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I have to admit it took me some time to get into Sodom's self-titled album, which is something not usually the case with this long-standing thrash outfit, but when it finally started growing on me I was hooked. The second coming of “Tapping the Vein” this certainly isn’t: you won’t find many of the all-out thrash songs played at breakneck speed that this band is mostly known for; in fact, there are only about three overtly fast songs to be found here, and fast parts in the remaining songs are actually few and far between. What we get instead are predominantly mid-paced tracks with added emphasis on variety, structure and sound musicianship. This focus shift is best exemplified by the work of guitarist Bernemann, who is given ample room to shine on “Sodom,” focusing less on savage shredding than on churning out some of his best riffs and most melodic solos to date. “City of God” is the one song that takes the cake in that regard, featuring what may be Sodom’s catchiest and most virtuosic guitar solo to date.
Alas, what “Sodom” lacks in sheer brutality and ferocity it more than makes up for with more intricate songwriting; besides, it’s not like Sodom have all of a sudden gone soft on us – those who fear the German three-piece may have opted for a more streamlined or "mass-appealing" approach can rest easy, as this 2006 output is still a Sodom-style thrash record through and through. Tom's vitriolic vocals haven't lost their bite and are in fact noticeably improved, as he has added some subtle melodic touches to his still omnipresent proto-death metal growl. (Luckily he doesn't try to pose as Tom Araya on "South of Heaven," but he has definitely improved his range.) Meanwhile, departed drummer Bobby does a great job of keeping things interesting despite the more restrained overall tempo, and the expertly crafted production job courtesy of former band member Andy Brings retains a much-welcome raw edge, rounding off a rather excellent album. Even though (or maybe exactly because) "Sodom" dares to be different and isn’t exactly standard Sodom fare, it should leave no long-time fan disappointed, using the band’s trademark thrash sound as a foundation and expanding upon it with a few unexpected twists and turns.
Finally, a quick word on the artwork: I’m actually glad my version of the CD came wrapped in a simple black and white cardboard slipcase, as the actual comic-book style cover beneath it is quite hideous (in an artistic sense): the green and red colors simply don’t mix well, the image looks overwrought and the chainsaw-and-gun-wielding monster – well, let’s just say the band should have put venerable band mascot "Knarrenheinz" on it instead. Or maybe that freakish monster is supposed to represent said mascot without its trademark helmet and gas mask? Anyway, it leaves me no choice but to deduct two points or so from the overall score.
Choicest cuts: Wanted Dead, City of God, Axis of Evil, Lords of Depravity
This album brings back the old school styled Sodom we always wish to hear . “M-16” was also a good thrash album , but this album surpasses “M-16” in many ways. It’s just a better version of “M-16” . Bernemann’s guitar work here is his best performance compared to any other Sodom album he’s worked on , followed by In war and pieces. This album is surely Bernemann’s masterpiece. Sodom has been providing us with good old school thrash every since the first full length, but since the last decade they’ve been influenced with punk and tried to combine it with thrash , which was surely disappointing. But even during their experiments with punk , they would come up with nice thrash tracks once in a while, so basically the albums before “Sodom” lacked consistency. And here they display pure old school thrash without any second thought or any other influence.
Tom’s vocals has always been the most attractive thing about sodom’s music and it goes the same with this album too. Song writing is pretty usual Sodom styled i.e showing anger on the political system and society. Bobby Schottkowski on drums does a pretty decent job providing with good fills. Songs like “ lords of depravity” , “nothing to regret” , “bibles and guns” are pretty brutal and come straight at you with smashing velocity . We all know the beauty of sodom’s music lies in the way they combine death and black metal topped with furious screams of Tom. Tom vocals are deep , raw and most aggressive in the whole thrash metal scene. Apart from having pure old school thrash influences Sodom also incorporates beautiful melodic leads , like “ Lay down the law” , ‘the enemy inside” the riffs present in both these songs are very creative.
The most attractive thing about this album is the fact that the songs are never run at the a continuous pace, they have wonderful breakdown moments during which you can experience the genius guitar work from Bernemann and sheer raw energy of Tom’s vocals. This is the most innovative Sodom album , there are no parts during which you can say that you’ve heard this riff or it sounds similar to some band or even to sodom’s own past material. This is new, creative and a rare thrash metal masterpiece that don’t often come.
