Review Summary: Predictable in its musical core but solid in terms of execution Holy Moses remains confident in their musical crusade.
Among the adjectives listed in the title, consistency has to be one of the key factors if you want to remain a relevant factor in heavy metal. Aachen-based German thrashers Holy Moses for the most part managed to stay in the game for more than three decades now and provide us with a fair number of hard-hitting raw material that made them one of the oldest veterans in the genre. After a short break in the mid-90’s their return in the 2000’s with “Disorder of the Order” was a successful one showing that they know how to both modernize yet remain old-school with their sound. And with 2005’s “Strength Power Will Passion” they managed to release a slightly less powerful but worthy follow-up.
Holy Moses were never a band known for their complex songwriting or lyrics, but rather being absolutely ferocious and intense with their delivery. The often punkish fast riffs combined with mid-paced ones for the perfect hook, a sound that channels both the influences and the more ruthless buzzing of Teutonic thrash, and just the right amount of atmosphere to make their songs sound different from a dozen other bands. Combine all of these with the voice of Sabina Classen one of the best female vocalists in the metal genre and you got Holy Moses’s formula. “Strength Power Will Passion” fully relies on these and while it doesn’t cover new ground for the band (let alone the genre) it’s worth a listen.
The album starts out very strong with the first four track as they all blaze out fast, heavy and precise riffs with slight modern touches that give them an almost Arch Enemy-like vibe. The opener “Angel’s Cry” and “Examination” are especially notable due to their moody choruses and usage of twin guitar which is definitely a new for Holy Moses. Along with the speedy headbanging chaos there are song that rely more on mid-tempo like “Symbol of Spirit” which carries a strong marching rhythm that grabs the listener quickly. While most of the material is competent on its own, the record never quite manages to maintain the levels of energy that it displayed in the beginning. Guitarist Michael Hankel (formerly of Erosion) has stepped into his role as songwriter with style, but most of the compositions remain consistent with Andy Classen's work in the past. Not to mention the guitar solos are possibly the most unimpressive in any Holy Moses album so far.
If I can give you one advice, try to stick with the original release because that option will spare you at least two weaker filler songs that only drag down the album from its otherwise decent consistency. The production is a major positive, being way cleaner and balanced than “Disorder of the Order” while not cutting an inch into the aggression. The guitar tones are stark, rough-edged while the melodic parts also distinctive. Sabina Classen perfectly retains her old shouting-based vocals with the exact same viciousness and venom what se possessed in the 80’s. That’s not an easy accomplishment and she deserves major props for being true to her style to this date.
As I said before “Strength Power Will Passion” shows nothing original, but successfully carries the band’s spirit in the 21st Century. It will never be seen among the best and most versatile records of thrash metal, but it’s well made simplicity can also be enjoyed as well.