» Sabina Classen - Holy Moses
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Interview conducted September 11 2008
Interview published September 12 2008

Holy Moses! The Queen of simultaneous, spontaneous combustion has returned with her new Agony Of Death. This German Thrash band from the early 80's is still going strong, and raging steel. Their newest forthcoming release will placate old schoolers and new fans alike.

I was offered the opportunity to speak with the Angel Of World Chaos, herself, the dynamic, aggressive, and yet so sincere Sabina Classen - a true Teutonic Thrash Icon. Her new album is a total return to the terminal terror of the past, showing that this princess of the dawn is not finished with her dogs of war just yet.

We spoke about many topics, even the tragic death of Sodom's Witchhunter...so heed the call of the demon dogs!

MettleAngel: Hello Sabina, I'm very grateful to speak with such a female Teutonic thrash legend, as yourself. After all, Holy Moses has been around for nigh three decades.

  • Sabina: Yes, we have been going strong for like 27 years, I think.

MettleAngel: Well, other than Doro, and perhaps Kate from Belgium's Acid, or Lynda "Tam" Simpson from Sacrilege (UK), you are one of the originators of the female brutal thrash style. You all were the first to play aggressively, and with a forceful intent. When I first heard Finished With The Dogs and Queen Of Siam, I thought to myself this is some angry shit, like Motörhead with a chick's gruff growl. It was as if Girlschool had mated with Sodom.

  • Sabina: (Laughs) Yes, we were quite a shock to those who expected a more commercial front. Now, people associate me with the harsh inclination, and intense vibrations.

MettleAngel: Speaking of Sodom, how are you handling the tragic death of Chistian "Witchhunter" Dudeck?

  • Sabina: I only received a message yesterday about this, and I was utterly shocked! I knew he was not doing too well, as of late, but I did not think he would die so suddenly. Our new album, Agony Of Death, really strikes a chord, now when I think of him. I've been speaking with the German press, and they too are overwhelmed with grief.

MettleAngel: We all are, as he was a great drummer back in the day. I love Sodom's Persecution Mania release, as well as Agent Orange. I'm so glad he was able to record the Return to The Sign Of Evil, last year, as it would be his final work.

  • Sabina: Yes I know, we played with Sodom in Holland for that album. I can remember back in the early days, all the shows we played with Sodom, and this brings tears to my eyes. I tried to contact Tom, but he is so busy dealing with all of this, so I left him a consoling message. It is such a strange reality to me, because we are the same age, and I have known him for so long. I was aware of his drug and alcohol problems, and struggles with depression; I just did not think it was this serious, so final.

MettleAngel: I recall watching him on the Sodom DVD - Lords of Depravity Part 1, and just thinking what a shame that he was no longer in the mettle vibe. I could tell he was wasting away inside, reaching an all time low. he did not even respect Tom's effort to include him in this project. He seemed so bitter and cold, and obviously drunk.

  • Sabina: I'm still in shock, I've had no time to prepare. I just picture him in my mind, as I best remember him. It's strange not to picture him backstage hanging out with us, as we so often did.

MettleAngel: I do sympathize with his family and friends, but I want to talk to you about your new album, and Holy Moses. In keeping with the timing of drummers, how awesome that you now have Atomic Stief (Guido Richter) back in the band. He too played with Sodom, as well as Living Death, Violent Force, And Assassin. How did this come about?

  • Sabina: He has always been such a good friend of mine. We had our share of drummers in the past, all of them good in their own right; but, we wanted a real thrash drummer for Agony Of Death. We wanted someone who lived the lifestyle of the early days, and really captured the essence and vibe of the German Thrash sound.

MettleAngel: Then he is the perfect choice. I agree his unique drumming really adds to the character and quality of Agony Of Death. I really dig Living Death & Violent Force. I'm so glad all those, as well as your early releases have been remastered. I had your titles, and Living Death on a lame GWR cassette, for years.

  • Sabina: Yes, we are so excited to have him back in the band again. Our fans are very enthusiastic about this as well. He knows the proper sound for which we were searching. Agony Of Death is a very complex mix of emotions, anger, and aggression. Each of the 12 songs have their own story to tell.

MettleAngel: His drumming definitely drives the dynamic, and passion of the narrative. You have had some great drummers in the past, like Uli Kusch, who played on the New Machines of Liechtenstein, but Atomic is the best for your sound.

  • Sabina: I whole-heartedly agree...

MettleAngel: I've noticed that your lyrics deal with tragedy and loss. There are some overarching themes persistent like mental illness, depression, amnesia, desperation, and obviously the many facets of death.