City of god( awesome solo)
Lay down the law( creative riffs)
The enemy inside
Lords of depravity
You can generally count on bands who, late in their career, decide to release a self-titled album as a fairly poignant statement of their intentions, but Sodom's stab at this is merely a potent modernizing of the warlike thrash they produced for their last two albums, Code Red and M-16. However, in terms of quality, this is the most ribald and impressive effort of all their 21st century output, with a strong sense of dynamics and songwriting that gradually pulls you into its embrace. Bright, violent, and with some of the most vicious vocals in all of Tom Angelripper's career, Sodom is 43 minutes of passionate craftsmanship which is almost as worthwhile a cure for dysfunctional aging appendages as Viagra.
It does take some time before it fully delivers its payload, though. "Blood On Your Lips" is a momentous opener, with some fast paced roils of acoustic guitars plastered into a steady, battle field hymn of chugged force, squealing feedback, tempered but rousing melodic thrash riffs and murderous constraint in the initial vocals. "Wanted Dead" feels a lot like a modern edition of Slayer's "War Ensemble", and then "Buried in the Justice Ground" takes the pace down with a chord progression that reminds me of "Hangar 18", dispersed with great Angelripper vocals, background samples and a blocky, potent bridge segment. "City of God" actually sounds like something Amon Amarth would write, at least the intro riff, but it's one of my favorite songs on the album, careful and calculated and letting the thick tone of Bernemann's guitars create a resonant, emotional power; while the chorus to "Bibles and Guns" just tears down the fucking house in between the bursts of bass-driven verses.
Elsewhere, "Axis of Evil" concocts a belligerent marching pace to it akin to "For Whom the Bell Tolls", and by this point I have to wonder if Sodom did indeed look towards particular classics that they enjoy when writing this, and if it's not perhaps some thinly veiled tribute?! At any rate, nothing is so close that you could cry plagiarism, and Tom's vocals always create a varied state. I must also admit I love the bridge here with the brief bass breakdown and grooving outburst. Then the album saunters into the straight flush of "Lords of Depravity" and the grimy, huge speed metal tones that inaugurate "No Captures" before the big mosh verse. "Lay Down the Law" is super catchy, with more bass breakdowns and Tom howling all over the place, and the studio incarnation of "The Enemy Inside" (you might have heard it on One Night in Bangkok) finally arrives, though this is my least favorite track on the entire album.
Sodom is an enormous sounding record, something the band has been no stranger to in the decade leading up to it, and that contributes a long way towards its power. As for the riffing itself, it is probably not the strongest in the band's career. I mentioned that many of the songs felt derivative, which is true, but also this seems more of an attempt at creating havoc with sheer atmosphere than the intricate riffs of past classics like "Nuclear Winter", "Sodomy & Lust" or "Agent Orange". In the end, I really like the effect this produces, and it's a reliable go-to if you want to listen to this German legend without having your neck fall off at breakneck speed or your mind flayed by the storming aggression of, say, Tapping the Vein. I have no quips about naming this my favorite Sodom effort since 1990's Better Off Dead.
Are you sodomites ready for another Sodom platter? Yep, I thought you are. For your luck, the band's history DVD 'Lords of Depravity Pt. I' (2005) wasn't the first part of the band's farewell, but these German thrash metal stalwarts have unleashed their 11th studio full length album, simply titled as 'Sodom'. As expected, once again Sodom deliver us pure German thrash metal, but this time with a twist or two.
It's been five years since their previous studio album 'M-16' (2001). And to tell the truth, in 2006 Sodom sounds even a bit refreshing. No, they haven't gone and done a Goth-inspired album, nor have they created a technical behemoth. For a long time, Sodom had some sort of a punk and rock influence, but they have more or less dropped them on this album. 'Sodom' is pure thrash metal, the band's not playing around, but will sodomize you. Not like they did it in their first years, but considering the band's age, still in pretty awe-inspiring way! 'Sodom' isn't a journey to the real Ruhr thrash metal of the yore, but neither is it plagued with a plastic touch of nowadays. Timeless is the word!
