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Good thrash that's more death than thrash at times - 90%

Noktorn, February 6th, 2008

I am admittedly very poorly versed in classic thrash metal, and I'm even more poorly versed in the 'crucial' releases of Sodom; so much so that this is actually the only album of theirs I own. I know that it's a really good one, though. 'Tapping The Vein' seems to be one of the more underrated Sodom albums, but I can't really propose any reason why, apart from there being more famous and ostensibly important albums by the band out there. This is very heavy and intense thrash, which does appeal a bit more to a death metaller like me who doesn't particularly like Exodus or Anthrax. I've always been drawn more to Teutonic thrash metal than most American bands, and Sodom is effectively cemented as my favorite.

The music on this album, for the most part, seems extremely fast, despite operating at a lower tempo than most death and black metal bands. Very aggressive, uptempo thrash beats dominate the drumming, with a feel like they're constantly leaning forward and might collapse at any time. The effect is aided by the riffing, which alternates between speedy and vicious tremolo interesting (very excellent) and mid-paced thrash power chords (not very interesting). I've never been big on the archtypical 'thrash break'; it generally just ruins the flow of the song for me, which is why I appreciate songs where they're brief and kept to a minimum, like opener 'Body Parts'. Another element I enjoy a lot: the very harsh, verging on death growl vocals of Angelripper, which sort of sound like the most brutal singing that could be found on a Dark Angel album. No good-time shouts? Sign me right up.

The only time Sodom really falters is on slow songs which seem unnecessary in the context of the album, like 'One Step Over The Line' which honestly sounds like a Metallica b-side, and 'Reincarnation', though to a lesser degree. When the tempo is up, so is the quality, even on 'happier' songs like 'Wachturm', which might be the catchiest song in the history of metal. Essentially every track is a standout (which is a pretty surprising feat on its own), but the best are easily 'Body Parts', 'Skinned Alive', and the titanic of utterly BRUTAL thrash, 'The Crippler'. 'Once you cross the line/I will break your spine... THE CRIPPLAH! (THE CRIPPLAH)'. Indeed, Tom. Indeed.

There's a bunch of other great, underrated songs as well: 'Hunting Season', 'Back To War', 'Bullet In The Head', etc. They're all packed with great riffs, great, really memorable vocal patterns, and spirited, intense drumming. This is probably some of the best thrash out there; at least as far as my tastes go. It's heavy and riffy and verges on death metal at places, which is generally how I like my thrash, and it never makes me feel like I should go out and get a beer with my bros before getting ritually sodomized to get in some heavy metal frat. On that note, Municipal Waste is apparently throwing an AWESOME kegger that I just HAVE to be at!