HOLY MOSES - Teutonic Mayhem

May 30, 2014, 7 years ago

By Kelley Simms

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German thrashers Holy Moses have consistently forged an impressive three-decade career. Led by vocalist Sabina Classen, the band is progenitors of the underground German thrash movement. A then young Ms Hirtz joined the band a year after its 1980 formation, soon marrying then-guitarist-turned-producer, Andy Classen, forging the first married couple in thrash metal history. Holy Moses emerged before Teutonic legends Sodom, Destruction and Kreator were barely in their infant stages. Although 1989’s The New Machine Of Liechtenstein is considered to be the band’s pinnacle moment, Holy Moses experienced a few musical hiccups during the ’90s. However, on its 12th release, Redefined Mayhem (released April 29th), the band is back on track. Joining Ms. Classen on Redefined Mayhem is guitarist Peter Geltat, bassist Thomas Neitsch and drummer Gerd Lücking. As Sabina explains, Holy Moses’ longevity can be chalked up to the fact that the band is more than just a job, but a way of life.

“I think because it’s really something that is coming from our souls,” Sabina said. “We’re also doing other jobs and we never need to only live from the music. So I think we can be really free with what we are doing. I think this has kept us going as a band for 33 years because it goes deeper than just a job. Because we love to do it. Music is like a therapy for me. It’s my kind of sport. It is my life, but it’s not a job. We are in the underground, so a lot of people would give up because they maybe weren’t as successful to earn enough money. But for us, it was not important.”

Redefined Mayhem blends the band’s older elements with some newer technicality and modern production qualities. It’s classic Holy Moses. Barring a few hiccups in the ’90s, the band has remained musically consistent throughout its existence, even with its numerous lineup changes.

“For us, it’s just the music we want to do,” Thomas said. “It’s not that we think that we have to do a thrash album or we have to play thrash music. It’s really just the music we want to do. We wanted to make an album that’s more technical and reminds you of the more technical stuff from the 80s. But it also has to have a better sound, or modern sound. The new album is the result of this.”

Sabina concurs.

“I think we let our heart blood flow into it. The guys wrote music we really dig and that is exactly right for Holy Moses. With our kind of dimension, Holy Moses never copied itself. It was always to do what is right now in our blood. The New Machine Of Liechtenstein was complete Holy Moses because it was a mix between all kinds of thrash genre stuff but included really highly technical stuff. For me, this was possible with Thomas, Pete and Gerd and the band right now. So this is really a typical Holy Moses album, but with team work, it really completed everything that Holy Moses means to us.”

Redefined Mayhem is a fitting album title, as the band has created a new chapter within its existence. The newest lineup, consisting of bassist Thomas Neitsch and guitarist Peter Geltat, has injected some new enthusiasm into the band.

“That was the time Holy Moses was working on the Agony Of Death album,” Thomas said. “They wanted to do an album with two guitarists, so they needed a new bass player because the old bass player also played guitar. Sabina asked me if I wanted to play in the band and it was cool that she asked me to join the band. My background is in thrash metal but I think I’m the next generation in thrash. Peter and I for example, were born in 1981, so we are as old as the band is!“ Thomas said with laughter.

Sabina added her own theory about the current band lineup ...

“I came into the band in ’81, and we had a lot of changes,” Sabina said. “But now in 2014, there’s a new Holy Moses and please accept the new guys. We don’t want to change musicians again. We are what we are now. This is a new start. It’s still Holy Moses, but it’s Holy Moses 2014. We have a lot of young fans and maybe they are not so much interested in what we did 30 years ago when they were maybe not born. So they should see the Holy Moses in 2014 and this was really important for us. This was also the reason for the first time to bring Moses onto the cover. He is bringing 10 new rules to the world and this is also the reason why we call us a redefined band. We start new with this sound of what Holy Moses is, but please accept that this is Holy Moses 2014. This is really important to Thomas, Pete and Gerd, to show the people, please accept Holy Moses as we are now.”

Redefined Mayhem was produced by Thomas, which was also recorded in the comfort of the band’s own studio. This relaxed environment made the recording process extremely rewarding.

“It’s very comfortable to play in your own studio because you have time to try out a lot of ideas,” Thomas said. “We worked very long on everything and we wanted to do it because we felt that we needed the time to make the album as perfect as we wanted or what we think that it needed. For me it was a hard job. It’s not easy to be the bass player on one hand and the producer on the other. But it was a very fun job too and we had a lot of fun. I think with the next album, we will make it the same way.”

Holy Moses has never played in North America, but Ms. Classen is enthusiastically hopeful that the band will be able to make it over to play some songs off the new album.

“Two years ago we played the Barge to Hell cruise from Miami to Bahamas and back, and we made a lot of contacts. We really are working on a North American tour. It’s always hard because we have to pay a lot of money for a work visa. But there’s one who is totally behind Holy Moses when we met him on the festival cruise. He is now working with our booking agent on dates for North America. Hopefully we will make it at the end of 2014. It will be the first time doing this kind of tour for Holy Moses, and we really hope that will happen. People really have to see Holy Moses back (on stage). We weren’t doing anything for six years before the new album. We’re not touring for weeks or six weeks (at a time) because we all have families and other jobs. It should be a really good time for us.”

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