Sodom 2006 is pretty mid-paced, but so perfect for headbanging. Of course there's some speedier songs, e.g. galloping Sodometal song 'Wanted Dead', Destruction-ish 'Bibles and Guns' and neck snapping 'Nothing to Regret' with its North American melodies. The band have tried something refreshing this time around. Whether you like it or not, they had to do it some day. Variety is one of the key matters. At first few listens, the album sounded quite monotonous and only "okay-ish", despite the variety, with a gem or two. Only after ten spins or so, 'Sodom' began to feel of uniform quality. Some songs didn't initially hit me, but now the album has grown on me and it contains no single slip. The riffs are still the law, but melodies and compositions play bigger parts than at any point of the band's career before. Some surprising moments: memorable solos. Yep, they are so good! 'Buried in the Justice Ground' actually sounds Megadeth circa 1990 and on 'Lay down the Law", Megadeth and Amon Amarth influences mix. Anyway, you'll know this is
The production is a tad thin. Tom Angelripper's bass has been moved back from the front, so there's more space for Bernemann's guitar. Everything is equally balanced, and it sounds organic (no triggers etc. used) and raw-ish, but lacks of heaviness. Bobby throws some technical drumming at times. Tom's vocals are very varying, generally sounding like himself, but at times he sounds a lot like his namesake in Slayer. Once again, the lyrics deal with war and from many perspectives. However, with one main function it is to stop wars. Limited edition includes a LP cover sized poster of the original gory artwork. Made me miss the vinyl...
I think 'Sodom' includes more to listen to as previous albums I've heard (which still do not include them all, but this is going to change soon!!!). This might be too melodic, mid-paced and whatever for some people, but I have to say that I am very positively surprised. This is a grower and withstands a lot of listening. Uniformly a strong album. They are not veterans, but experienced fighters...
Until very recently, I was not into Sodom. Most of my fellow metalheads were into bands that were more progressive and more interesting, and they told me Sodom was all heaviness and nothing else. Just your typical rudimentary thrash metal band, not even one step above Slayer in terms of quality, and that's it. Well my curiosity got the best of me, and I bought this whole album off of itunes.
Man did I show them.
Sodom is truly an amazing band, and this album is not exception. It's thrash metal at it's finest, straight up and raw, no progressive frills yet not all about speed . Everything about it is well thought out, and executed perfectly. In sense, Sodom is better then the American big four and better in musical skill because of only having one guitarist (in this case it's Bernermann). This is something that has made the band less appealing to American metallers, who usually expect to see their thrash metal bands with two guitarists (which is why Kreator was so successful), yet it allowed Sodom to develop a sound of their own, and that is great. It's just what I wanted.
Now the themes in the songs vary. They go from songs about monsters (Blood on Your Lips), to songs about mental problems (Wanted Dead, The Enemy Inside), to songs about anti establishment (Bibles and Guns, Lords of Depravity), to sociopolitical topics (Axis of Evil, Buried in the Justice Ground) and war (City of God, No Captures). These themes allow the album to never stay boring, so you're not always hearing Megadeth style anti political rambling, rants about violence reminiscent of Kreator, mental issue lyrics like Dark Angel, or your typical anti Christian lyrics that are more abstract, deep, and symbolic rather then contemporary anti Christian thrash metal bands such as Slayer and Destruction (whom aren't deep and symbolic at all). Another good thing is Sodom is never obvious with their lyrics, so you can view the song at multiple different perspectives. This is good, and something I find enjoyable.
To match the good lyrics, the vocals really deliver. Tom's voice has greatly improved over time, so his voice is now really good. I mean compare his voice now to his voice on Agent Orange. The lyrics are much more audible then you think now, yet his voice is still demonic sounding and raspy when he wants it to be. He even experiments with some different vocal styles, such as whispering on Blood on Your Lips and on The Enemy Inside, and even some odd airy/clean sounding vocals on Axis of Evil. But he's still got plenty of his normal vocals in there, and they sound amazing as usual.
