Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Holy Moses - Terminal Terror (1991)

I've got to give the Classens credit for Terminal Terror: where it lacks in the absolute ferocity of their legendary Finished with the Dogs, it at least represents the same nihilistic outlook, the same vicious end-times tone. I had been a little worried by their prior effort World Chaos, which had not been a bad album, but seemed to exhibit some turns towards clownish bravado through the use of the cover tunes there and the general polished punk atmosphere to the production. Terminal Terror is far more dour and apocalyptic, and even though the majority of the tracks suffer from some less than inspiring riffs, there are a number that simply kicked my ass in, and Sabina Classen gives what must be her most 'death metal' vocal performance, sounding like an estrogen charged John Tardy or Chuck Schuldiner, only a mere exaggeration of the slurry of savagery she previously brought to fore.

There are a number of explosions here, namely "Nothing for my mum" with its blistering feel of Destruction w/death metal vocals, and "Pool of Blood" which I must admit is probably the band's best individual song outside of Finished with the Dogs: a haunting string section morphs into clinical, monstrous thrashing that leaves naught but carnage in its wake, with a feel not unlike something Vio-Lence had written for their sophomore Oppressing the Masses, Sabina just letting everyone 'have it' like an undead general out of hell, seeking revenge. "Malicious Race" and the speedy "Tradition of Fatality" are also strong, but then there are tracks that serve to counterbalance these with pretty mundane riffing, like the doomy "Distress and Death" and the steady, tank treads of "Two Sides Terror". The title track itself is caught somewhere in the middle, though I should point out that in all cases, Sabina does a fine job fronting the mayhem.

Ultimately, Terminal Terror is another of the band's good albums, worth hearing if you enjoyed Finished with the Dogs or The New Machine of Liechtenstein, serving as a midpoint between the frothing frenzy of the former and the taut, depressive control of the latter. It's a dark vibe here throughout, even a song with 'mum' in its title is stark and serious, and this is certainly a Holy Moses I prefer to the fleeting foibles that were hinted at on its direct predecessor. 2-3 of the songs here would easily belong in a highlight compilation of the band's career, but despite the appropriately brutal presence of Sabina on the rest, they trail well behind.

Verdict: Win [7.25/10]
(suffer the ruined time)


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