Released by: SPV/Steamhammer
Released on: August 26th, 2016.
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In the pocket.
German thrashers SODOM, much like the legendary MOTÖRHEAD before the death of figurehead Lemmy late last year, have been in a bit of a sweet spot for the last ten years. Ever since their eponymous 2006 release, this Kraut collective has been delivering extremely consistent CDs.
Early SODOM was the gnarliest and most untamed of beasts. A brilliant mixture of unbridled incompetence married to vicious aggression that made classic VENOM sound entirely professional, they were a classic love it or hate it proposition. Their peers DESTRUCTION and TANKARD had better musical chops and KREATOR were more focused, but SODOM had that HELLHAMMER wtf "let's all party and thrash with Satan in hell" thing in spades. SODOM's Lemmy - Tom "Angelripper" Such - who has controlled the band since the beginning and now remains the sole original member and Godhead, experimented with various changes in sound over the years and the technical level consequently went up. From the more focused thrash of the later 80's and the "Agent Orange" era to the straighter power metal stylings of "Better Off Dead" leading into to the punk-thrash 90's period, SODOM have never stagnated under Tom's leadership.
"Decision Day" finds SODOM in fine, murderous fettle. Angelripper's throaty vocal rasp and trademark powerful bass playing married to ripping riffs and galloping drums are all here. Modern SODOM is all about pacing and opener "In Retribution" is the record's epic at over six minutes. This is quickly followed by my personal favorite "Rolling Thunder" which is a damn catchy thrash monster that has a melodic middle section that evokes the satanic majesty of "My Atonement" from their 1987 mini Lp. "Decision Day" is a more of a mid-paced cruncher while "Caligula" is another album highlight: a two ton rumbler with lots of fat bottom end, amusing metal history class lyrics about the decadent Roman emperor and Tom's memorable vocal stretching of the word Caligula into multiple syllables.
There really isn't a bad track on this thing and it's worth noting - especially considering SODOM's early rep - how strong the musicianship is here. "Who Is God?" has some pretty tricky tempo changes, and "Strange Lost World" features some unusually tight and ultra-heavy three man playing that recalls BLACK SABBATH at their later period heaviest. Extra special props to drummer Markus Freiwald are due as well. This guy's damn good with a great propulsive style that's fast but focused with some carefully judged bits of flash on the musical margins. No faults on the production either - this has a nice organic feel and the occasional musical fx like the right-left speaker panning in "Vaginal Born Evil" (song title of the decade!) are handled deftly.
The album technically ends with the unusually devil-worshipping "Refused To Die" with its medieval chanting that harkens back to SODOM's early lyrical obsessions before they became the "war" band they are now. The iTunes version includes the zippy "Predatory Instinct" which really should be a feature of the regular edition since it's a very strong track.
Those with deep pockets can grab the Japanese import which has a bonus live DVD.
Final thoughts? This is great stuff. Highly recommended and all that. SODOM and Tom Angelripper are metal royalty at this point. This is another top flight thrash release with all the crucial areas delivering in spades.