I cannot stay quiet much longer. I did some homework on the band and have realized that Sabina Classen has been doing the brutal female vocals long before Arch Enemy vocalist Angela Glasgow and that Holy Moses were “Too Drunk to Fuck” long before Buckcherry made it a popular song title. I can’t tell you too much about their past as I am not familiar with it but I can tell you that “Agony of Death” is a monster and one of the most crushing albums I have heard all year alongside new offerings from Testament and Destruction.

“Agony of Death” opens with the calm intro “Imagination”, in which keyboards are provided by Ferdy Doernberg from Axel Rudi Pell, with what follows sending you into a complete frenzy. A vision of circle pits and long hair flying in every direction with a total adrenaline rush is what I experienced as I listened to this track. Something I noticed early on in the album is that from song to song there is no complete stop as each song ends with a passage of music or sounds leading you into the next track sort of like the slow plateau of a roller coaster before it hits its next fall or loop of insanity. I was most blown away with “Pseudohalluzination” as it starts off with this insane build up, featuring amazing drum work, getting the listener ready for a complete thrash metal blizzard. Once the song kicked in I literally felt like I got hit by a train. This beast is so heavy that I imagined a 90 year old woman hearing it and throwing her walker aside so she can start moshing throughout her nursing home, hitting everyone in sight. The rest of the album is brutal and relentless as the mayhem carries on.

The album feels a little long at times and I think would be a bit stronger if perhaps it was a little shorter. When certain songs pass the five minute mark it makes you wonder where exactly it is going as it could have ended a little sooner and been just fine. Also, while there is a lot of excellent song arrangements and blazing solos the choruses at times throughout fall a bit flat as I expect them to pack a little more punch than they do.

“Agony Of Death” has quite the lineup of guest appearances including; Trevor Peres from Obituary, Ralph Santolla from Obituary and Deicide, the above Ferdy Doernberg from Axel Rudi Pell, Henning Basse from Metallium, and the man, the myth, the legend Schmier from Destruction. While Holy Moses has left a very good first impression with me I cannot quite put them in league with Destruction, Kreator, or Sodom (the Thrash Big Three from Germany) though I have a lot of backtracking to do with these guys (and gal). If you like your thrash along the lines of the above mentioned bands as well as Testament and Exodus with a very extreme vocal at times bordering death you will definitely enjoy this band. “Agony of Death” is a very solid release and Holy Moses has earned themselves a new fan. I look forward to getting more acquainted with their material and hopefully finding some gems to mention alongside Destruction’s “Eternal Devastation”, Kreator’s “Pleasure to Kill”, and “Agent Orange” from Sodom. If you do not know of these three album titles I just mentioned, take a hike.

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