Sodom – Genesis XIX

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Let me start with the basics. Huge foul from Tom Angelripper when, with a message via WhatsApp (!), he fired guitarist Bern “Bernemann” Kost (since 1996 in the band) and drummer Markus “Makka” Freiwald (since 2010 in the band) because he wanted to avoid possible routine and preferred to continue with young, hungry musicians and on top of that as a quartet.

So, let me admit that guitarist Yorck Segatz and drummer Toni Merkel (nothing to do with the well-known, I guess) are something like that. But drummer Stefan “Husky” Hüskens (who was replaced by Merkel)? Frack “Blackfire” Gosdzik who played in the band in the period 1987-1989 (and in Kreator between 1989-1996)? Is he young and hungry? I don’t think so. Wrong decision and stupid excuse, no doubt.

But let’s focus on the music. The last two years for the German thrashers have been very productive. Initially, they released a bunch of EPs. Four in particular. These include new songs (some of which are here), live performances of older ones as well as covers. I didn’t listen to any of them and just waited for full-length, number sixteen in their history, to have a complete opinion.

And this is that I don’t like it. At all. In these pages, I have praised the latest works of Sodom as they are one of the bands I love. But here I miss a lot of things, the most important being Bernemann’s guitar work. The guitars do not sound so…menacing to me, the characteristic riffs that marked the last twenty years of the band are absent (especially in the killer and brutal mid-tempo parts) and the approach of the songs is towards an old-school speed/black direction. Something they always had in them, but here it comes out even more. The album is mostly on fast tempos, but the compositions sound quite typical, simplistic, as if written in a hurry.

Angelripper of course does not hold back and continues to scream like a maniac, but is it enough? I would easily exchange the songs that last six and seven minutes for no reason, the many pointless solos that the album has as well as the few blast beats (!) to listen to more memorable riffs and a better production, since I believe they deliberately made it old-fashioned. Did they become nostalgic? To hear it from many worthless bands, yes. But from Sodom?

In conclusion, this is first time in a Sodom release that not a single song remained in my mind, as many times as I have heard it. With the promo photos for the album being ridiculous and with an approach to the songs as if they are a generic thrash band that they have just learned to play music, the Germans disappoint me for the first time.