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In the 80's there was a few prolific metal bands fronted by women; Warlock, Lita Ford, Heart and then there was Holy Moses. Finished with the Dogs was their follow up album to their 1986 debut Queen of Siam once again on Aarrgh records and more recently re-released (in August 2005 with touched up art, added liner notes etc on Armageddon with 4 bonus live trax from FWTD recorded earlier this year). Holy Moses were signed to Warners shortly after this release but that was an ill fated union possibly based more on the fact Sabina hosted the popular “Mosh” video show than on the merit of the band. Whatever the motivating reasons of executives, what we have here and now, is salivating German thrash metal with strong punk undertones as was common at this time - raw, brutal, neck breaking metal.
Unfortunately the name Holy Moses faded in time as their success waned, this album proved to be their strongest and one of those highly influential thrash opuses that is oft overlooked. At the time of release it was a revered onslaught that challenged the now "celebrated" German thrash stars. Like all thrash, it was never their intention to deliver
anything other than just that, some thrashing tunes. However, they did offer something totally unusual and unheard of at that time – Sabina Classen.
As I mentioned earlier, women fronting metal acts was not uncommon but with a woman delivering bloody hoarse death metal poison plus throw in some insane screaming and wailing to boot, you've got originality in 1987. Simply put this record owned back in its day; of course in 2005 this style is a little dated (note: I am reviewing the original release
NOT the re-release which apparently received a good work over in Castle Studios). Let alone the fact that this band was almost forgotten in the ceaseless barrage of entries of new bands all playing faster and tighter than ever before.
Remarkably, you will discover after all these years that Holy Moses still sound every bit as rabid and relevant as before, the thrash faithful should rightfully eat this up. Sabina's metal comrades efforts are every bit as crucial as her own with Uli Kusch (who would one day join Gamma Ray) on drums battering his kit intently between Andy Classen (Sabina's hubby, not her brother as many originally thought) destruction of the fretboard, while Andre Chapelier (who only appeared on this album) inserted the spine of Moses with his bass work with many stand out moments.
Finished with the Dogs: no fucking gay intros just straight into the thrash, with a million words a second punk chorus, Sabina sounds totally sick, innards getting split and playing off the male group shouts of “dogs”, “fear” etc.
Current of Death - very somewhat technical death thrashing piece that also screams punk, the violent melody sticks in your head along with the chorus - Current of Death!
Fortress of Desperation - sporting an extraordinarily doom laden riff (think Sodoms darkest moments) chugging and chipping away at the depths of your spirit, backed with brooding bass guitar accentuated by some clean snare hits that slowly squeeze the life out of you – the title speaks a thousand words. Fortress starts with some spoken word and evil laughing before Sabina kicks in with the main verses.
Six Fat Women - incites a moshing response with the guitars grooving away before the double bass lunges forward pushing us headlong into crazyland and people start jumping off the stage! SFW has a wailing guitar solo and is studded with a catchy chorus that will stick in your head like a piece of shrapnel, sharp, bloody and excruciatingly painful.
Rest in Pain – a seriously bluesy riff in here dripping with Classen cool and whispered vocals until the speed metal chorus kicks in, RiP proceeds to get even more thrashier.
Corroded Dreams – awesome string off thrash riffs that build and break into the one that makes you run to the front of the stage, bang your head and/or fist (you know the one that after a few bars the ride cymbal starts ringing away guaranteed to induce moshing mania).
Military Service - fairly brisk piece song (not as short as Current of Deaths lean 2.32min) and opening with riff capable of making even Destruction green, its used to great effect a number of times throughout the song and a dive bombed guitar solo that’s more about making you smile than being a show pony (Andy was later to be highly sought after producer).
So there you have it, Holy Moses; another German outfit in a roller coaster of excitement that exponentially holds some killer cuts for those who're interested delving a little deeper into the archive of thrash metals heyday, beyond the familiar classics. Fans of Arch Enemy or Opera IX (1992-2001 era with Cadaveria at the helm) might be interested in checking out this pioneering female death act although Holy Moses would share more common ground with the rawness of Opera IX than the polished sound of AE but don't expect much more similarities between them.
That said Finished with the Dogs is Holy Moses crowning moment if you only hear one Holy Moses record make sure it's this one. FWTD is up with Kreator's "Pleasure to Kill" or Sodom's "Persecution Mania" rest in pain!