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The eighth effort from German thrash institution Sodom, “’Til Death Do Us Unite,” is certainly one of the more overlooked efforts in the bands’ history as they finally seem to get the devastating blend of punk and thrash together in a cohesive, competent package though there’s still a few disappointingly weak tracks to lower this.
For the third time in their career, the band decides to make their blazing, hyper-speed punk roots a major focal point of the album and it really succeeds nicely. Having been affectionately dubbed ‘War-Punk’ in the past for the previous attempt, which was describing the fact that the band employed simplistic punk riffs and a chaotic, off-the-rails intensity to their music played at the speeds more commonly associated with thrash, that really could be applied here as well. The music has a boundless energy and incessant urge to attack and maim with extreme ferocity as the guitars whip through their paces at an intense speed, with riffs that are just blazing through every note as fast as they can with the drumming one step behind, keeping the speed in-check so as to not become just a chaotic frenzy of speedy guitar riffs and barreling drumming. When matched with the simple patterns and riffing structures, it creates the feel of thrashy punk-rock that has long been a part of the band’s sound. However, one thing that’s cleverly abundant here is that the band hasn’t forgotten its traditional thrash roots and attempts to merge the two together, offering a sense of cross-pollination between the two big themes of the bands’ past in one spot. The riff-work here is quite a bit more technical and complex than what would be considered the norm for a punk-band as the type of technicality is usually reserved for thrash bands, despite the fact that the general energy and chaotic nature of the material is usually a punk concern. The drumming definitely helps this factor along as well, as the dexterous and highly in-your-face nature that they’re performed on here is almost strictly a punk concern as without the constant double-bass overlaid against the riffing it becomes a true thrash sound. Therefore, we have a best of both worlds’ scenarios here where we have the spirit of chaotic energy and catchiness of punk alongside the technical riffing and sense of dynamics that thrash brings to the table, offering up a highly enjoyable effort overall.
There’s not too much change here between the two halves here at all and it really depends on minor differences to tell the two halves here apart. The first half of the album does spend a bigger majority of time on the frantic, simplistic punk-rockers that really barrel forth at one constant pace without too many outside forces interfering with the bands’ mission to get in and do as much damage as possible, making this feel like it’s packed with fast, furious songs without too much let-up. While the riffing can at times get a slight need to throw together a rhythm with some variation to it, for the most part these songs don’t really experiment all that much or simply let the riff-pattern breathe. By comparison, the second half doesn’t really stick to one single point throughout and instead opts to merge the two styles together a little more, featuring tracks with more of an old-school riffing approach or simply some more complex patterns and variations that are combined with punk’s simple drumming and frantic energy to create some pretty interesting elements within the song. Whether it’s based on the more relaxed, laid-back paced tempos that don’t really get into the upper-range in terms of speed is concerned, a decided lack of straight-up punk/thrash hybrid songs or just a general focus on making the most interesting songs possible, these songs are generally more complex and diverse amongst themselves and whatever else was present on the album as a whole, so this becomes a decidedly more varied yet not as enjoyable segment of the album since these tracks aren’t as one-dimension as before but rather focus on a variety of different methods, tempos, and overall style choices that showcase the band’s experimental side that was always present, even if usually for a song or two, in the past and feels like it’s a natural part of their normal evolution.
The first half to this is quite enjoyable and has a lot of great songs, all within the style of the album’s mix of punk-like thrash and more traditional leanings. Opener ‘Frozen Screams’ contains heavy thrash riffing but some pulverizing punk-rock styled drumming that keeps things fast, vicious and up-tempo but the incessant riffing rarely gets any variation until the frantic solo section with vicious razor-wire rhythms that effectively mixes the two genres better than anticipated. Follow-up, and overall album highlight, ‘Fuck the Police’ has slightly more technical thrash riffing and an uproarious drumming pattern that’s with nasty punk energy and attitude that’s retained through the infectious and intense riffing and blasting performances, creating a heavy, intense and utterly fun blast that remains one of the better songs in their discography. The rocking ‘Gisela’ is another blasting punk-rocker with furious drumming and mid-section riffing that stays in up-tempo but lacks any sense of urgency due to lame vocals and feeling of repetition with the main riff before a double-bass blast for a finale brings it back to respectability. The album’s overall worst track, ‘That's What an Unknown Killer Diarized,’ is a simple, plodding effort with restrained tempo, lame drumming, weak riffs and lack of thrash atmosphere through song pattern designed to keep instrumentation back in the mix and overall ‘single’ feel that clashes with the whole album, leaving this one a mess overall. Thankfully, ‘Hanging Judge’ brings it back with heavy, vicious thrash riffs and frantic drumming with off-the-rails bass-work creates a chaotic vibe with the intense, desperate vocals with the punk-ish gang-backing choruses and furious pace, creating a real highlight. The short and vicious ‘No Way Out’ starts off with pounding drumming with a relaxed mid-tempo pace that works with enough riff variation to attempt an old-school thrash tone with the busy bass clanking in the background, technical patterns and exciting tempo variations as well as fiery solo and constant double-bass, making for the third straight solid track. The total punk-rocker ‘Polytoximaniac’ blasts off with simple drumming, simple riffing and tons of energy as there’s very little variation within beyond the drumming gaining speed and intensity but all other instruments kept in check, ending on a solid note.