Guitar work is great as well. Only two songs don't have a solo (Blood on Your Lips and Axis of Evil) but every other one isn't. They aren't your typical whammy bar influenced solos (although there is plentiful use of the whammy bar), they are very power metal sounding, in the sense that they are epic and high flying, which is really cool to listen to. Some of them are not so high flying, and meant to fit the brutality of the song (to get this idea, listen to Wanted Dead and Lords of Depravity), but for the most part they are pretty high flying. This album also possibly features the best guitar solo I've ever heard out of Sodom song. I used to think Frank Godznik was Sodom's best guitarist, but Bernermann has proved me wrong on one track, City of God. This song features an amazing guitar solo in the middle of the song that not only sounds incredibly epic and high flying, it's really good and is full of tons of shredding. This shows his power metal roots from his previous band Crows, and it surprisingly fits Sodom really really well.
Drumming on the album is decent. Schottkowski is about a step above Lars Ulrich and Dave Lombardo, being faster then Lars and more technical then Dave, but he's no Charlie Benante. His drumming has plenty of double bass in there, and there is much use of it. He also does some downright brutal use of the other drums in his kit, which is pretty awesome. However, the drums sound kind fake when I go back and listen to them. I don't think Sodom is guilty of sampling, but I think they just overused drum triggering on this. Now before you go and say that Bobby sucks for doing this (if he did), look at other bands in metal. I bet a lot of modern day metal bands have done this and are guilty of it. Look at Inferno from Behemoth, he admits he's guilty of it. So before you go and start bashing Sodom for doing such, just remember that other guys who are better then Bobby Schottkowski are guilty of the same crime.
Now the bass is basically kind of inaudible except for a few passages. It's nothing really special, I don't know if it's downtuned or not, and it's really not that good.
Now for the the rest of the downsides. The main downside is the over saturated guitar tone. The guitar tone continiously drowns out everything else, even the drums. This is incredibly annoying. I like to be able to at least hear the drums if I can't hear the bass as well. But they don't allow that all the time. It's hard at times to hear the bass drum, and sometimes the drums seem like they aren't there at all. Also on Lords of Depravity, you hear this annoying clicking sound in the beginning. Other then those issues, this album has no flaws.
So if you want to be exposed to Sodom, and you can overlook the flaws, go get this album. You won't regret it at all.
I was asked the other day, “Out of all the music that’s available to you, why do you listen to thrash metal the most?!”
I responded by reaching into my desk, and pulling out the cover of “Sodom” and showing them the picture of the half-man, half-cyborg machine with a mini-gun and a chainsaw for arms.
I figured I had proven my point, until he said that it was the lamest picture that he’d ever seen, so I actually had to vocally explain myself. So, with only mentioning Slayer about 12 times, I told him how much I enjoyed the aggression, the simplicity, and the frantic feeling it puts out. I brought up other bands like Kreator, Megadeth, and Destruction, and pointed out why I enjoy each band as much as I did. And of course, I talked about Sodom.
After repeated listens, Sodom might be one of the most original thrash bands to come out after “The Big Four” (Anthrax, Metallica, Megadeth, and Slayer), since they originally started off as a black metal band. After a few tweaks here and there, Sodom began to slowly transform in a pure-breed thrash attack, but they never really lost their sense of extreme metal roots. Bits and pieces of black and death metal can be found all across their work, mainly in albums like “Tapping the Vein” and “Code Red”. And while they’ve had their fair share of lackluster albums (one needs to look no further than “Better off Dead”), they’ve always seemed to come right back out, fists swinging left and right.
And then, came their masterpiece: “M-16”. While many fans will probably whine and argue with me and proclaim “Agent Orange”as their pinnacle, I’d have to disagree. “M-16” was a truly rare thrash album, complete with no filler, amazing instrumentals, and an actual purpose. But unfortunately, after such a complete album, bands usually dip. And this is almost the case with their self-titled debut, which still had much of the sound from “M-16”, but lost some of the unique flavor that it brought to the table.
