Redefined Mayhem Review

artist: Holy Moses date: 04/30/2014 category: compact discs
Holy Moses: Redefined Mayhem
Released: Apr 25, 2014
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: Steamhammer
Number Of Tracks: 13
After 30 years in the metal scene, Holy Moses tells you from the very start that they're refreshing their thrash sound with "Redefined Mayhem."
 Sound: 8
 Lyrics: 6
 Overall Impression: 7
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overall: 7
Redefined Mayhem Featured review by: UG Team, on april 30, 2014
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Sound: There's a lot to be said about Holy Moses. Having originally formed in 1980, the band has been around for over 30 years (though that includes a multi-year split in the '90s), and is also known for being one of the first thrash metal bands hailing from Germany. Holy Moses is also notable for having the rare characteristic of a frontwoman at the helm of the band - even more notably, the thrash queen Sabina Classen - and with ten studio albums and nearly as many EPs under their belt, the band has a very seasoned discography. With their last two releases - their 10th studio album, "Agony of Death," and their 30-year anniversary compilation of re-recorded classics - being quite satisfying, Holy Moses has more to give, and have now released their 11th studio album, "Redefined Mayhem." 

The title "Redefined Mayhem" is a very fitting one for this album, for it not only serves as a viable title for a thrash album, but it represents what Holy Moses aims to accomplish in the album: their new take on their thrash metal sound. That ethos may very well have thrash metal purists furrowing their brows in disapproval, but for a band that's been making music for three decades, it's no surprise that they'd want to mix things up instead of sticking to the basics. The dominant flavor of the album manages to be thrash, however, there are a lot of metalcore-inspired chorus riffs of fast chugging guitars paired with double-bass rolls, and this methodical approach to the majority of choruses on the album do grow stale. You'll of course be getting good and hearty thrash riffs in songs like "Hellhound," "Triggered," "Process of Projection," "Whet the Knife," "Liars" and the stark, uncut thrash finisher "This Dirt," but other songs like "Undead Dogs," "Sacred Sorrows," and "Delusion" have more groove-metal-oriented riffs. "One Step Ahead of Death" goes even further out of the ordinary by using an intro of a clean guitar line that comes off sounding more like contemporary rock rather than metal, but then drops into a slow, rock-steady, head-banging riff and also features an admirable guitar solo. 

That certainly won't be the only display of awesome guitar play you come across on the album. You'll find a thrash-inspired dueling guitar solo in "Triggered," frantic guitar-tapping lines in "Fading Realities," and the death-metal-influenced "Redemption of the Shattered" is a major highlight of the entire album, which features a blistering guitar solo right at the intro of the song, heavy main riffs and fleeting tremolo riffs. The bass is also quite remarkable on the entire album and helps give the overall sound some more dimension. Not only does the bass hold its own in each track and manage to not get drowned out by the guitars or the drums, but you'll hear some great, autonomous bass-lines in "Sacred Sorrows," "Fading Realities," "Delusion" and "One Step Ahead of Death." // 8

Lyrics: Though the title "Redefined Mayhem" is cardinally applicable to the sound aspect of the album, the lyrics in the album don't reinvent the way Holy Moses has composed lyrics in the past. In the case of the songs that include the dog themes, like "Hellhound" and "Undead Dogs," it's fair to assess that this is just Holy Moses sticking to the recurring theme or paying homage to the band's classic-era material (i.e. "Finished With the Dogs" and "Reborn Dogs"). Overall, though, Holy Moses continues to write songs about the same topics they've always had a penchant for: from mind-induced solipsist conflicts - like in "Delusions," "Fading Realities" and "Process of Projection" - to explicit narratives of afterlife - like in "Into the Dark," "Redemption of the Shattered" and "One Step Ahead of Death." Of course, most songs take a negative perspective in lyrics (such as "and you think you are safe? You are not/ we are drawn into the dark" in "Into the Dark," and "breathing under my skin/darkness keeps invading me" in "Triggered") and the narratives in "Redemption of the Shattered" and "Whet the Knife" get pretty graphic and intense, but "One Step Ahead of Death" manages to bring forth some positivity in the album (even if it's just a little amount) with the chorus "show me light when darkness comes around/take me to the other side, where fear and hate cease to exist." The lyrics aren't the biggest selling point of the album, and they aren't drawn upon any unique inspiration, but they aren't unbearable. // 6

Overall Impression: While Holy Moses' point of "Redefined Mayhem" is to blend a number of extreme metal traits in with their thrash metal demeanor, it inevitably has a polarizing effect to the people that want pure thrash. If you're a fan of Holy Moses' older material, this album probably won't become your new favorite, but if you're accepting of the fusion of characteristics from different metal sub-genres, this album is a solid show of it. In comparison to Holy Moses' last album, "Agony of Death," it may not be as consistently good, but "Redefined Mayhem" has some very impressive tracks that prove that Holy Moses still have tricks up their sleeve when it comes to making music. // 7

- Sam Mendez (c) 2014

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