Released: 2008, Wacken Records
As an avid metalhead that has owned and heard thousands of metal albums over the last decade and a half, it is hard to believe that I was completely unaware of the band Holy Moses before the promo for their new onslaught of thrash arrived at my door. Considering the fact that this band has been wrecking necks since the early eighties, it is hard to believe that I had not stumbled upon them before this, a fact that after listening to the pounding AGONY OF DEATH is depressing. Kicking off the newly formed Wacken Records, AGONY OF DEATH is a molten hot inferno of skull crushing riffs, demonic snarls, and guttural growls.
Do you like classic Slayer, Exodus, Testament, Overkill, or any of the other thrash masters of that bygone era? Are you tired of the countless crossover thrash imitators rearing their ugly heads in recent years? Have you found most of the recent output of the classic thrash bands to be less than satisfying or empty recreations of the past? If you answered these questions in the affirmative, quit reading this review and go pick up this album…
For those who haven’t left for the record store or their favorite download location, and still need more convincing, I’ll point out that the production on the album is razor sharp, many of song’s arrangements are rather complex (see “Pseudohalluzination”), and the lead guitar work is dizzying. The vocal assault of Sabina Classen is just sheer brutality and violence. It’s refreshing to hear an aggressive album like this that does not feel obligated to use a dated production to “stay true,” and this album never feels like they are trying to recapture something from twenty years ago that can clearly never be recovered, something that most of their thrash piers have yet to realize. From the moment the riffs start in the opener, “Imagination,” up until the album’s outro, the foot never comes off the gas pedal. The riffs stay fresh throughout, the tempos are sophisticated and interesting, and there are even a few melodies that creep through, especially in a song like “Schizophrenia,” which can almost be described as catchy, something that is hard to do in thrash while maintaining the intensity.
There is really nothing that can be said to detract from the overall experience of the album. It’s heavy as hell, varied, and it somehow feels relevant in today’s metal landscape. I can only think of one word to sum up AGONY OF DEATH - - -Thrashasterpiece!