I have been listening to HOLY MOSES for a while, but I have never had the gull to venture too far back into their catalog. I love the more recent albums but the older ones tended to divide the fans in quality so thusly I have been hesitant to dive in. With the release of “Agony Of Death” and its extreme brilliance I have decided to take the plunge into the past. It would only make sense to start at the beginning with HOLY MOSES’ debut album, “Queen Of Siam”.
What I discovered on their 1986 debut record shocked me quite a bit. This does not sound like the HOLY MOSES one is going to come across now. The band’s influences are up in the front and although one can hear a lot of the things that made this such a break-through album, the band doesn’t show just how unique they truly are. One can easily pull out the MOTORHEAD, BLACK SABBATH, and VENOM from the music and fans of any of those bands are going to find a lot to enjoy on the album. Despite the Thrash Metal monsters that they have become, HOLY MOSES isn’t the technical and speed demons that they would become on this. Many of the riffs are more or less mid-tempo and many of the songs structures and extensions tend to wander towards the like of the before mentioned bands.
“Queen Of Siam” is still a solid record despite the overall lack of uniqueness. Luckily, the album isn’t a complete rehash of their influences and there are many qualities to love about it. Firstly, there is Sabina Classen on the vocals. Her snarling growls and shrieks would give some of the best male Thrash vocalists a startle and “Queen Of Siam” is no different. Although she tends to be pushed back in the production and mix a bit more then I would have liked, she throws herself out on the release and she is by far the highlight of the record. She is quickly followed by her then husband, Andy Classen. His riffing may be somewhat of the mid-tempo Thrash variety for the most part but the small solo breaks and leads seemed to be perfectly placed and played allowing listeners to sample the great work he would later create.
The chemistry of HOLY MOSES on this debut effort is a positive for the band too. They work well together and they all seem to fit and shift in almost perfect unison, but it’s the relative youth of the band at the time and their slightly ‘homage’ like writing that waters down their true talents. It’s a starting point for the band, but “Queen Of Siam” would only hint at the better things to come in the future.
Songs to check out: “Don’t Mess Around With The Bitch”, “Queen Of Siam”, “Walpurgisnight”.
(Online March 18, 2009)