[27 March 2007]
PopMatters Contributing Editor
When it comes to groundbreaking women in extreme metal, few people even think of mentioning Sabine Classen, but the longtime vocalist for German thrashers Holy Moses combined good looks with a ferocious scream two decades before the very popular Angela Gossow (she of Arch Enemy notoriety) came along. While women were generally accepted in melodic metal, when it came to the thrash underground of the mid-‘80s, female members were practically nonexistent, so it took some bravery and audacity for Holy Moses to promote their product in the most male-dominated genre in popular music, and while the sales were never there, the respect was, as the band continues to perform to this day. It all started with Queen of Siam, and the 1986 debut has been given the reissue treatment by Locomotive Records. While fellow German bands Destruction, Kreator, and Sodom quickly defined the European thrash metal sound, Holy Moses was still trying to find an identity, which lends Queen of Siam a decidedly uneven quality. The compositions are for the most part rote, heavily indebted to British metalers Venom (Classen howls in a style very similar to that of Cronos), with a handful of titles managing to stand out, such as the blazing “Necropolis”, mid-paced stompers “Devils Dancer” and “Dear Little Friend”, and the thunderous title track. While not a classic album by any stretch, it’s nonetheless a crucial piece of metal history.