HOLY MOSES – INVISIBLE QUEEN
LABEL: Fireflash Records
RELEASE: April 14th, 2023
AUTHOR: Paul Hutchings
01. Downfall Of Mankind
02. Cult Of The Machine
03. Order Out Of Chaos
04. Invisible Queen
05. Alternative Reality
06. The New Norm
07. Visions In Red
09. Forces Great And Hidden
10. Too Far Gone
12. Through The Veils Of Sleep
Where do you start with a legendary band like HOLY MOSES? Well, as the band begin preparation to bring the curtain down on their phenomenal career with their final album and tour dates, I suppose it makes sense to work with the current material, rather than spending time eulogizing about the band’s importance and history.
But it would be remise not to acknowledge that vocalist Sabina Classen has been at the helm of one of the seminal German thrash outfits for close to 42 years. From those formative days in the early 1980s, their six-year split from 1994 to 2000 and the reformation and re-emergence of the band for the past two decades, there aren’t many who are unfamiliar with at least the band’s name.
Sabina Classen states: “After 42 eventful years and after so many awesome albums, fantastic shows and incredible experiences, the time to write the last chapter of HOLY MOSES has arrived. And we are pleased to see this happen via Fireflash Records with the release of our 12th studio album “Invisible Queen”.”“Invisible Queen” may be their swansong, but it’s also their first album for nine years since 2014’s “Redefined Mayhem”. Although they are badged as a thrash outfit, there’s plenty more to HOLY MOSES than pure, unadulterated thrash metal. “Order Out Of Chaos” for example has those jarring, angular time changes which bands like Voivod have championed, despite the underlying driving groove. It’s a complex, technically progressive sound that HOLY MOSES bring. Soaring lead breaks, melodic passages and breakdowns, alongside more frantic bursts of adrenaline surge through the record. And over it all, CLASSEN snarls and growls her way through it all.
Classen has been the driving force throughout HOLY MOSES’ metal journey and here she demonstrates her endurance, ferocity and devotion with a masterful and typical aggressive performance. Alongside her, the bruising drumming of Gerd Lücking powers the band forward at every increasing levels of intensity. Classen’s tough roar and uncompromising style is key on this album, as she demonstrates that she can still deliver the goods.
The opening salvo is punishing, with a real one-two to the head in the form of “Downfall Of Mankind” and “Cult Of The Machine”. Blisteringly powerful, it’s a double whammy that steps away from thrash and into the death metal camp for several parts. “Alternative Reality” is one of the standout tracks on the album, a real tour de force of aggression, driving thrash metal at its best.
Having said that, there’s not really any decrease in the tempo throughout the album. There’s a real technical quality to the tracks but they still retain a visceral element that threatens to hurt. “Visions In Red” is case in point. A screaming rollercoaster of a ride that slashes with razor sharp riffs, searing lead breaks and of course, a sheer velocity that leaves you breathless at the speed achieved.
Whilst the steamroller effect of “Invisible Queen” is substantiable, the quality of musicianship which underpins this album is immense. Peter Geltat’s guitar work is phenomenal, with little flourishes alongside the showier and driving work. Thomas Neitsch’s pulsing bass lines are essential and come to the fore on tracks like “Forces Great And Hidden”.
Unlike many albums today, “Invisible Queen” is absolute rammed with high level songs. The quality shows no sign of reducing as you reach the final few songs. “Too Far Gone” and “Depersonalised” are as brutal as the opening salvo. It’s a testimony to the band, and this version have been together for over a decade, that they have provided a killer album to go out on. If this is truly the end of HOLY MOSES, then they are going out with all guns blazing. It’s a truly sonically stunning record.