Containing hard-hitting riffs and a blasting double bass, “Sodom” fits right at home with any other thrash album. Brutal songs such as “Lords of Depravity”, “No Captures”, and “Nothing to Regret” are fired straight out of a gun, hurling at you with no signs of slowing down and a power that is a force to be reckoned with. Bernemann’s guitar work is still incredibly unique, as while he still is imbedded in the common use of grinding palm mutes (as with most thrash guitarists), he seems to vary them up, creating a more intriguing sound. Just once listen to that flamenco guitar intro to “Blood on Your Lips” should be proof enough. But “City of God” is another prime example of this, since it starts of with just a straight ahead guitar before Bernemann takes off and creates an almost Gothenburgish riff that propels the song to a whole new level. And he also infuses some melody on that track, as well as on “Buried in the Justice Ground”, “Nothing to Regret” and “Lay Down the Law”. On “Lay Down the Law”, he once again unleashes another stunning Gothenburg type riff that takes an ordinary chorus and causes it to be stuck in your head. But when he wants to get the point across, he can get it done with ease. “Bibles and Guns”, while being the best on the album, features some of the most simple riffs, as their purpose is strictly to overpower you. “Wanted Dead” and especially the lighting-fast “Lords of Depravity” follow in the same footsteps. One of the cooler moments on this album is during “Axis of Evil” where he quickly shifts from a vicious riff to an undistorted, serene one within a matter of seconds ; a complete turn around that is a welcome change.
His solos, also, are of top quality. Just like on “M-16”, he wails all over the place. The whammy-bar dive bombing on “Wanted Dead” is not only by the books, but he mixes in some effects near the end to give off a slightly spaced-out feeling, which surprisingly makes it more enjoyable. Most of his solos are of that nature, except on tracks like “The Enemy Inside” and “City of God” where he incorporates some great use of melody on the solos to make them flow easier into the songs atmosphere. “Bibles and Guns” probably takes the cake for the best solo on this album, with a perfect switch off of insanity and tranquility.
Tom Angelripper’s vocals are still as they have been: rasped and cruel. While he isn’t as fanatic and psychotic as on “M-16”, he still does a great job here. His fast-talking approach on “Lords of Depravity” and “No Regrets” rockets the song forward, while his slower wail “Axis of Evil” give off a sickly feel. And while he doesn’t really go outside his vocal range on the melody infuses tracks like “Buried in the Justice Ground”, he doesn’t really have to since Bernemann matches his sound for him. He also uses an almost death-growl on the opener, which gives off a slight bit of insanity. But once again, the best work is on “Bibles and Guns”, since he seems to sound a bit annoyed and frustrated throughout the whole song, giving off a wonderful atmosphere. His bass work is also slightly better on this album, as more songs take a quick pause to let him throw out fills, like on “Bibles and Guns” and his slight mini-solo on “Axis of Evil”. But is it anything to gawk at? Not really; it’s just a nice change-up in the sound.
Tom’s lyrics aren’t nearly as creative as the last few albums, however. On “Lords of Depravity”, Tom shouts out the painfully dull lines of “Now I'll rape, I'll slash, I'll dominate, I will degrade”. Yawn. Honestly, it seems like he wants to fall into the stereotypical lyrical theme for thrash metal. I mean, with other lyrics such as “These haunting memories, The evil men are killing blindly” (“Blood On Your Lips”), it just doesn’t seem Tom is really trying compared to the ones that he had on “M-16”. But tracks like “Bibles and Guns” and “Law Down the Low” offer redemption. “Lay Down the Law” cries out : “So take my hand I'll be your guide, Bloodstains on the desert ground. On the battlefield of wrath, Who starts the war machine? ”. “Bibles and Guns”, yet again, has the best performance, mostly due to Tom’s annoyed voice when he shouts out:“When even life's collapse begins, it’s just what we need: bibles and guns!”.
But there are some small things that really keep this album down. For starters, most of these riffs, while unique in thrash, just don’t come close to most of their earlier material. And some of these songs fall into the repetitive factor, especially when “Nothing to Regret” and “Lords of Depravity” almost sound alike except for some melody on “No Regrets”. This could be blamed on Schottkowski’s drum work, since most of it is really the same. It’s not bad by any means; it’s quite good. But he uses the same beats for almost every song and they begin to all sound like one, giant blob. Not that good for a genre that is already criticized for its lack of song distinction. And “Blood on Your Lips”, while having great vocal work and an amazing intro, is by far one of Sodom’s worst attempts. For starters, it begins to become bland after the first minute, and it becomes a matter of “Damn, when is this over?!”. And the worst part is there’s not even a solo on that song, and when Bernemann doesn’t solo, the song loses some sense of being complete. And my biggest gripe about this album is that most of these songs, save “Bibles and Guns” and “City of God”, don’t really jump out at me. Everything else just feels good, but not great. A rather annoying factor coming from a band that previously released an album filled with 11 songs that I absolutely loved.
