Holy Moses is a German thrash metal band. They are well noted for being fronted by Sabina Classen (it is rare for a woman to be a singer in thrash metal) and for being one of the very first German thrash metal bands.
Holy Moses were formed in Aachen, North Rhine-Westphalia, in 1980. The band's first line-up was formed by bassist Ramon Brssler, drummer Peter Vonderstein and guitarist Jochen Fnders during high school, the latter of whom also handled the band's vocals. This line-up played its first live show only four days after its formation, and released a demo titled Black Metal Masters in the same year. Vonderstein and Fnders left the group in 1981, and were replaced by drummer Paul Linzenich, vocalist Iggy, and guitarist Andy Classen from the local group Desaster. In December 1981, Iggy left the group and was replaced by ex-Desaster bassist and girlfriend of Andy, Sabina Classen (ne;e Hirtz). The band performed their first live show with the new stable line-up in November 1982 and released a string of demo tapes, including Walpurgis Night in 1985, and The Bitch in 1986, and also appeared on the split-album compilation Metallic Bunnys.
In 1986, Holy Moses released their debut album Queen of Siam through independent label Aaarrg, with Herbert Dreger on drums (Linzenich left shortly before the recording to focus on his university studies). After the release of the record, Dreger was sacked for not showing up to a support show with Agent Steel, and Brssler (the only original member of Holy Moses remaining), left the band. Both members were replaced by nineteen-year-old Uli Kusch and Andre Chapelier respectively. The following year, Holy Moses released their sophomore effort Finished With the Dogs, which was a much heavier and cleaner-sounding album than its predecessor. The album was a critical success around the world, earning the band a distribution deal through Warner Music Group (WEA) and tours of Europe with Angel Dust, Rage, Steeler, Paganini, D.R.I. and Holy Terror, finishing with a headlining show in Hamburg.
In 1988, Sabina Classen became the host of a German heavy metal TV show called Mosh alongside journalist Gtz Khnemund. Meanwhile, Holy Moses began work on their third studio effort. Released in 1989, The New Machine of Liechtenstein is another successful record from the group, with the band playing heavier and more technical thrash metal than on the previous two albums. The band toured with Sacred Reich and Forbidden, and performed at the Dynamo Open Air Festival, with second guitarist Rainer Laws added to the line-up. Around this time, Holy Moses severed their ties with Warner Music Group as a result of the record company's new staff trying to coerce the band into departing from their thrash metal influences and write more commercial music.
In 1990, Laws quit Holy Moses due to illness and retired to focus his skills as a graphic artist, leaving the band as a four-piece. The band then recorded World Chaos, released through West Virginia Records, an independent label owned by new band manager Uli Wiehagen. Kusch soon quit the band to join Gamma Ray, to be replaced by Atomic Steif. This line-up would remain stable for the next two records, Terminal Terror (1991), and Reborn Dogs (1992).
Soon after the release of Reborn Dogs, Sabina Classen left Holy Moses and the band subsequently dissolved. Classen went to form Temple of the Absurd with Warpath members Schrdey and Ozzy Frese, and drummer Mike Rech.
Two years after the split of Holy Moses, Andy Classen released a new record under the Holy Moses moniker titled No Matter What's the Cause. The line-up featured on the album included Classen on guitar and vocals, S.O.D.'s Dan Lilker on bass, and hardcore drummer Meff. The album was more hardcore/death metal influenced than the band's previous thrash-oriented efforts, and was not met with substantial success.
In 1999, during touring for the second Temple of the Absurd album, Sabina Classen collapsed on stage and was hospitalised. The singer fell into a serious illness and suffered a motorcycle crash in 2000. Following this, Temple of the Absurd disbanded and Sabina began to work with Andy again on what would eventually become new Holy Moses material. The band was reformed in early 2001 with Franky Brotz and Joern Schubert on guitar, Jochen Fnders on bass and Julien Schmidt on drums. The band performed several comeback shows throughout Europe and South Korea, and released an EP titled Master of Disaster through Century Media. Andy Classen stayed with the band as songwriter.
In 2002, Holy Moses released Disorder of the Order, their first album with the new line-up. Michael Hankel, guitarist of Erosion and friend of Andy's, replaced Schubert soon after the album's release, and became a main songwriter of the band. The band performed at Wacken Open Air festival in 2004, and after fan demand for another Holy Moses album, the group released Strength Power Will Passion in May the following year. It is the first album without input from Andy Classen. After securing a deal through Wacken Records and a subsequent re-release of the band's material, Fnders and Schmidt left Holy Moses to be replaced by Thomas Neitsch and a returning Atomic Steif.
The band recorded and released their tenth album Agony of Death in 2008 with all music written by new guitar player Oliver Jaath and Michael Hankel. They released their eleventh album Redefined Mayhem on April 28, 2014.