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Queen Sabina - 74%

Felix 1666, April 26th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1986, 12" vinyl, Aaarrg Records

Everyone is replaceable. This is not only the motto of every human resources manager. It also guided Holy Moses through the decades. Hundreds of musicians came and went, even Sabina took a break; she did not contribute to "No Matter What's the Cause". Yet now we are in the mid-eighties and the capricious career of Holy Moses cannot be foreseen. The Berlin Wall is still standing, Chernobyl sends nuclear greetings and nobody has ever heard the word "internet". I am still 17 years old and don't have a clue. Today I am 47 years old and still don't have a clue. Tremendous development!

Unlike the equally enthusiastic but pretty amateurish competitors, Holy Moses were kings of self-marketing. In order to appear very dangerous, they addressed to the Metal Hammer and every fanzine slightly carbonized letters with their promotion material. Bombastic idea. Furthermore, they called their music black metal, although this kind of metal was already sidelined by the exploding thrash movement. Anyway, the debut was located at the interface of black and thrash metal, but the latter retained the upper hand. Nevertheless, Holy Moses did not serve Bay Area influenced thrash like Destruction and unlike early Kreator or Sodom, they also did not play the poltergeist of rumbling metal. Their metallic hybrid could not be easily compared with other albums of this time, and Sabina's female vocals were not the only reason for the band's high degree of individuality. Did I say female vocals? We could not believe that a girl caused such a demonic noise. The utterly uncouth style of Sabina led to the conclusion that masculinity and femininity were closer to each other than we had ever thought before. Sabina made us forget the forced squeaking of Doro or Girlschool's polished chirping on "Play Dirty". Her style was innovative and became one of the few innovations I really appreciate.

The newcomers presented tracks that commuted between extremely slow-moving rhythms ("Don't Mess Around with the Bitch"), mid-tempo ("Devil's Dancer") and high velocity ("Necropolis"). Holy Moses worked cleverly so that each and every tempo had its own charm. The atmosphere was also varying. To make it more concrete, let's come back to the aforementioned songs. "Necropolis" had an unholy aura and represented the black side of the band, while the track about the bitch thrived on its shabbiness. Irrespective of the Motörhead cover (with an animalistic performance of Sabina), the variety of the song configurations made it difficult to figure out obvious influences of the band. Maybe we can agree on the lowest common denominator that they released one of the first black thrash works. But do not draw hasty conclusions, its aura was not comparable with that of the debut of Iron Angel, another German black thrash band of the pioneering days. Anyway, the overall impression of "Queen of Siam" did not lack of coherence and worked as a whole, although the production was anything else but flawless - just listen to the creaking guitar sound.

Frankly speaking, some tracks did not deliver fascinating moments in abundance. For example, the title track scored with a good solo, but the other parts failed to convince. "Walpurgisnight" was the highlight of a solid B side, because its stormy riffing and the Sodom-esque chorus ("Witch bitch") left its mark. However, the band did not annoy us with half-baked tracks. All songs achieved a solid level. Hence the first step was made. Okay, a clear direction was not yet defined. But this was and is no big problem. I know this situation since 47 years.