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Sometime around the release of 'Disorder Of The Order', Holy Moses announced that Andy Classen would quit his work with the band. The man behind almost all of Holy Moses' compositions was too busy with his studio and couldn't fully concentrate on Holy Moses anymore. Luckily, the band found a new guitarist who could also write songs, by the name of Michael Hankel. Hankel used to be in the German Hardcore band Erosion. Sabina Classen seemed quite convinced of his qualities as a songwriter and was very positive about the album. Many people, including myself, were quite uncertain what to expect from a Holy Moses without Andy Classen. Maybe this new guy is in deed good, but can't live up to his brilliant predecessor?
Those worries were all unnecessary. I should have known that I could trust Sabina. While not keeping up to the exceptionally high level of a few songs for the entire album, 'Strength, Power, Will, Passion' shows a band that is worthy of existing in this day and age. Michael Hankel has written a couple of absolute killer tracks and Sabina Classen is once again in optima forma.
While opening track 'Angel Cry' is pretty good, the all-on Thrash fest starts during the second song, 'End Of Time'. My god, that's such a great song! The opening riff only is enough to proof that Michael Hankel is in deed a kick-ass songwriter. Not to forget about his abilities as a guitarist! 'End Of Time' is a killer track which combines the vibe of "old school Holy Moses" with a slightly modern approach, mostly remniscent of Arch Enemy in their fastest and heaviest moments. Absolutely killer!
Another song in that vein is 'I Will'. The opening riff is once again a fast, heavy and precise one in the Andy Classen-style. The backing vocals are also pretty much Andy-style and that makes this song good enough to fit between any Holy Moses classic from the past.
Between the two aforementioned songs, there are two extremely cool midtempo tracks, 'Symbol Of The Spirit' and 'Examination', which aren't really similar to anything Holy Moses has ever done before. Michael Hankel seems to experiment with twin guitars much more than Andy Classen and that adds a great depth to those two songs, which are both amazing.
'Death Bells II' is the continuing saga of a Holy Moses track from way, way back. Since it never appeared on an album, I don't know if it's really the lyrical continuation of that song, but it's a really cool song with really catchy hooks. Never thought I could ever say that of a grunted song, but the "I will beat you down"-parts are just plain cool to shout along to! Some killer riffing by mr. Hankel here as well!
The rest of the album is of slightly less quality than the aforementioned tracks, but some songs, like 'Sacred Crystals', 'Lost Inside' and 'Say Goodbye' are good enough to please any current day Thrasher. Only the hidden track after the long silence following 'Say Goodbye' is a complete dud moment. A shit song in German by Sabina with Tom Angelripper. Luckily I have already turned off the record or restarted it at that time.
'Strength, Power, Will, Passion' is once again a quality Thrash Metal record like we are used to from Holy Moses. This is the proof that Michael Hankel is just as good as Andy Classen, on guitars as well as on composing. This is the proof that Holy Moses can fully function without Andy Classen. And I have the full faith in Michael and Sabina that the next album will be even better! Kudos for the album title by the way!