Release DetailsLABEL SPV
RELEASED ON 5/9/2006
posted on 5/2006 By:
I’ve always had a special place in my heart for Sodom. Like their fellow countrymen Kreator, Sodom emerged from the nascent early eighties German scene playing a meaner, faster form of metal that was far more brutal than what was going on in the States at that time. Along with Sepultura, both bands would somewhat temper that proto death metal assault in the late eighties by adding more groove elements, thus marking the transition to the soon to erupt worldwide thrash scene. But, despite a very similar sound and Kreator’s incestuous habit of swiping Sodom guitarists, there were some differences between the two.
Unlike the pure strain of aggressive thrash Kreator would come to popularize, Sodom always had a big Venom/Motorhead influence. Of course the cover of Motorhead’s “Iron Fist” on the classic Persecution Mania album makes this influence all too clear but not a single Sodom album goes by without a few dirty rock ‘n roll romps. Another difference was that, despite the evaporation of thrash metal’s popularity in the mid nineties, Sodom never “experimented” with slower, pop metal material like Kreator and almost every other famous metal band from the eighties. Instead they single mindedly stuck with their speedy thrash attack, which after the seminal Agent Orange, has ranged in quality from decent to arguably great in the form of 1999’s Code Red.
On this latest effort we find Sodom doing what they do best if in a bit different way. First the low end crunch they’ve been using on the last few albums is gone in favor of a much cleaner tone. Whether this is a positive or negative really depends on which sound you prefer but to my ears it sounds slightly anemic, lacking the solid bass backbone of past releases, but still pretty meaty.
Another change is the overall pace of the album. Maybe old age is finally setting in or they finally got bored playing the same thing but, outside of rippers like “Wanted Dead” and “Lords Of Depravity”, the majority of songs never even come close to the typical speed Sodom usually operates at. Instead we get plenty of mid-paced cuts that stay true to their trash roots with big grooves and solid lead guitar accents but fail to bring the level of ferocity usually associated with this band. Once again this can be looked at as a positive or negative. On the positive side it allows them to bring some more distinct riffing and intricacy to their song craft but on the negative it doesn’t pack the overwhelming punch of their best work.
Lastly, they seemed to ditch the rock n’ roll thing completely. I’m guessing they did it on purpose as it wouldn’t fit the mood of this record but it’s surely missed. It’s always been an element of their style I’ve enjoyed but I understand the need to maintain an overall feel and not just toss a random song on there at the end (which Sodom has done quite frequently!).
One interesting twist, found on “Lay Down The Law”, is the incorporation of a more traditional black metal songwriting style of blurred minor chords spilling into each other with a wave of tremolo picking washing over it. This is something totally new for them and, coupled with a different vocal approach than Angelripper’s typical thrash bark, makes for one of the most unique songs on the disc. Whether it’s a harbinger of a style shift in their future or flash in the pan remains to be seen but it’s not totally unwelcome here.
This is a slower, more sedate Sodom than I’m used to but it’s still a well written thrash record with plenty of head bangin’ riffs even if your head is moving a little slower than in the past. And although I’m not a huge fan of some of the changes they’ve made on this record, it might appeal more to fans that enjoy a less extreme version of thrash. Due to this I would say this release isn't essential but if you’re a fan of this band or style of music you’ll find plenty to like here.
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Epitome Of Torture
In War and Pieces
The Final Sign Of Evil
Lords Of Depravity Volume I (2 DVDs)
One Night in Bangkok