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There's a Dutch saying that says that every beginning is difficult. And there is of course a lot of wisdom in those words. While Holy Moses grew out to be one of my absolute favorite bands in the years to follow, their debut 'Queen Of Siam' wasn't all that impressive. Most notable about this album was the lead singer, a woman named Sabina Classen. She still is today, by the way. At a time that females in Metal bands were highly unusual, her vocals could be found somewhere in the middle between Celtic Frost's Tom G. Warrior and Motörhead's Lemmy.
Musically, that comparison is quite fitting too. Holy Moses is quite obviously aiming at a Thrash audience, but the playing and production are a bit too sloppy to be interesting for a Thrash audience. Once again, that goes for this album. Sabina Classen still sounds a bit weird and her then husband Andy Classen is still far from the skilled rhythm guitarist he would turn out to be later. Venom seems like an obvious reference on 'Queen Of Siam'.
However, the album starts quite okay. 'Necropolis' is quite a good song with a nice structure. It builds up nicely and Andy Classen's lead fills are pretty cool. It's still nothing special when you compare it to the band's later work, but on its own, it's not bad.
And there are more songs of that level on the album. 'Devil Dancer' and the title track ain't bad at all, I just think Sabina doesn't sound as sincere and inspired as later on in Holy Moses' carreer on this album. Most notably, this is on 'Don't Mess Around With The Bitch', which is, in my opnion, a horrible track. The playing is sloppy, the structure a mess and the vocals leave a bad taste in my mouth. Therefore, the first half of the album leaves an impression on me that is nothing more than "okay".
But just when you decide to put off the album, there's some stuff that sounds pretty good. 'Roadcrew' is a track which is sung by Andy Classen and he does that quite well. If you don't know the re-recorded version on 'Finished With The Dogs', which is far superior over this one, you'll probably enjoy that one. The title kind of betrays a little Motörhead influence and I don't think the band is ashamed of that. Very funny are the lyrics in the booklet, which are spelled in phonetical German.
'Walpurgisnight' is once again not bad at all, I hear a little Iron Maiden in the structure of the song. Same goes for the following 'Bursting Rest'. While 'Dear Little Friend', in my humble opinion the highlight of the album, is a NWOBHM party itself. Quite positive lyrics, which may be something people frown upon, but it's good. Very good. I'd like to hear this one live or re-recorded someday. Andy does some nice lead work on this track as well. Which also goes for the following closer 'Torches For Hire', which is an instrumental frenzy in the 'Transsylvania'/'Genghis Khan' style. I like it a lot! It's a nice way to close an album which stands on the border of mediocrity furthermore.
On the 2005 re-release, you will also find the 'Walpurgisnight'-demo tape. The demo was recorded with one microphone on tape in the rehearsal room, which results in a terrible sound quality. It's fun to have for the fanatic Holy Moses fan, but it makes the overall quality of the CD worse rather than better.
Concluding, I'd like to say that even though this started the carreer of Holy Moses, this is probalby not the right one to begin with if you want to know what the band is all about. Even though all the albums sound a little different, this one is not really representative of what the German Thrashers are about. True fans might find something of their liking here. People who are looking for quality Metal could better try 'The New Machine Of Liechtenstein' or 'Finished With The Dogs' first.