Interview by Miriam C.People, we’re in front of a legend. Or better a metal LEGEND. If think about thrash metal, the first band you’ll gonna refer to, at least in the European musical panorama, is German’s Holy Moses. Why? The reason is really really simply ’cause without Sabine Classen, there’ll be no Angela Gossow, Alissa White-Gluz and Runhild Gammelsæter singing in any whatsoever extreme metal band. Holy Moses‘s first demo release date back in 1980 but it’s the third demo, published in 1982, “Satan’s Angel” that marks Sabina‘s debut behind as a band vocalist until their break-up in 1994. Right now, after 30 years of activity, it’s really natural that a band undergoes a lot of lineup changes but with their new album “Redefined Mayhem”, Holy Moses seems to have found a stable line-up and vocalist Sabina Classen, guitarist Peter Geltat and bassist Thomas Neitsch took some time to speak about it. Thrash on! Hi there, welcome to Femme Metal Webzine and thanks so really much for this interview. So let’s start, your latest album is called “Redefined Mayhem” and it was released via SPV on April. But excluding the special compilation “30th Anniversary: In the Power of Now” that Holy Moses has released on 2012, we must jump back to 2008 for last full lenght “Agony of Death”. Why it passed so much time?
Sabina: We worked first on the 30th Anniversary album with all new members since 2008. The band was trying to find its own path and later we started up to write new songs for the new album. Pete and Gerd although were confirmed as band members only during 2011 / 2012, they represent the start of a brand new chapter for Holy Moses. We played several shows, we started to get along as a band and so, the next step was to collect some stuff for the upcoming album and here we come to “Redefined Mayhem”, which was recorded and mixed in 2013 and released on April 2014. For us, time was running real fast.Would you like to tell us more how the writing process and how “Redefined Mayhem” was devoloped?
Thomas: We started in late 2012, everybody had a a lot of ideas but there was no masterplan about the direction. We just wanted a powerful modern and technical thrash album. Pete and me had a lot of studio sessions, we wrote the biggest part of the album. Often through the night with some beers recording lots of crazy guitars parts. We had a lot of fun and it was really exciting to see how the albums was growing.Musically speaking, I’ve found “Redefined Mayhem” a good mix of old and new and I agree with the press release when says that the band “skilfully forged an arch to the group’s successful past with classics such as “Finished With The Dogs” (1987) and “The New Machine Of Liechtenstein” (1989)”. Sabine, do you think that “Redifined Mayhem” can be already considered a classic into the HM discography? And I’m curious to know, in your opinion, in which elements “Redefined Mayhem” can be an evolution of 1989’s “The New Machine Of Liechtenstein”?
Sabina: You are right, “Redifined Mayhem” is a absolut top classic Holy Moses album . It is for sure the right evolution of “New Machine of Liechtenstein” Album. For us as a band, “New Machine of Liechtenstein” is the album that has defined our sound, the one that has made what we’re now and what made us so unique. We inspired to that album and we suceeded in releasing what we consider the evolution of that release, also, this was possible with the hearts and souls of the musicians in the band ’cause they captured and understood the right Holy Moses spirit.
Pete: We especially liked the more technical aspects of this album, playing around with odd meters, having some more demanding riffs und drumbeats whilst also having some catchy choruses.I liked very much the “Hellhound”, “Undead Dogs” and “Liars” lyrics’ ’cause you’re able to mix in the same album three important figures such Dante, Carl Gustav Jung and Heinrich Heine. Do you like to explain us, your point of view on these three lyrics and more importantly what these three authors personally represent for you?
Thomas: When I wrote text for “Liars” I just had the idea to write about a person that get disappointed by others, but after a while the lyric was growing a bit more into areligious or social direction. I remembered the “The Silesian Weavers” by Heinrich Heine that I’ve learned at school and I’ve thought, it would be interesting to create something new with it. The lyric describes the revolution and the protest against current political hierarchy.
Pete: Carl Gustav Jung developed the term of the human “shadow”. The shadow represents all the darker sides of your personality. When you confront it, when you face yourself, when you own and handle your fears and dark sides, you can grow a lot as a person and enhance the quality of your well being and life in general. Instead about “Hellhound” and “Undead Dogs” – we had the idea to make a song about the Cerberos, the Hellhound since it is just an important, figure in our album and Dante’s “Divine Comedy” was just the starting point for the lyric. We made it more evil, bloody and brutal.What strike me the most about “Redefined Mayhem”, despite those three lyrics, is its album title: it is important and it carries a profound meaning. Mind to tell us more about it? And most important how do you think is possible to redefine the mayhem?
Thomas: After the 30th Anniversary album we closed a chapter. The lineup was evolving and we had to rethink what we wanted to do with the band. We had enough energy to start a new album but we didn’t just want to write anything you heard a thousand times before. There was necessary to make something different without changing the general musical direction.
Pete: So, we had to redefine Holy Moses in a way and Holy Moses stands for chaos and mayhem, hence the name.Also I really love the cover: what’s Moses proclaming his law on the top of the mount Sinai? Ok, I was kidding! Who’s the cover artist and what you wanted to express? For sure, Holy Moses is proclaming its law, hahaha…
Thomas: This time we wanted to change not only the music. The cover was painted by my girlfriend. We had some different ideas and ended up in different versions for the LP and the CD. We thought it could be a cool idea, to put the Holy Moses on the cover. But in our Version, he is a bad motherfucker that wants to kill everybody. He proclaims Death and Destruction. HAHAHAHA ;)
How was working with Tue Madsen and how much was challenging for him trying to being focused and impartial during the mixing and mastering process since he’s a true dedicated fan of HM?
Pete: It was really easy working with him. He immediatly understood what sound we had in mind and he come out with a great one!“Redefined Mayhem” will be released in 2 different format: CD and LP. There are any particular reason of why you have opted for different covers?
Pete: Each cover is according to the format. The LP cover is a bit more oldschool and because it’s bigger it can be more detailed.Would you like to tell us more about the bonus song “Entering the Now” present only on the LP version?
Pete: Thomas wrote this song for the 30-years anniversary album. We weren’t satisfied with the sound, so we re-recorded
the guitars and bass and have Tue master it. I also played a second voice for my solo. Now it sounds more evil, haha!
Sabina: When my band mates are drinking gin and talking shit, I am going to bed, hahahahahaha, but in truth it is really great, they can get ideas from my experiences and on the other hand, I am learning about the recent music scene (including some new bands). We really can learn from each other but as friends it doesn’t mean anything they are nearly 20 years younger than m , I’m like their mother and they are my kids and we support each other. They give me power to going and viceversa and in the meantime, we’re trying to get the right balance between each other. The only thing is that I wish we could rehearse each day in the evening like we did it in the 80’s but we live in different towns and we are all not in school anymore, we have all dayjobs to take care of next to the music and unfortunatly we need to get it on with our ‘normal’ life though this is something I always did although I used to have more freetime to dedicate. Now, I have to take care of my health and be careful.What are Holy Moses‘s next plans for 2014?
Thomas: Have a lot of fun on stage, playing some nice Shows and drink some Gin.
Pete: We will also start writing new songs soon. There won’t be a long gap till the next album.Well, we’re at the end. Please greet freely your fans and our readers. Thanks!
Sabina: Thanks so much for supporting us!