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You can say what you want but Sodom were the only ones of the German trio to have conserved a primordial brutality even during the thrash period of crises and chaos. Kreator and Destruction reached levels of pure shame with weak or, at best, not thrash metal efforts while these undying thrash metal worshippers didn’t care about anything, following the path to extremism that has always been their most important characteristic. This Tapping The Vein was put out in a period in which more or less every “old” thrash metal band was going crazy for stopped chords sounds and sluggish, crappy groove influences. This album is a step further in extremism by Sodom, being far more brutal than Better Off Dead and the releases by the end of the 80s.
It can be seen as a continuation of the early efforts because it shows a band that has recovered in primordial heaviness, forgetting awhile the more mature and less impulsive influences of the last period. So, this album is, to me, somehow more bound to a general form of early death metal because here the band took the classic Sodom thrash metal (already not the smartest one) to bring it to another level of brutality and nastiness. The band is again truly belligerent, angry and rawer. The production is awesome to me and supports the violence of the instruments in a perfect way, giving them a clear cut they deserve, conserving that raw touch that contributes in creating a truly gloom and devastating air of nuclear devastation.
The general tempo on the album is the up one and the first tracks don’t make sense in speed. They are angry, devastating and pounding. The riffs are truly pissed off and simple but extremely catchy. “Body parts” and “Skinned Alive” are just amazing in their schizophrenic, relentless tempo while “One Step Over The Line” is the first mid paced stop. Witchhunter does a great work here. He is always precise, quite inventive and most of all total impact. When he comes for the up tempo, the speed is unbelievable. As you can listen, the guitar distortion is far different from any Sodom release and it’s far more primordial and raw, following the dry out drums sound and the more suffocated vocals by Tom. His vocals on this album are truly massive, black oriented and nasty like in early 80s style.
Check the tremolo picking united to the palm muting riffs and the fast bass drum parts united to the up tempo on “Deadline” and you will to thank me. The violence is unbelievable and this time none can stop Sodom from destroying our poor ears. So, without hesitations we jump on the punkish thrash violence of “Bullet in The Head” and the death/thrash primordial sounds of the massive, gloom “The Crippler”. The violence reaches level of madness but we can’t stop our march because going on listening to these violent outputs, you want more and more and “Wachturm” is here to fill our veins of insanity through lots of punkish/black/thrash riffs and mosh tempo. We are not already stuffed, so we continue with the darker march of the title track that increases the speed, alternating up tempo parts to sudden stops for the refrain.
In “Back to War” the most violent side arises again and the bass drum work is again pounding with lots of galloping parts and an easily recognizable refrain/verse. “Hunting Season” is again fast, displaying no compromise parts and a good alternation of open chords riffs to palm muting. “Reincarnation”, in its dark, slow and apocalyptic march is even welcomed because at the end you are truly devastated and woozy. Anyway, the keyboards parts are well mixed with a more suggestive and unearthly atmosphere. All in all, this album remains one of the most violent efforts by this band and a lesson in heaviness to all those “no more thrash bands” of that period. Sodom are here to stay.