Wednesday, February 9, 2011

Holy Moses - Reborn Dogs (1992)

I'd be lying if I said that the title of Holy Moses' sixth full-length album, Reborn Dogs, was not a cause for excitement. Obviously, this is because I thought the band would be returning to the eminent propulsion and savagery that fueled their 1987 masterpiece, Finished With the Dogs. To an extent, that is precisely the idea that the German band seem to be toying with. This is some fairly aggressive thrash metal, with Sabina Classen's continued brutality up front, but the issue I took with Reborn Dogs is that for all the authenticity and good intentions, the material written here just falls short of my expectations. It's not as dark and gloomy as the previous album Terminal Terror, and a step down in many ways.

Really, it comes down to the riffs, which on Reborn Dogs consist of a slew of entirely generic fare that might have been more effective in the middle of the preceding decade. They're pissed off enough, especially with Classen performing in her death/thrash tone, but until you get pretty deep in the track list, they all spin into one ear and spurt right out the other. The thick bass and the punchy tone are just not enough to salvage tracks like "Decapitated Mind", "Welcome to the Real World", nor even the hammering juggernaut plainly labeled "Fuck You", which is the best song on the first half of the album, despite the predictable and forgettable chorus. After a spell, the guitars begin to pick up slightly in quality, namely on the driving cover of D.R.I.'s "Five Year Plan" or the closer, "Dancing With the Dead", with its doomed intro, but I wouldn't select either if I were picking through the band's career heights.

It's a shame, because everything else here is in place for the band to have another hit on their hands, except the inspiring music. I'll give Holy Moses some credit: while many other artists were exploring far and wide by 1992, this band was remaining straight on thrash. They had already had some minute experimentation, of course, but largely in the breadth and tone of what they were writing. Reborn Dogs, in title, might just have been a statement of the band's commitment to remaining honest to the genre that birthed them, but aside from the base level ability to get the head banging, and one of the more punishing emissions of energy the band has to this date, the bland notation accounts for it being the least interesting album since their debut.

Verdict: Indifference [6.75/10] (my world I returned to me)

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