without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
1993, the beginning of bad times for thrash. Although the previous year, Sodom made clear they weren’t afraid to face the new uncertain decade with that immense thrash masterpiece, “Tapping The Vein”. Angelripper even started to experiment with an unpredictable low guttural vocal tone, a good choice in those days when death became so popular (Oh, Florida!). But that cool death/thrash sound didn’t last much; in this following release, the Teutonic thrashers wanted to modify their sound and take influence from a genre that was crucial for the development of thrash: punk. Unfortunately, former drummer Chris Witchhunter didn’t take part in this project and he was replaced by Atomic Steif.
This EP features only 4 songs which are not longer than 2 or 3 minutes, but this material makes clear what Sodom wanted by that time. They take an opposite direction from their previous ways. The rough crushing riffs, lethal hooks, elaborated composition structures and death vocals are now gone. The sound is simple, straight and fast; the riffs aren’t that skilled or impressing and the length of the cuts has been reduced to the extreme. The tempo is an exhibition of terminal velocity, at times it sounds like constant blast-beats, just like the raging rhythms of the New York hardcore stuff. Everything has been simplified to fit the punk sound. Luckily, aggression and violence can be heard in these tunes. In fact, one of them was already familiar and well-known for us the Sodomaniacs: “Skinned Alive” is the only exception of devastating thrash riffing in this small pack, but now it sounds more punkish, straight, with no more growlings or elaborated pickin’ parts. The result of this new project didn’t satisfy everybody, but the band sound pretty solid, self-confident and comfortable playing hardcore. It’s an honest tribute in some way to their admired heroes (Anti-Nowhere League, Discharge, Misfits and co.). The perfect opportunity to introduce some sarcasm, humor and jokes for the first time ever in their numbers. No war this time. Tom speaks about believable issues that sometimes are not intended to be serious. And the funniest moment in this EP is the unpredictable Udo Jürgens cover “Aber Bitte Mit Sahne”, which has obviously nothing to do with metal but so what? It’s pure enjoyment, a very catchy tune indeed.
Sodom get distant from thrash, which was despised in those difficult times, and we must be grateful that at least they didn’t sell out or got groovy. Punk and hardcore, that was the best choice possible to change and forget about thrash for a while and avoid repetition. It was clear that Angelripper and co. always had a lot of punkish attitude, so this new direction fits them well. The stunning ultra-fast drum beats of legendary experienced percussion master Atomic Steif are ideal and perfect on each track. His total control of double bass-drum technique is amazing and contributes to make this music sound professional and convincing. The potential of these 3 guys, their musicianship and technique is admirable and, I’m afraid, wasted at times with these simple composition patterns. Andy Brings’ guitar work is pure energy, so fierce and talented, although he doesn’t have much opportunities now to demonstrate his huge abilities. The short solos and the primitive guitar lines are nothing extraordinary, but they are properly executed, with no weakness or incompetence. The vocals of Tom are not low or sinister anymore, now his voice sounds so scruffy, raspier and dirtier, trying to emulate his admired hero Mr. Kilmister with acceptable results. His bass lines are, once again, crude and distorted, performed with precision and skills. So the Such-Richter rhythmic section of the mid-90’s Sodom era is completely admirable. And curiously, in those critical years for the subgenre, most of thrash albums featured an excellent production and sound engineering job. Just listen how good this one sounds!
Fun is guaranteed with this EP, that won’t be remembered or admired as much as the magnificent “In The Sign Of Evil” or “Expurse Of Sodomy”, but it’s a proof of the fresh risky ideas of Sodom in those dark times. The trio made a difference from the rest of Teutonic metal groups, doing something enjoyable and honest. Thrash was gone for a while, but their genuine aggression and brutality could still be found in these raw tunes. As we all know, they would keep the punkish sound in their superb next CD but, by 1995, the uncertain circumstances of the subgenre demanded constant changes, so their hardcore adventures were condemned to end. Fortunately, Sodom don’t ignore this stuff completely and we can still heard some of these mid-90’s numbers in their gigs nowadays.
Aber bitte mit Sahne is yet another in a series of Sodom EPs that were released much to the (presumed) jubilance of their fan base, pockets and record label. The centerpiece here is the cover of the title track, a famous hit by the Austrian pop legend Udo Jürgens. It's not really a shock that Sodom choose to put their stamp on such a tune, because Angelripper and his posse have always had a flair for the fun and ironic. Why, he even created an entire side band based on the principle. Well, "Aber bitte mit Sahne" is a pretty dull choice, even with Tom's aggressive vocals slathered all over it, and I enjoyed it little more than the disposable Bryan Adams cover on The Saw is the Law compilation.
But the rest of this EP does not fare much better. You get an 'early warning' of "Sodomized" from the band's Get What You Deserve album, issued the following year. It's a thumping rager with attitude, like most of that full-length, with simple thrash riffing alongside the thickest, most destructive bass tone the band has ever used. "Abuse" is a very punk/hardcore sort of track, under 2 minutes long, with predictable and uninteresting chord progressions, and nothing that holds it together outside of the sheer propulsion that Sodom is playing it. Lastly, there's an update to "Skinned Alive" which is not really necessary, since we just got that song the year before and it was fine where it originated. But I guess they liked it enough to bring it up to the cantankerous, savage thrusting of Get What You Deserve.
The only thing of note is that this was the first recording with Atomic Steiff taking over the drums for Witchhunter. The end of a legacy, for Chris had been with the band since 1981. Steiff is no slouch, having played with Holy Moses, Living Death and Violent Force, so he brings to bear a fresh energy that makes a lot of sense for the next few albums. But it's hardly a reason to acquire this EP. The best songs are available on the surrounding full-lengths, in superior company than the bland Jürgens cover.
Here’s a little EP that Sodom must’ve thought was a bit of fun. Aber Bitte Mit Sahne, which translates to “with cream, please,” is a 10-minute collection of 4 songs that are basically just different things shoved together.
The title track “Aber Bitte Mit Sahne” is the main track here, and it’s a cover from some guy named Udo Jurgens, whom I’ve never heard of. This is definitely not a thrash song, but more of a pop-metal song that may have been popular in Germany. I’m not familiar with the original, so I’m not sure if it’s been “metalled” up for the purposes of the band, but it’s nonetheless quite a catchy number. It’s got a little bit of female backing vocals (basically just repeating the title) and some “uh-huh-huh! Oh yeah!” sounds that sound quite comedic to me. All in all, a fun song that you could probably play at parties if it’s a little dull and you’re all after a laugh or something to break the ice.
Next is “Sodomized,” which can be found on their next album Get What You Deserve. A pretty good song, but it works better in the context of that album. Production here, however, is a bit lighter.
After that is “Abuse,” which appears to be a new song (I couldn’t find it anywhere in their catalogue, but I may be wrong). Basically it’s similar in style, length, and aggressiveness as “Sodomized,” so it wouldn’t have felt out of place on Get What You Deserve. Again, not a bad song.
Ending the EP is “Skinned Alive ’93.” This is a song found on their 1991 monster Tapping The Vein. Much like “Sodomized,” the production here is not quite as punishing as on the album, which is a pity, but I still think it sounds good. I prefer the album cut, though.
One thing I did notice on this EP is that each track is a little faster than the previous one. Whether or not that was intentional is unknown, but it’s one thing that works.
Aber Bitte Mit Sahne, while being a fun EP, isn’t essential at all in comparison to what Sodom have released. The title track is fun, but that’s about all you’d need this for. Download it somewhere and you’ve basically got the EP. This is good for the die-hard Sodom fans, but for everyone else, stick to the full-lengths.