  • Sabina: Yes, there is a real emotional element ongoing throughout the whole CD.

MettleAngel: Is this why there will be three unique versions of the new CD?

  • Sabina: Yes, we want to give the fans a unique perspective, based on their taste. For those into the story and subject matter, we offer the digipack with its various intros/outros. For those who just want to cut to the speed and music, we offer the jewel case version. For us old school enthusiasts, we offer the double vinyl edition, with a few intros/outros. Vinyl has really made a major comeback lately.

MettleAngel: Tell me about it, I've purchased more vinyl this year than in the last two decades. Hell, I'll even buy Metallica on vinyl tomorrow. I recently found a copy of South Of Heaven on picture disc, new, at my local Hot Topic! Another cool fact about your new CD, is that you have a number of guest musicians contributing to the new album.

  • Sabina: Yes, this is true, but it was not my original intention, nor was it a marketing ploy to sell more albums.

MettleAngel: Oh, I did not think this was ever the case...

  • Sabina: It all happened when we were on tour with Obituary, when I was backstage, Ralph Santolla expressed interest in the music we were writing. He wanted to contribute, on his own accord, as did Trevor Peres. Ralph and I share a real private and personal connection, so I knew his playing on the CD would only enhance the music, as his guitar style fits my writing mode. Then we also had Schmier visiting while we were in Holland, so we just decided to have ourselves a great big party and work on the album together. This worked out so well, because Karlos Medina of Agent Steel was visiting his girlfriend at the time, and he wanted to play bass on the new album as well. I'm so grateful for these friends who played just for the fun, not even asking for any money.

MettleAngel: Well, that's the true spirit of mettle, right there. I also noticed that you were able to get Henning Basse of Metalium fame to sing the Beauty & The Beast vocals with you, for the song "Schizophrenia". Given your gruff style, and his polished pronunciation, that makes for a killer cut!

  • Sabina: He is also a good friend of mine, and he serves as my vocal teacher, so this just made sense. When I first wrote the song, I considered getting my dear friend Doro, and have two female vocal parts; but, then I realized Henning would be a better choice, and create a different perspective, altogether.

MettleAngel: You are correct in your thinking there. Your vocals are so unique, harsh, yet audible. You had this disgruntled nuance, even before Death Metal became the fashion.

  • Sabina: I set out to find my own voice early on, one which would match my music and attitude.

MettleAngel: This is why you are so venerated as a thrash icon. So, I hear you are making plans to finally tour the States, how is this coming along?

  • Sabina: Many of you Americans feel left out, wondering why we never visit America. I try to explain to my friends, that we have always wanted to, but there is so much involved, and at stake.

MettleAngel: I agree, but now is the best time for Holy Moses to do this, as thrash has made such a resurgence. I remember when Tankard finally came to America, to play only one show, which they were not permitted to finish. Even still, us fans so appreciated all they went through, just to play this one gig. I'm confident when you visit America, it will truly be worth it.

  • Sabina: I've been to America myself many times, but I'm excited to take my band on tour there, as Holy Moses is my life. What I try to tell our fans, is that so much goes in to planning a tour. We want to do it right, which means hiring a qaulified, well-organized Tour Manager. SPV has been very supportive in this endeavour. Actually, today is the seventh anniversary of 9-11, and that event really changed everything for bands coming to America. Getting into your country is a real challenge, and can be very expensive. We rely upon a diligent promoter who will secure for us the proper visas, and ensure that all runs smoothly.

MettleAngel: I understand, which is why when a European act visits us, we go out of our way to welcome them. We will be seeing Helloween & Gamma Ray in a few weeks, and we are so excited about this. SPV have been very supportive in promoting this mini tour as well. My wife and I love German Metal, and we truly support the bands who go through the extra effort to tour here.

  • Sabina: Well, then we look forward to seeing you sometime, hopefully, in January.

MettleAngel: Definitely, I won't want to miss out on that opportunity to meet you in person. Sabina, thank you so much for taking the time to speak with me, and reflect upon the loss of Witchhunter. Congratulations on a truly worthy new release. I've been encouraging all my old school friends to get this. We are all so thrilled about the Deathrow titles: Satan's Gift & Raging Steel finally being released on CD legally, for the first time. We are all stoked about the return of the classic Teutonic Thrash sound. Hail Germany!

  • Sabina: Michael, it has been very enjoyable to converse with you as well. Our interview has pleased me very much. I look forward to truly meeting you and your wife in person, take care.

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