Release DetailsLABEL Crash Music
RELEASED ON 5/23/2005
Strength Power Will Passion
posted on 10/2005 By:
HOLY SHIT - I was not expecting that voice! So much venom one couldn’t walk into the jungles of Brazil and come out a year later having collected the amount of vocal poison recorded here. Color me stunned, but I wasn’t aware of the fact that there were any female thrash vocalists in the 80s. Sabina Classen of the German speed metal maniacs Holy Moses has proven me not only wrong, but incredibly ignorant, too, as she established a foothold that has allowed women like Christina Scabbia of Lacuna Coil and Angela Gossow of Arch Enemy to revel in success without excessively harsh criticism. I don’t want to turn this review into a rant centered on my own ignorance to the fact, but I feel compelled to make readers aware that long before Gossow there were strong women vocalists fighting ignorance and the assumption that women couldn’t be convincingly intimidating on stage. All it takes is one listen to Classen’s harsh vocals to conclude that she competes, and, in most cases, surpasses her male peers in terms of creating an intensely maniacal atmosphere with her voice. Strength Power Will Passion is the group’s ninth release and the first without any assistance from what was their chief songwriter for most of their recording career, Andy Classen, who quit the band eleven years ago. Not exactly the ideal situation for recording an album, the scene set in 2005 could have led to any band folding, or at the very least releasing total crap and calling it a day. Many a group has quit under far less struggle. Not so for Holy Moses. Twelve tracks and over an hour deep, this album is as fine as any in their collection and any thrash fan worthy of the title should go out and buy this with absolutely no reservation. Guitarist Michael Hankel picked up where Andy Classen left off, and is clearly a capable successor. People complain all the time about albums being “too predictable,” but the most common complaint I express would be that albums are far too unpredictable. Perhaps I am just in the process of joining that dude who quit making loads of green with Korn to submerge himself in a dirty river somewhere in the Middle East, but I prefer to know that when I put down 15 or so dollars it’s going to result in my ears being entertained rather than hijacked for a while. Sure, pursuing the unpredictable can lead to surprising reward every once in a great while, but it usually results in something like Opeth’s Ghost Reveries; lukewarm and ultimately unsatisfying material when compared to the group’s back catalogue. And in no way does Holy Moses stray from the more intense and frenzied brand of speed/thrash metal it has concocted in the past. Album opener “Angel Cry” is a case in point. Lightning fast and almost claustrophobic in feel, the song builds and destroys itself multiple times, only to begin anew faster and faster. The chorus acts as the cherry on top. Angela Gossow eat your heart out.
One of the more important elements to any thrash album is its guitar tone. Too warm and it usually sounds weak (Annihilator’s All for You comes to mind). Too cold and it sounds distant. The sound achieved here by guitarists Hankel and Franky Brotz is neither. It doesn’t sound exactly fuzzy, but it does have that late 80s Anthrax sound that I love. The sound lends itself to melody without being too sweet as to render it incapable of multiple spins without boredom setting in somewhere along the line. With some albums it’s easy as hell to go down the list and name a few of its more stellar tracks. Those are usually the weaker ones, by the way. Finding gems worthy of standing out among the rest on Strength Power Will Passion isn’t impossible, but it’s somewhere between pretty damn hard and the probability of Tom Cruise and Katie Holmes’ baby turning out sane. In other words, it will be one hell of a struggle, but I’ll do it for you dear readers. The second track, “End of Time,” is definitely up there. It’s one of the faster songs of the twelve and chock-full of must-headbang moments. Classen growls, shrieks and sings with a conviction only a truly pissed off woman could possess, and the riffs really shine, especially around the 2:30 mark, where they’re allowed to be brought to the forefront in isolation. “Space Clearing” is one of the slower songs, but its pace hardly hinders it from kicking your undeserving ass. When the song slows to a near halt for the chorus, Classen’s voice is all the more powerful. Upon the chorus’s completion, Hankel and Botz pick things up and take the song in a more playful direction, and three minutes into it there’s an awesome speed metal solo that, while not jaw dropping, is certainly worthy of some praise. The rest of the album is solid as well, and I don’t want to leave this review without having stated that Strength Power Will Passion is the most error-free thrash album of 2005. Sure, it’s not as interesting as Exodus’s Shovel Headed Kill Machine, but it also doesn’t have anything worth skipping. Not many albums pass through the overly sensitive ears of the MetalReview writer without being puked, spat, or shat upon in some way, so this will be something of a record breaker here. You owe it to yourself to do whatever you can to buy this record. I don’t care if you’re a broke ten year old whose sole concern in life is whether or not Jimmy the Bully is going to steal your peanut butter and jelly sandwich. Lift up the bottom cushions of the family couch and start collecting some coins, because you’re going to need this one, especially after hearing the rest of what 2005 has to offer.
Register to post comments.