All in all, this is still a strong Sodom release. The guitar work is as strong as ever, Angelripper's vocals are still crisp, his bass playing has improved, and the songs are enjoyable. However, some repetitiveness and lack of stand-out songs really hamper the trip here. If you enjoy thrash, pick this up. If you’re looking to get into this band, I’d suggest starting with “Code Red” or “M-16”.
Overall Rating – 3.75/5 (75)
Bibles and Guns
City of God
Lords of Depravity
Lay Down the Law
If there is another stuff than washers or cars that Germany can do better than anyone else, it's of course thrash metal! And so Sodom comes into the picture as one of the biggest three Teutonic thrash metal bands, with their tenth album which is their self titled album.
There is nothing new here, it's the same old school thrash that we all fonds but with a great load of new and fresh riffs which keeps this album sounds raw and aggressive, as it should be. The first track 'Blood On Your Lips' opens with clean guitars but pretty fast the distorted guitars comes in and piercing the air like a buzz saw. 'Angelripper' adds a bit darkness within the atmosphere with his lethal vocals and violent approach. In the verses he sounds pretty reserved and so are the riffs, but in the chorus everything explodes out and release a pure rage from your speakers. There is also a nice bridge after the second chorus, it's a bit mid paced and keeps on aggressive sense with some inhaled vocals and raw riffing. Pretty good opener track, one of Sodom's best songs within the last years. 'Wanted Dead' is a bit let down, it's only concentrate with sounds angry, but it feels like it lacks a bit with heat and doesn't really impress you. 'Buried In The Justice Ground' is absolutely the best track from this album. It has a bit melodic sense within the riffing, and there is a bit variation within the vocals, it's also a pretty catchy track. 'City Of God' is another onslaught riffing track with harsh drumming and awesome lead guitar in the end which makes it sounds a bit fictitious.
Most of this album is built from a formula of mid paced verses and then straightforward choruses, and it works pretty well. 11 tracks within 43 minutes, and each one of them kicks ass in a different way, but not too much different because there isn't too much variation within the songs. If you like thrash and you want a proof that there are still new thrash albums out there which keeps the old school fashion of it, you can't miss this album.
Sodom has been consistent source of powerful and well-written thrash metal throughout their career. Their self-titled release is nothing but another chapter in their continuing journey towards creating a perfect thrash album. With revival releases in Code Red and M-16, thrash-goers saw Sodom push into a more modern sense of the music. The self-titled release even tops these two substantial albums.
Sodom is full of groove inspired thrash that continues to be heavy and fast but also reaches that “catchy” area of metal that is massively debated. Every song is very different sounding and a unique listen, but all the songs have a similar fashion so that the album has a cohesive nature to it. The guitars are heavy as hell and have a very menacing tinge to them. For a band with only one guitar player, the guitars are very full sounding and really help structure AND bridge sections of the music. Something that seems more “professional” bands have the ability to do. The drums are well thought out and avoid that metal cliché of double bass-ing the entire album. The bass is my one complaint (not writing-wise but production-wise) because it seems to be that the bass guitar is either too loud or melded with the guitar too much. Not a big deal as most of the time the bass guitar is a support unit for the rest of the music – I’m just being nitpicky because this album is so good.
As for Tom Angelripper’s vocals they are as sinister sounding as ever. Not quite as evil sounding as before (due to usually poor production values) but they are still in the realm of harsh thrash vocals. He even does a little variation (not that he was ever bad at doing that) and this is apparent even in the first song (Blood on Your Lips) when the first time a listener hears Tom, he is doing a whisper. Different – yes. Very cool – yes. Lyrically, Sodom are once again pulling in subjects of war and religion for the most part. There are times where they deviate to self-empowerment and violence in general (what metal band doesn’t nowadays?). The lyrics are still catchy (and fun to sing-a-long in public!) with that edge of intelligence that will make a listener think in the aftermath of listening to the album.