The back half of the album really isn’t all that much different from the elements present on the first half and has a great enjoyment to them. Starting with the traditional flavors present in the title track with its’ rocking build-up intro with heavy riffs, thunderous bass and thudding drumming that stays in slow-range as the plodding drumming and low-key riffing never pick up any speed or urgency until a blasting double-bass fueled solo-section that returns to the mid-range chug that nevertheless features as close to an old-school feeling as anything else on the album. The cover of Paul Simon’s ‘Hazy Shade of Winter’ is a fast, heavy and furious cover that makes it close to the original but never sounds close to their original works due to its happy and up-beat tone that clashes with their more violent, vicious works though sonically there’s some solid moments overall. ‘Suicidal Justice’ has some monstrously heavy chugging riffing with dexterous drumming that adds a blasting intensity to the punk-rock feel as the chaotic riffing takes a furious, off-the-rails approach to the thrashing that adds pure speed and anger to the whole affair. The decent-enough ‘Wander in the Valley’ contains some chugging riff-work that’s too low-key to the pounding drumming that keeps up the intensity before more technical riffing comes in that adds a more brutal dimension to the rest of the mid-tempo work. The vicious ‘Sow the Seeds of Discord’ gets things back to familiar territory with charging riffing and accompanying drumming that starts off quite intense as it thrashes away in terms of riffing quality but keeps the punk aesthetics of few pattern variations but tons of intensity and viciousness. The rattling thrasher ‘Master of Disguise’ starts with up-tempo drumming and strained riffing that adds a new dimension to the frantic material with stylish lead variations that merge well with the blasting drumming and chaotic atmosphere. The restrained ‘Schwerter zu Pflugscharen’ is the most laid-back track on the album with a haunting, ethereal riffing builds to mid-tempo thrash with accompanying drumming that works in fine atmospheric interludes amongst the thrash but still remains in the sprawling mid-range pace overall, making for a wholly different experience than anything else on the album. It ends on a great note with ‘Hey, Hey, Hey Rock'n Roll Star,’ a raucous track with effective punk-drumming patterns and simple riffing with the return of the backing gang-shouts over the furious barn-burner riffing that bashes away with extreme abandon and frantic energy that closes the album out with a bang.
While this is nowhere near as essential or mandatory a listen for any of their previous albums, this is still a highly entertaining effort that offers enough of a cross-section of their work to appeal to just about everyone in their fan-base. In general style and spirit, obviously the punk-fanatics are going to be a lot more forgiving of this one since it does contain more of an overall feel reminiscent of their truer style, the thrash fans are going to enjoy the increased amount of traditional riffing and performances on display, and the more experimental sides here are going to like the fact that there’s a welcome amount of cross-breeding the different genres and an attempt made at mixing the two cohesively rather than forego one style for another. Granted, there’s times where this can come off the wrong way since these two styles don’t really mix together well without a little effort so a bad track here and there is to be expected which is what happens here, but that still makes this a wholly underrated addition to the band’s catalog and should warrant some serious investigation by hardcore fans.
Sodom's 8th full-length, 'Til Death Do Us Unite arrived with a very interesting cover touting the entire birth/death cycle in an image both profane and provocative. Far different than the vivid warfare and gore we'd expect. As for the music, it's largely a welcome return to the thrash metal of years gone, with a few punk tunes that are thankfully more catchy than bombastic, more fluid than forgettable. The band had acquired yet ANOTHER guitar player here, parting ways with Dirk Strahlimeier. Bernd Kost had played on the sole Crows album, The Dying Race, which was great, and he seems a good fit here, bringing the band back fully into the balance of bass and guitar (where the previous albums favored the former at the expense of the latter). What's more, Kost was here to stay! That is correct, Bernd has remained in the lineup until the present time. Well over a decade...a clear record for Sodom.
