Sodom – “Decision Day” (Steamhammer / SPV)
Under the reign of founder bassist / vocalist ‘Onkel’ Tom Angelripper, Sodom has remained one of the cornerstones of German thrash, along with Destruction and Kreator. Like their peers, they’ve had to evolve with time but of the three, I’d say that Angelripper and his boys have branched out the least, pretty much remaining true to their thrash roots and delivering consistently. Naturally, over the years they’ve become better musicians, not to mention acquired heaps of experience along the way, and its reflected in the composing and sound quality of the songs. “Decision Day” is the band’s fifteenth studio album and pretty much encapsulates this. While Angelripper’s raw, screeching vocals remain as distinct now as when as I first heard “In the Sign of Evil”, things have come a long way thanks to the musclebound but dexterous guitar work of Bernemann, whose mean riffs are superbly contrasted by his flamboyant soloing and catchy licks. Held together by Markus Freiwald’s equally fierce but technical drumming, Sodom are an airtight trio bar none! Of course, while the likes of ‘Vaginal Born Evil‘ take me back to those early days, the band show their song writing maturity on ‘Blood Lions’ which covers trophy hunting and ‘Rolling Thunder’, which deals with D Day. Personally, I think Sodom are at their best when covering socio-political issues such as on ´Belligerence`, in which Angelripper offers his scathing critique of current international events. So with plenty of hostility and speed, Sodom aren’t afraid to mix in melodies to enhance the atmosphere of their music, and this adds the right epic vibe especially to the historical material they cover. With an excellent ‘big’ sound courtesy of Cornelius ´Corny` Rambardt, who also doubles as the drummer of Angelripper’s side project Onkel Tom, ´Knarrenheinz` one again graces the cover, this time brought to life by legendary Joe Petagno on yet another quality serving from these veteran German thrashers!