In the end, Sodom presents us with another brilliant thrash album. Generally, they have never presented us with a poor thrash album – but I believe that this self-titled release is one of the best that Sodom has ever released. It’s almost everything I expected and more. Sodom are going to have a tough time topping this album with their next.
Songs to check out: Blood on Your Lips, City of God, The Enemy Within.
For more than 25 tenebrous black years, these teutonic Lords of depravity have spread their sonic outbreak of evil and persecution mania. Founding member and blasphemer Thomas "Angelripper" Such has served as the critical crippler to all pretenders to the throne. The unholy trinity of Sodom has endured their own nuclear winter, which can be seen in graphic detail of their latest DVD. Having undergone several line-up changes over the years, all the while Sodom have continued their metallic conjuration and elixir of electrocution. This is their 11th studio release which honours the fourth consistent recording with the same band members: Bobby & Bernemann who once played in The Crows with the 90's era vocalist from Scanner. On their self-titled new CD, these freaks of nature lay down the law assuring that seekers of sodomy & lust get what they deserve, with nothing to regret. The production performed by the Powergod, fellows in misery, duo of Andy Brings & Haan Hartman, along with mastering by Achim Kohler, serves to make this lethal lead injection penetrate like a bullet in the head. The limited edition slipcase version even comes with a poster of the actual CD cover by Connie Kitscher reminding me of the artwork on Voi Vod's debut. Lyrically, Tom continues with his politoximaniac paradigm of war & pain, prurient pleasures, raging violence, and forsworn, foul verbal conflagration.
The CD commences with an acoustic flamenco flourish for "Blood on Your Lips", while Tom intonates his brooding & bellicose kamikaze terrorizer chant. There are serious Slayer riffs throughout this CD and the "DSM" manual is easily accessed on this masquerade in blood. "Wanted Dead" decimates and delights in slaying with it's own deathlike silence during the seasons of the abyss where Hell awaits. "Buried in the Justice Ground" is classic Sodom with the mid-paced Motorhead and Tank tributes similar to "Tombstone" from Code Red or "Napalm in the Morning" from M-16. One very unique quality on this CD is the melodic death witching metal analogies. "City of God" could easily be an Arch Enemy song. I had to check the booklet to see if Michael Amott made a guest appearance as the guitar solo on this song is so similar. Tom does his fair share of Tom Araya associations all through out this CD, but on this track he sounds just like the sepulchral voice of Angela. This is why the frozen screams of Sodom appeal to both brain dead thrashers obsessed by cruelty and soldiers of death metal mayhem, seeking distraught souls skinned alive during hunting season, searching for their bloody body parts in the sign of evil.
Old school bay area thrash hooks perniciously pervade as Sodom opens the grave to see what Hell can create for Heathens, ensuring "No Captures". The seeds of hate are sown 'til death do us part, as Sodom serrates and continues tapping the vein of Exodus; since the saw is the law! I'm also punctured by the shattered existence of Xentrix, those Ghostbusters whose black embrace maintains the balance of power. Tom tends to frequently narrate on this CD, which exemplifies his fascination for warlike conspiracy on tracks like Axis of Evil and the Enemy Inside.
Overall, listening to these experts of sodomy play on this CD is like being cast into perdition for 1000 days in Sodom. As the wanted dead beats whip and lash your back, you recall Christ's passion, on his procession to Golgatha, you feel like an animal enduring abuse in the exhibition bout, or like the little boy who was a vicious victim of incest, now dwelling in the city of God. With patriotic pride you revere the Marines who suffered from shellshock and Agent Orange, and who are buried in the justice ground, as you remember the fallen, of those gone to glory. Eventually, you will feel the blood on your lips as you raise the iron fist of fury, for listening to the sounds of Sodom all these years has become my atonement and my mettle resurrection.
Sodom. It's been 5 years since their last album, the highly-accomplished "M-16". After the thrash assault that "M-16" was, it's gotten pretty silent around these 3 guys from Germany, until last summer, where rumors about a new albulm started to circulate around the internet.
I (and many fans for that matter) have been waiting for this album for quite some time and now, that I finally got my hands on it, I can say that...well, I'm disappointed.