There are a few stinkers on this album, which preclude it from ranking among the band's best, but there are also a number of excellent tracks that are almost worthy as career highlights. "Suicidal Justice" and "Sow the Seeds of Discord" are both bristling thrashes with a slight proximity to Megadeth classics "Holy Wars" and "Hangar 18" respectively (but solely in the primary guitar motifs), and both among the most exciting and intense the band had produced in about 5 years. "Hanging Judge" is sheer, ballistic speed/thrash with simple riffing, great loud bass tone; "Master of Disguise" following suit; and "Wander in the Valley" has this massive, desolate atmosphere worthy of the lyrics. The cover of Paul Simon's "Hazy Shade of Winter" is also pretty fun, at least more interesting than their closer to the belt covers from the metal field, and among the punk fare, "Polytoximaniac", "Gisela" and "Hey, Hey, Hey Rock'n Roll Star" do not disappoint with their brighter riffs, good lead hooks and gang shouts.
There are, however, a few slower cuts that I found pretty boring, including the title track. It has a nice atmosphere created through the feedback, but the riffs are incredibly pedestrian and I just wish it weren't here. I also don't care for most of the guitars and almost rapped out lyrics in "That's What an Unknown Killer Diarized", though the lyrics are pretty interesting. "Frozen Screams" and "Fuck the Police" are both very energized tracks to bang out the album's opening moments, but neither is really that interesting in the long run. But at least they're played with violent and vicious thrashing. With 'Til Death Do Us Unite, I got the impression that, while still incorporating some of the band's 'fun' mentality, Tom Angelripper had finally decided to consign those elements to his Onkel Tom side band, and thank the stars: the two albums following this one return to pure war-obsessed thrashing.
This was one of the very first Sodom’s albums I bought. I listened to it several times in these years and each and every time I did that, including now, I always think at two thinks that more or less lead to an only one. First one: this is the almost definitive return to good thrash by this band after the improvement of Masquerade in Blood. Second one: why is it so long? General though: it could have been great without some fillers, to thin out at least 10 minutes. Apart from this, this album contains a general idea of return to good quality thrash metal by this band. Now let’s describe it.
The period was really bad for thrash metal worldwide and Sodom was the only band to walk tall in this field in Germany. Destruction were on hold and musically dead while Kreator went gothic/dark. ‘Till Death Do Us Unite marks a definitive comeback under violent compositions that this time have even a more adequate production for the genre: the instruments are again pounding and they are able to display al their power under a good production. The one by Masquerade in Blood was good to but I think this one fits better for thrash. It’s also more polished. The band itself seems regenerated in these years and their violence knows no boundaries.
“Frozen Screams” is blasting and the riffs can bring us back directly to Tapping The Vein. The new members at the guitars and the drums are already great to me. Bobby at the drums is perfect and in fact this line-up stands still nowadays. The guitars riffs are fast and again malevolent, all supported by the psychotic vocals by the always great Tom. A video was shot for the anarchic, punkish “Fuck the Police” and I must admit that both the video and the song are great. This time the production is far more thrash and so also this song can be seen as a thrasher one even if it’s effectively punkish. With “Gisela” we are back to Get What You Deserve times and I’ve said everything with this. Very funny.
We can find also two more mid-paced tracks here and they’re “That's What an Unknown Killer Diarized” and the title track. The Motörhead influences are more present but we can find also more groovy influences in the rhythmic riffage and the crawling tempo. They are quite good and catchy too. Songs like “Suicidal Justice” and “Polytoximaniac” are truly fast and punkish with the powerful, loud bass sound behind the guitars. Going on, my idea is that Sodom put too many fillers in a row. For example, “Wander In The Valley” and the dissonant riffs on “Sow The Seeds of Discord”. The last one “Hey, Hey, Hey Rock’n’ Roll Star” achieve the goal of making me smile but nothing more. It’s far less vicious than the various “Ausgebombt” and “Bombenhagel”.
The rest is quite good and the first three songs are surely the best ones on this album. The title track is fine too but a sense of tiredness invades my mind while I’m going on listening to this album. There are too many tracks and in these cases you should put out always good ones to avoid the listener’s sleep. Seems like that in the 90s, the thrash metal bands forgot that in the century before 9 tracks were perfect to show the power to everybody without resulting boring. The mark for this album is inevitably pulled down by this particular and that’s a pity.
This new Sodom line up works well, after all it's now 2007 and it hasn't changed since '96, which in Sodom terms is pretty impressive.
