Sodom - Sodom - SPV Records 2006
Running Time: 43:06
My first experience with German thrash gods Sodom was 1989's landmark Agent Orange. Fast forward through numerous lineup changes, a couple live albums, and now 2006's eponymous platter, and you'll find that, despite the passing of two and a half decades since their inception, nothing much has changed. Sure, the production has improved dramatically, but chalk that up to technological advances. The past decade has seen the formation of the band's first solid lineup probably ever, and in that time, a sense of melody has crept into Sodom (mostly due to the skillful razor-slash of Bernemann's solos). For all that, though, Sodom is still the ragged, raw champion of Teutonic thrash metal sans colourful adjectives.
If anything, Tom's voice has gotten more powerful through the years, putting to shame younger neo-thrash pretenders in the venomous delivery of "Blood On Your Lips". The mid-paced chug of "Wanted Dead"'s intro soon gets slammed to the concrete with a Slayerized onslaught, complete with flailing, caterwauling leads and warp-speed skinbashing, and "City Of God" blasts with uncontrolled fervour. Even the new, revamped Kreator doesn't sound this alive. Sodom has often covered political topics in their songs, tossing in a few with every album, and more than a few in others (Agent Orange and M16 come to mind first). Still, Angelripper knows he's not going to bridge the political divide with metal. What Sodom does is present a blue collar perspective on world events, tossing out the Dubya-inspired "Bibles And Guns" and "Axis Of Evil" as everyman, not as a Jello Biafra for the denim and leather set. The latter is assuredly one of the best cuts on Sodom, crunch and snarl working together with riffed-out stomp, and leaving a trail of blood behind. Ending with "The Enemy Inside".
After twenty-five years with neither an "extended hiatus" nor breakup, it's safe to say the Teutonic Three have seen trends come and go, while holding fast to Thrash Metal with the tenacity of a junkyard Rottweiler. Judging by the sound of Sodom, it doesn't look like they're letting go anytime soon.