The first notable weakness is already the album's production. Don't get me wrong, it's well balanced and everything can be heard well(except for the bass, I'll dig into that later) but the problem is the guitar tone. The high distortion level is quite irritiating and the guitar lacks the ballsy sound they had on their earlier albums.
Sadly, the guitars do not only lack a good sound, there are also not enough memorable riffs in here. There are a few very fast and riffladen tracks (the Slayer-inspired "City of God" and most parts of "Blood on Your Lips" come to mind) but the slower ones tend to drag on for too long, relying too much on a few lackluster powerchord-structures. There IS good riffage here and there, but I don't think it's a good thing when you have to dig through the rather large amount of mediocre riffs to find a few great ones.
Tom, why did you turn down the bass volume? He always had a great bass sound, it was very crushing and added quite a bit to Sodom's level of aggressiveness. Now it's only barely audible.
Tom's vocals? He's still capable of very aggressive thrash style vocals, but he rarely uses deeper vocal work anymore, which is a shame. A good comparison would be Destruction's Schmier, but Tom does not quite reach his level of skill. Remember how effective his growl was on Agent Orange and Tapping the Vein?
Well, they are gone. One more thing: Tom, please stop narrating/whispering. It doesn't suit your band. He especially does this towards the end of the album. It's a minor fault, but annoying nonetheless.
The drumming is typical Sodom, it's nothing exceptional, but it fits well.
There are some improvements after all: The band sounds tighter overall. Sodom were often accoused of being "too sloppy" for their own good and I can see why, but this time around, the musicianship has been improved a few notches. This is especially notable in the guitar work, the soloing is very good and the rhythm section is quite competent. If it wasn't for that grating guitar tone and the lack of killer riffage...
Well, enough complaining, buried under all these minor and major faults, there is still a good thrash album, just to remind us that Sodom are still around and kicking.
Still, f you're looking for a well-written, neckbreaking and memorable modern thrash album, you're better off with Destruction's "Inventor of Evil".
City of God
Lords of Depravity
Bibles and Guns
Disclaimer: If you're still expecting your Thrash to have the riffs and style of Persecution Mania, Extreme Aggression, Show No Mercy, Bonded in Blood and Infernal Overkill, you'd always be dissapointed. Thrash has evolved a lot over the years and has branched out into Death Metal and Power/Speed. Very few bands still make Thrash in the light of the 80's scene and Sodom is definately one of them.
Sodom have been consistently releasing albums over the years, that can be categorized from tolerable and decent to good and solid. For a lot of people, Sodom died after Agent Orange or Better off Dead. However, a lot of people were surprised by M-16, which was a lot better than, let's say, Masquerade In Blood but it didn't really do it for me.
Coming to this album now, my first impression of the self-titled album that I got from listening to the first track was of exactly what I wanteded to feel. It started off brilliantly with some acoustics followed by heavy, chunky riffing and the next few seconds started to set me up with the whispering vocals followed by the onslaught. It was a more than decent Thrash song. I immediately got into it. Blood on your Lips has got a good solo, too. A good Thrash track, overall and a good way to kick off an album.
One thing I can say about this album is that it doesn't lack aggression - the key element of good Thrash. Tom Angelripper can still deliver some killer vocals and that helps a lot, especially since the guitar isn't AS strong with the riffs as I'd personally like it to be at times. For instance, in City of Gods, which is a mellow, melodic song. Wanted Dead, however, is a fucking strong track, followed by the more melodic Buried in the Justice Ground.
By now, you'd be getting comfortable with the album. Sodom didn't want that though and the next track, Bibles and Guns would fucking but a bullet through your head - it's that good! You'd start to fall in love with this album now. This album is closer to old school German Thrash than anything else I've heard in recent times! This is Extreme Aggression madness! The flying Sodom-style solos will just own you. All the remaining tracks are more than just good, solid Thrash Metal songs - they teleport you back to the time when Thrash was Godly.
So why did I rate this so high? Is it because Sodom is one of my all-time favourite bands? Maybe. Is it because this is the best Thrash Metal album of recent times. HELL YES! A couple of tracks and a couple of riffs here and there are a bit too melodic for my taste but it's good they're very few and not very dominant. Sodom are back from the dead and this album definitely lives up to it's name.