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Once Upon A Time In The West - 80%

Metal_Thrasher90, August 9th, 2013

6 years after the unforgettable “Mortal Way Of Live”, Sodom put out this live album, which is the second of the three concert recordings in their discography catalog to this date (if we don’t count that rare Greek magazine cassette). Maybe those weren’t the right times to release a live CD, but they took the risk and the result was positive. The last studio album from that same year was an unique collection of punk cuts with guts and attitude that demonstrated the creativity, inspiration and moment of grace of these guys. The always forgotten underrated line-up Angelripper-Brings-Steif was totally solid and fawless in the studio; this concert recording gave us the opportunity to check if they would sound so convincing on stage as well.

The show starts with Ennio Morricone’s music from the epic Sergio Leone spaghetti western classic “Once Upon A Time In The West”, a perfect intro for the bunch of punkish metal material that is yet to come. Once it’s over, Angelripper stands face to face, in front of the audience in a peculiar friendly duel with them, the mission is not see who draws and shoots first like in those movies, rather perform the most honest professional way possible to satisfy the fans. Charles Bronson and Tom always had something in common: they never disappoint or lose. “Outbreak Of Evil”, “Jabba The Hut” and “Agent Orange” open the gig with Sodom’s frontman at his best, supported by Brings and Steif completely inspired. The immaculate display of each riff, hook, double bass-drum rhythm, tempo change, break, pickin’ part and everything else is absolutely outstanding and powerful. The talent and abilities from each member are notable, vital to make these raging thrash tunes sound violent and coherent enough. This line-up added some extra speed to classic tunes like “Tired And Red”, “An Eye For An Eye” (I wish they included the Dolph Lundgren spoken passage) or “Tarred And Feathered”, which sound more aggressive, loose and devastating than ever before. These guys are used to terminal velocity and blast-beats as you can check on the “Get What You Deserve” album, so it came as no surprise these much more faster arrangements than the studio originals. About the set-list, I wish they chose more material from their immense record “Tapping The Vein, but there’s only “One Step Over The Line” and its weighty strenghtful riff exhibition and cool controversial lyrics in the pack, along with the funny “Wachturm”. They sound very close to the originals with no big difference. The only alternative arrangements from the studio versions you will find here can be heard on that Tom’s speech intro of “Remember The Fallen” and the “Stalinorgel” opus, that interpolates a catchy “Persecution Mania” LP classic in its middle part (find out which I mean!).

The rest of the songs are taken from both “Get What You Deserve” and “Aber Bitte Mit Sahne”. The perfomance of those numbers doesn’t offer anything really different or remarkable from the album work, in fact there’s an undisputed similarity between both live and studio versions. Probably the slightly modified improvisated pickin’ parts are the only difference. The energy and passion, though, is admirable and will make you enjoy these raw punk stuff as much as the studio tracks did. As we all know, most of the mid-90’s Sodom stuff is straight, fast, simple and each tune is no longer than 2 or 3 minutes, so well, don’t expect amazingly consistent progressive music here. I highlight specially the excellent heavy cathartic compositions “Sodomized”, “Jesus Screamer” and the humoristic “Die Stumme Ursel”, which is one of the magic moments of the show with the audience singing each lyric along. The fans reacted very well to the new songs Sodom were introducing, absolutely crazy and devoted, screaming and clapping constantly so you see, these guys always satisfy their crowd with admirable superb talent and efficience. Andy Brings demonstrated in this live recording his stunning technique with that insatiable execution of fierce riffs and shredding skilled solos. He abuses at times of his pedal effects and whammy-bar, but apart from those tricks, it’s all art and abilities. Atomic Steif drum work is memorable, technical and effective. Those incredibly fast competent rhythms deserve a big recognition. And Mr.Angelripper won the duel, just like Bronson against Henry Fonda on that amazing scene of the Leone movie. Both vocals and bass lines are perfect and exquisite, this guy is a terrifying marvelous musician in studio and on stage. And the last 2 studio unreleased cuts are a nice bonus: “Fratricide” sounds more thrashy than most of what they did by that time, with an intense riff progression and a dynamic rhythm, while “Gone To Glory” follows the punk ways, including the characteristic uncontrolled rampant guitar lines, total speed drum beats and scruffy vocals of the trio going crazy and out of their mind. Honest stuff.

A great live album that every Sodomaniac should listen and love. We don’t have the chance to hear much of these songs in their concerts nowadays, so this cool set-list is priceless for those who enjoyed Sodom’s punk/hardcore adventure as much as I did. We would have to wait until 2003 to have another live CD from Tom and co., I hope it won’t take that long again to get a new concert recording because Sodom do their best on stage. And as usual, live CDs often mean the end of an era for a group. That was proved right with this one because a time of changes came again for the band with the replacement of Andy Brings for Strahli and the music direction change in the following year.

Marooned in its present - 60%

autothrall, February 15th, 2011

Marooned Live is the second live album in Sodom's career, and a fraction more substantial than its predecessor Mortal Way of Live, even if my enjoyment was not necessarily on par with that. For obvious reasons, of course: Sodom had become a more diverse entity in the ensuing years, with a number of lineup changes, and thus a lot more of their heavily war punk inflections were present in the set list. That list is considerable, with 23 tracks present (21 live), but a lot of them are quite short, 1-2 minutes and change, so the purpose here was much like a live hardcore set, to flatten you repeatedly with tight and energetic material and then see you off to the nearest biergarten, or whatever was available in Hamburg where this was recorded.

Tone-wise, it's basically the companion piece to Get What You Deserve. The bass is pretty loud here, though the balance of the guitars is a little stronger than the studio album. But they also draw over a third of the set list from that album: "Jabba the Hut", "Jesus Screamer", "Eat Me!", "Die Stumme Ursel", "Erwachet!", "Silence is Consent", "Sodomized", "Gomorrah" and "Freaks of Nature" are all present, which is not really ideal for the old school Sodomaniac, but makes sense since the drummer was new to the band and they probably wanted to play a lot of the material he had helped execute in the studio. The rest of the set is divided pretty equally among older recordings: "One Step Over the Line" from Tapping the Vein; "Aber Bitte Mit Sahne" and "Abuse" from the Aber Bitte Mit Sahne single; "Stalinorgel", "Tarred and Feathered" and "An Eye for an Eye" from Better Off Dead; and Agent Orange is paid special attention with four cuts: "Agent Orange", "Tired and Red", Remember the Fallen" and "Ausgebombt".

It's surprising to not see "Nuclear Winter", "Sodomy and Lust" or "The Saw is the Law" here, and Persecution Mania (their best album) completely ignored; but perhaps the band was tired of performing these, and that album's content was featured heavily on the prior live album. At any rate, there are also two unreleased studio tracks: "Fratricide" being an escalator of rampant, melodic thrash metal with better guitars than most on Get What You Deserve, despite the remaining prevalence of the bombed out, distorted bass; and "Gone to Glory" which is quite a nice punk thrash piece, though brief. For myself, these were more of a treat than the live stuff, even if neither is quite a classic Sodom track. Choosing favorites among the set is difficult. I'm drawn to the older material from Agent Orange, but doesn't sound quite so powerful or effective with this lineup, who are clearly more fixated on performing the more recent belligerent punk material that they were promoting.