Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Holy Moses - Disorder of the Order (2002)

The Master of Disaster EP displayed a returned, reinvigorated Holy Moses with a fresh line-up, but the true test would come with the first planned full-length, Disorder of the Order, which came out the following year, once more through Century Media. Once again we've got a heroine on the cover, fighting demons in a cheesy comic book motif, but at least this album image doesn't seem as self-aggrandizing as the following two. What's better, this is easily the most exciting Holy Moses material during the 'second wind' of their career (i.e. the 21st century), and it brings back a lot of the crisp, barbaric riffing of their classic Finished with the Dogs, flavored with some curious mid-paced tracks that mix rock and thrash to interesting effects.

If you were keen on Master of Disaster, then this is a direct continuation of that sound, but with better overall writing. The highlights are clearly the faster paced pieces like the impressive and filthy blitz of "We Are At War" and "Break the Evil", or the more measured, tempo shifting "Hell On Earth". All of these feature tight riffs and reckless speed circa "Current of Death", and even if they don't quite match that level of sporadic memory punching, they're far better than almost anything the band had released since the 80s. Then there are the more unusual tracks, like the slow-moving groove/thrash of the title track, with gang shouts and some interesting spikes of bouncing guitar melody that tie them together; "Deeper" with its subtle synthesizer atmosphere and roiling, chugging sequences carried along at a march-like pace; or "1000" which features crashing melodic walls of guitar and rock chords. Inevitably, there are some that fall between these two poles, in particular "I Bleed" which features some of Sabina's best vocals on the album.

Of course, they're not all diamonds, and my attention seems to always dive near the end of the album. Not that the final four tracks are necessarily bad, but they're not as exciting, and might have been clipped to preserve the dignity and roundedness of the rest. The tribute to the Big Three in "Blood Bond" is quite a nice tough, but it also seems a little haughty to include this band in the 'Holy Kreator of Destructive Sodomy'. I mean, where's Tankard? And while I truly love Finished with the Dogs, more so than anything Sodom ever released, I severely doubt that this band ever had the same impact as those others. But regardless, this track isn't bad and the lyrics aren't at all what I had feared (most of the lyrics are decent). Sabina turns in a fine performance throughout, mixing her early death grunts and rasped adaptations, and the band blazes along as if they were old hands at this style. Sadly, this is the last album Andy Classen would be involved in (songwriting and some guitars), but at the very least he left his alma mater with a bang.

Verdict: Win [7.5/10] (recoil the reflexes)

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