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A Slow Return to Thrash... - 86%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, September 14th, 2008

Sodom somehow always managed to write at least acceptable albums and this Masquerade In Blood is another example of the goodness of their music. Sincerely, I didn’t like the too punkish style of Get What You Deserve too much. To me that album marked the lowest point in Sodom’s discography even if it was not bad. This album instead marks a slow and, anyway, not complete return to a more canonical form of thrash metal and also the production helps a bit in this. Anyway, I must warn you that if you are searching for the most representative album by this band, I don’t recommend you this one but of course the various Agent Orange, Persecution Mania and Tapping the Vein.

And now, let’s go to the core of the album. The title track starts with heavy riffs and pounding drums. The production, as I said before, is again quite thrash metal and less punk. The guitars are massive and all the instruments are pretty heavy while Tom’s vocals are unmistakable in the rough and raspy tonality. His bass masticates a bunch of notes with its metallic and truly distorted sound. The tempo is not so fast but with the following “Gathering Of Minds”, the speed increases in some parts and the punk “Fields of Honour” breaks in. This time the Motörhead in influences are heavier and also the production is truly similar.

The refrains in these songs are really well made and recognizable. The melodies are very good even if the band is not on total speed. “Braindead” features more growlish vocals and heavier tunes, preferring a more death/thrash approach while “Verreche!” is another very funny punk song in classic Sodom style and it can be considered the faster one up ‘till now. The vocals are schizophrenic and the black/punk influences are far more present. The solos are quite simple and in tremolo picking style, as a simple insert of brutality to an already heavy sound. Again, the Motörhead influences enter in a song like “Shadows of Damnation” where the riffs have something more “hard-rock” inside.

“Peacemaker’s Law” and “Murder in my Eyes” are far more thrash in style. Here the riffs are more compact and brutal while the rhythmic session is truly fast, especially if we talk about the drums that are always on up-tempo. The palm muting riffs are fast and hammering in their really heavy distortion. “Unwanted Youth” has always something punk inside even if the aggression is again the thrash one. “Mantelmann” is again incredibly funny in its punk attitude through heavy riffs and black vocals during the refrain. On this album, even the more punk style songs are better done and with an improved songwriting compared to the previous Get What You Deserve and this is a sign of the regained inspiration by Sodom.

The longer “Scum” marks a new direction with more mid-paced parts and furious thrash restarts in old school style. The refrain is dark, violent and somehow the general atmosphere brings me back to Tapping the Vein. The heaviness and the brutality are always well balanced and now it’s time for “Hydrophobia” to break in with its walk under mid-paced tempo parts and speed restarts. It’s not the best song here but always manages to be convincible and not boring at all. The last song is a cover and is mostly punk but good in its simplicity and “harmlessness”.

With this album Sodom showed signs of a future and imminent return to thrash metal and the punk parts are far better. It’s a good half-era Sodom album and worth at least a listen for all the Sodomaniacs. It’s not their best but shows improvements and always quite catchy lines. I liked it.