Sodom – Epitome of Torture
Release Date: April 26, 2013, May 17 (N.A.)
When the going gets tough, the tough get thrashing. That seems to be the key to success and the sheer awesomeness that so many old thrash bands have stuck to. Sodom is not excluded. Sodom, sweet Sodom, ever so reliable and happily predictable. They’re the thrash equivalent of your favorite concert t-shirt. It’s always there for you, it’s comfortable, beer soaked and you go way way back together.
To date I never had to waste time worrying if they would start exploring jazz fusion, ambient soundscapes or become self-important about the message in their music. No sir, Sodom was just Sodom. Thankfully, the comforting non-progression continues on Epitome of Torture, their fourteenth platter, almost without exception. They continue to deliver their battle-tested (and themed) thrash lunacy. I guess a good description of Sodom‘s sound would be the clean sound of Ride The Lightning-era Metallica with the angriness of pre-1991 Megadeth. That’s simply a recipe for greatness. So let me get straight to the point … with Epitome of Torture, one can clearly say that this is Sodom in their most destructive, meanest, fastest and furious form to date.
Kicking off with a grand thrash number, “My Final Bullet”, the album gets a perfect start with a dulcet clean melody which turns into the main riff that a thrash fan will simply adore. The song is loaded with guitar harmonies and melodic sections, and at the same time delivers total no-nonsense thrash with its cult up-tempo verse riff. The album enters into its mosh-prone zone with the tracks “S.O.D.O.M”, “Epitome Of Torture” and “Stigmatized”. These are those bone-crushing thrash songs which made my wait of three years of total worth. I mean, give me Markus “Makka” Freiwald‘s blastbeats, give me Bernd “Bernemann” Kost‘s machine gun riffs, give me Tom Angelripper’s raspy vocals, rumbling bass-lines and give me a pitcher of beer: I’m totally on for a crazy headbanging session. These songs are no doubt among the best works of Sodom.
The album takes a very peculiar bounce with the track “Cannibal”, the afore-alluded to exception. It has got a sort of melodic and groovy touch to it and the riffs are very progressive in nature, something that groove lovers would cherish. It’s a very different approach taken by Sodom, and certainly not a bad one. “Shoot Today Kill Tomorrow” and “Katjuschka” bring us back to pure Teutonic Thrash mode with the aggression-laden progressions that they offer throughout, whereas “Into The Skies Of War” gives us the 80’s hard rock sound with the brilliant guitar riffs that it offers. ‘Into The Skies Of War’, being a radio-friendly track, offers us kickass main riff and a pretty catchy chorus. Tom seems to be at his best with simply awesome vocal delivery. From laying the words on the music to a tremendous voice texture to covering a good range, his performance has been ace.
The only two songs which disappoint me on the album are “Invokating The Demons”, a melodic track which carries a heavy power metal-ish essence, and “Tracing The Victim”, which consists of low-tempo paced progressions which possess strong modern sounding melodic punches, something which I would not like in a Sodom record.
The album has many dimensions; most of the tracks stick to the trademark Sodom sound, ending up being a treat for the fans while many tracks have got something totally new to offer. The highlight of this album is clearly the maniacal guitar work along with Thrash-style vocals that fit the music perfectly. This is an extremely guitar-oriented album, if there ever was one. Sodom is a band that have never been too proud or overconfident. They have always followed a pragmatic approach, and that is what makes them good! This is yet another slab of righteous, riotous thrash with tons of hooks, and it demands the horns be raised high in homage. And yes, those Germans are still around and are still releasing devastating stuff.