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Proved Wrong - 89%

BarkievonSchnauser, July 5th, 2007

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.