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The "Master of Disaster" EP was a first timid sign, "Disorder of the Order" left no doubt: Holy Moses were back after a lot of twists and turns. Misfortune or inability, the career of the band had come to a dead end. Well, it is disputable to talk about "the band", because this wording indicates an unvarying unit. In fact, the new line-up did not have an overlap with that of "No Matter What's the Cause". However, Sabina, the incarnate identification symbol of Holy Moses, was responsible again for the lead vocals and this alone made some heads bang faster. Even more important, the crude mixture of hardcore, punk and metal which had characterised the last full-length was a thing of the past.
Holy Moses had rediscovered the glory of thrash metal. The programmatic "We Are at War" and the title track sent nasty greetings to the past without sounding outmoded. The latter stood out due to its special feature, a fragile melody line that gave the song a somewhat hopeless flair. One did not need to have a very fine instinct for heavy metal in order to know that this return was based on authenticity and credibility. Commercial aspects were not identifiable and the stylistic recollection seemed to come from the heart. Nevertheless, Holy Moses did not hesitate to face the challenge of releasing a contemporary work. The slightly mouldy taste of their debut was missing and the same went for the hardcore vibes of "Finished with the Dogs". Holy Moses raised the flag of pure thrash, only Sabina's voice was as ugly as ever. Okay, the band did not focus on sharp riffs and technical delicacies. Fine intermediate shades or filigree melodies did not show up. Despite its more or less differentiated and modern production, "Disorder of the Order" featured vehement, more or less rumbling thrash. Although some ideas did not work (the German lyrics of "Verfolgungswahn" were absolutely terrible and the artwork caused an epileptic seizure), the album proved that Sabina's horde was still or again a relevant factor in their segment.
Unlike "No Matter What's the Cause", the here presented work offered a handful of songs which were worth listening to. "1.000 Lies", rather slow-moving than overly furious, drew the listener deeper and deeper into the abyss of desperation and desolation. Its mighty guitar work and the flattening chorus left no chance for escape. Speaking of "deeper": the eponymous song also provided a hopeless aura. The abrasive guitars had the effect of demoralizing stitches. Surprising enough, a third piece did not focus on speed. "I Bleed" scored with its casual riffs, although the primitive chorus did not show a milestone of creativity. But all in all, and this was the main thing, Holy Moses avoided stylistic or compositional absurdities. At the end of the day, "Disorder of the Order" brought Holy Moses back to life and Sabina's return was a value in itself. Roaring and foaming at the mouth, she regained her territory in the universe of Holy Moses. From today's perspective, the song material cannot fully convince, but you get a solid work when buying this album.
The Master of Disaster EP displayed a returned, reinvigorated Holy Moses with a fresh line-up, but the true test would come with the first planned full-length, Disorder of the Order, which came out the following year, once more through Century Media. Once again we've got a heroine on the cover, fighting demons in a cheesy comic book motif, but at least this album image doesn't seem as self-aggrandizing as the following two. What's better, this is easily the most exciting Holy Moses material during the 'second wind' of their career (i.e. the 21st century), and it brings back a lot of the crisp, barbaric riffing of their classic Finished with the Dogs, flavored with some curious mid-paced tracks that mix rock and thrash to interesting effects.
If you were keen on Master of Disaster, then this is a direct continuation of that sound, but with better overall writing. The highlights are clearly the faster paced pieces like the impressive and filthy blitz of "We Are At War" and "Break the Evil", or the more measured, tempo shifting "Hell On Earth". All of these feature tight riffs and reckless speed circa "Current of Death", and even if they don't quite match that level of sporadic memory punching, they're far better than almost anything the band had released since the 80s. Then there are the more unusual tracks, like the slow-moving groove/thrash of the title track, with gang shouts and some interesting spikes of bouncing guitar melody that tie them together; "Deeper" with its subtle synthesizer atmosphere and roiling, chugging sequences carried along at a march-like pace; or "1000" which features crashing melodic walls of guitar and rock chords. Inevitably, there are some that fall between these two poles, in particular "I Bleed" which features some of Sabina's best vocals on the album.
Of course, they're not all diamonds, and my attention seems to always dive near the end of the album. Not that the final four tracks are necessarily bad, but they're not as exciting, and might have been clipped to preserve the dignity and roundedness of the rest. The tribute to the Big Three in "Blood Bond" is quite a nice tough, but it also seems a little haughty to include this band in the 'Holy Kreator of Destructive Sodomy'. I mean, where's Tankard? And while I truly love Finished with the Dogs, more so than anything Sodom ever released, I severely doubt that this band ever had the same impact as those others. But regardless, this track isn't bad and the lyrics aren't at all what I had feared (most of the lyrics are decent). Sabina turns in a fine performance throughout, mixing her early death grunts and rasped adaptations, and the band blazes along as if they were old hands at this style. Sadly, this is the last album Andy Classen would be involved in (songwriting and some guitars), but at the very least he left his alma mater with a bang.
When Holy Moses returned to the scene in the early 21st century, I'm sure they wacked everyone in the face with their EP 'Master Of Disaster'. But no one was sure what to expect from a full length album. Especially when long time guitarist and composer Andy Classen announced he would still write and play guitar on the album, but no longer be an official member of the band. Some people thought that he would rush this album. All worries were in vein. 'Disorder Of The Order' was every bit as good as 'Master Of Disaster'.
So what you're getting is quite simple: Thrash Metal. It seems like Sabina Classen is once again as angry as she was back in the days of 'Finished With The Dogs'. She deserves a lot of respect. It was her entusiasm and her devotion that kept Holy Moses alive through the years. The lady is more Thrash than any Thrash influenced Metalcore kid will ever be. It's hard to find a more devoted Thrash fan nowadays!
Though the album is of a constant high level, the absolute highlight is its opening track. After an atmospheric intro 'We Are At War' starts and that one just has all the aspects that a Holy Moses classic needs. It starts out with a fast, precise and kick-ass guitar riff, has some midtempo parts throughout the song and on top of that, there's Sabina Classen, screaming, shouting and grunting out all of her frustrations. It's a vicious Thrasher which is nothing worse than any track on 'Finished With The Dogs'. A special mention goes out to the absolutely killer guitar solo near the end of the song, there's a little wah on it, just enough to give it a classic Thrash feel. Love it, love it, love it.
The rest of the album consists of killer fast-paced songs, such as 'Break The Evil', which breaks all boundaries of speed, 'Hell On Earth' and 'Blood Bond' on one side, more evil, creeping midtempo Thrashers such as 'Deeper' and 'I Bleed' (two highlights, I like them a lot in this style) on another and on yet another slightly more melodic, catchy midtempo stompers such as '1000 Lies' or the title track.
A song which has raised a lot of eyebrows is the song 'Verfolgungswahn'. This song in native German is definitely a standout track, though some people will explain that negatively and some positively. I'm definitely one of the latter. It's got quite a different beat than many other Holy Moses tracks and it might sound a little monotonous upon first listen, but I suggest you let it sink in a little. To me, it's a special track because it's different. I like it a lot. There's a nice guitar lead and the drum work is exceptionally good. Plus, it's catchy as hell!
Fact is that with 'Disorder Of The Order', Holy Moses continues their legacy of quality Euro Thrash. People who claim that the newer material doesn't live up to 'Finished With The Dogs' are people I consider crazy. In fact, I think that what they do now is even better than what they did in the eighties, excluding their masterpeace 'The New Machine Of Liechtenstein' of course. But 'Disorder Of The Order' is pretty damn close to the quality level of 'The New Machine...'.