Thursday, 16 May 2013
Review; Sodom - Epitome Of Torture
1. The Final Bullet
3. Epitome Of Torture
6. Shoot Today - Kill Tomorrow
7. Invocating The Demons
9. Into The Skies Of War
10. Tracing The Victim
Teutonic thrashers Sodom have delivered this, their 14th album 'Epitome Of Torture' and they make no qualms about the fact that they are a thrash band. Straight from the off, there are fast tempos, relentless riffs, and screamed vocals. It's a very familiar formula, but it'd be difficult to be wholly original within the thrash metal sub-genre so long since it's inception. Naturally then, there is a big feeling of nostalgia, but this is a band continuing what they've been doing since 1981, and they do it well. There are plenty of solid riffs throughout the album, particularly in the title song and the speed metal riff in 'Stigmatized' that sounds like it could've come right from the Persecution Mania sessions.
Sole remaining original band member, vocalist and bass player Tom Angelripper is clearly the driving force in the band, and his vocal style on this album is versatile, at least as thrash bands generally go. His snarled vocals are still present and evergreen, but there are also plainer screams and shouts on songs like 'The Final Bullet' and 'Cannibal' that aren't overly different from what we hear from Tom Araya of Slayer. The music itself is pretty much traditional thrash metal fare; guitar solos are where you expect them, the speed stays up most of the time, and listening to it incurs the urge to bang your head or jump into a mosh pit.
Sodom are of course one of the Big Three of Teutonic Thrash Metal alongside Kreator and Destruction, both of whom have released brilliant albums recently (Check out Kreator's album Phantom Antichrist and Destruction's album Spiritual Genocide) and it does strike me while listening to Epitome Of Torture that it's not of the same quality as the recent output by the other two aforementioned bands.
It's not a bad album; Sodom have always been a reliable band in their studio output, and have cast a long shadow of influence over both the early Death Metal and Black Metal scenes, but this album doesn't seem to have enough hard-hitting songs to make it a great album. There are some quality tunes on here; 'Shoot Today - Kill Tomorrow' and 'Invocating The Demons' being my favourites, but while through the rest of the album there are good riffs and little moments, it too often feels mediocre. 'Katjuschka' is one song on the album that is just plain generic and forgettable.
One song that does hook itself into the brain with no mercy is the penultimate song 'Into The Skies Of War' which is simply gargantuan. This itself is a catch-22, because I find it very frustrating that there is such an amazing song that shows the band still has the ability to write razor-sharp tunes but the rest of the album is littered with blunt moments. At the end of the day though, it is an enjoyable listen, but not really an essential one. You'll bang your head, you might scream along with it, but it's not going to be your most listened to album of the year unless you're the biggest Sodom fan on Earth. Nevertheless, I'm keeping my fingers crossed for a Kreator, Destruction and Sodom tour! C'mon guys, make it happen!