I will admit that whilst Sodom are my favourite thrash act, they aren't always the best song writers. Several of their albums that show great potential are let down by sloppy half arsed riffing and incosistent style changes. Not so here though. The writting here is even tighter than on Agent Orange. This release finds a re-invigorated Sodom exploring several different styles that have influenced them over the years: From the brutal early nineties material to the head banging straight up thrash and occasionaly punkish material of the eighties era as well as Venom and Motorhead. But whilst this may sound like a recipe for another inconsistent sleepathon, thanks to the great new guitarist and drummer and a decent production job that just aint the case.
Ok so enough of the politics, onto the actual music: You may see the word "Punk" crop up from time to time in reviews for this album, don't panic it really works. Most of the songs on this record barely break the three minute mark, and they're all crammed full with energy and attitiude not felt since the passionate screams of "Remember the Fallen!!!". The new guitarist; Bernemann, plays like he has something to prove to the world. Catchy chugging breaks and furious tremolo picking sit quite comfortably alongside the simple chords of punkish riffs in most songs and every solo is actually memorable for a change. And whilst the punk riffs do crop up from time to time they don't over-power the songs or destroy all the brutallity that is built up, neither do they dominate any one song.
Tom's filthy bass lines are really high up in the mix and so are his heavilly accented rasps and growls. The bass in a three piece band like this is very important to really give the music depth, cos it sure as hell ain't the lyrics (hence not 100%). Gone are the days of lines like "why are the innocent dead and the guilty alive?" and hello unsubtle "Fuck the Police" ramblings, I fucking love it. Just don't expect any passionate anti-war lyrics here, actually I can't remember any wars that were on at the time anyway.
Every song here is memorable and great for head banging to, even the last almost party anthem-esque "Hey, Hey, Hey Rock'n Roll Star". No Sodom fan should be without this album. Ok so it hardly plumbs the depths of human emotion like they tried to on previous albums but its still a great slab of thrash metal. Don't be affraid to check this album out because of all the dfferent styles mixed in, its very well put together, you won't regret it.
When I first heard of Sodom I’d heard nothing but good things. I received recommendations on what album I should listen to first and I was told ‘Till Death Do Us Unite was one of their best albums. Since I’d heard such good things, I approached the music with an optimistic attitude. Sadly, when I was done listening to this CD I was feeling pessimistic. This is supposedly one of the best thrash bands of all time?
I find that hard to believe. A good amount of the songs are far too short, which is a good thing in this case, because most of the songs aren‘t very good. Most of the songs are repetitive, boring, and bleak. For the people who like change in their music, the most interesting parts of this album will be the solos. Sorry guys, but playing the same riff fifty times in a minute doesn’t make you sound good.
The song structures aren’t interesting nor do they vary much. This seems more like a band that say to themselves “how many times can we play this riff in a minute? The more times we play it, the better it will sound”. Yes, this album is packed with speed and riffage, but there is little variety to be found here. Playing fast doesn’t always make you good, especially when you are just playing the same thing over and over again. How can these guys be one of the best thrash bands when nothing about them particularly stands out?
I really did try to listen to this album but I simply could not get into it. It sounds exactly like most other thrash bands. There’s not much unique about the album. I can tell Sodom are good musicians, but I thought this album was as boring as watching flies eat a steaming pile of deer shit, and I wouldn’t buy it even if I had a million dollars in spare cash. Unless you’re a hardcore thrash fan, stay away.
This crisply (and I mean crisply) produced piece of hammer-thrash is an amazingly underrated hook-fest from Tom Angelripper and co. The songs all bear wonderfully memorable refrains, hammering riffs and an energy/fun not heard in any thrash band for years. From the menacing title track to the gunfire riffage of "Fuck the Police" and even the odd Megadeth on steriods styled "Seeds of Dischord" this record is killer.
One of the benefits is the bassy, beefy mix that allows the music to sound thick while the guitars slice and dice through speedy (yet not so fast that any of them sound blurry) riffs that will stick on your mind like fresh penut butter. This record, in my opinion, is that good.
You have Ramones-on-steriods punk such as "Polytoximaniac", grinding Motorhead styled riffs in "Gisela" and angry death-thrash in the pounding "No Way Out". Angelripper himself is in fine form, bellowing his suprisingly well-written lyrics to shocking catchy music tracks that borrow from the best rock and roll hook-craft.
This might not be your dads Sodom, but this Sodom is a Sodom with heft, hook, skill and speed that will leave you singing along for hours.
BUY THIS OR DIE.