Review by Greg Cadman
You’d be surprised at how well classic extreme metal acts have aged. Many of our favourite death metal acts are still releasing quality material, and the same is true for many of the thrash bands of the 1980s. Testament, Kreator, Exodus, Anthrax, Destruction and Megadeth to name a handful have been on fire these last few years, and German veterans Sodom, now on their fourteenth album, are no exception.
Any Sodom fan will surely lap up every minute of Epitome of Torture; the kind of people who like this sort of music aren’t looking for cutting-edge innovation or the start of the next new movement. This album ticks every box in the thrash metal requirement form and then some. Like riffs? It’s your lucky day. Got a soft spot for a good solo? You got it. Thrash metal bands aren’t known for deviating from the formula laid down (usually by themselves) decades ago, but it’s one that’s served them well all this time. That said, this does not mean this is just another trudging, faceless riff-romp.
Like any of the Motorhead albums released in the past 10 years – or indeed most recent efforts by fellow thrash bands – Sodom somehow feel fresh and inspired, which is mighty impressive for a band on their 14th album. This could easily be the first, second or third album by a young band who worshipped the Teutonic titans as teenagers. It’s pretty amazing to think that many bands whose heydays were twenty to thirty years ago are now on top form, rejuvenated with a new sense of purpose and at a new creative high.
While credit must be given where due, the latter half of this album is not quite as immediate and engaging as the first. Songs are slower and a little more melodic, but less dynamic. The highlights of this record are surely the opening few numbers, ‘My Final Bullet’ and ‘S.O.D.O.M.’, the title track and ‘Stigmatized’ would sit comfortably amongst any thrash fan’s favourites and are likely to be staples in the band’s live setlist for a while; the riffs are razor-sharp and vocalist Tom Angelripper sounds as urgent as ever. Yes, Epitome of Torture is business as usual for these Germans, but they’re on a good day and relishing every moment while they still can.
8 out of 10
- My Final Bullet
- Epitome Of Torture
- Shoot Today – Kill Tomorrow
- Invocating The Demons
- Into The Skies Of War
- Tracing The Victim
- Waterboarding (Bonus track)
- Splitting The Atom (Bonus track)