In November 2019 after some radical line-up changes, Sodom releases EP Out Of The Frontline Trench – to show “a sign of life for the fans” and generate some heat for the next album. I need to say that the band succeeded and this EP impressed a lot of people. Now, keeping their promises, the band releases their 16th album, Genesis XIX.
According to tradition or due to some other circumstances, there were some line-up changes this year too: drummer Stefan “Husky” Hüskens was replaced by Toni Merkel behind the kit. The rest of the band still in place: guitarists Yorck Segath and Frank “Blackfire” Gosdzik (who played on legendary Persecution Mania and Agent Orange). And, of course, Uncle Tom Angelripper responsible for vocals and bass; seems that this immortal thrasher will play on my funeral when my time will come!
The band still manages to reproduce “exactly that one” old school Thrash Metal sound without being trivial or cliché: Toni, which gained a lot of experience of producing and sound engineering, had a hand in this. Furthermore, Sodom principally don’t use the modern digital effects, recording their instruments and mixing their albums with analogue equipment – yeah, old school approach.
Genesis XIX is Teutonic Thrash Metal, obviously, but Sodom masterfully blends it with some other extreme genres’ elements like Doom or Death Metal, which enhance the aggression and brutality of Thrash but not prevail in no way. “Dehumanized” for example starts with dismal Doom intro and mighty bass, then the music goes to “classic” Thrash and the chorus takes music to Death. The same blending of Thrash and Death is also presents in the first (if I remember right) Sodom‘s song in their native language, “Nicht Mehr Mein Land”; German adds some additional brutality to it. “Indoctrination” in its turn mixes Thrash and Punk – as the result we have a fast, aggressive song with relatively simple riffs but still impressive.
However, in this album we can mostly hear exactly what was expected from Sodom: incredibly fast, hefty and aggressive Thrash. Yorck and Frank “Blackfire”‘s playing contribute to this a lot: fast riffs, screeching solos and recognizable hooks make “that one” Sodom which fans were waiting for.
The first single “Sodom & Gomorrah” showed greatly what to expect from Genesis XIX and you can easily believe it: the other 10 songs and formidable instrumental “Blind Superstition” will not disappoint! In fast “Euthanasia” Tom spits out the words like a machine-gun, while the chorus adds more aggression to the music. The main “Genesis XIX” we heard on previous EP and it was included in this album without any changes: slow Doom intro, drums raise the pace and soon everything becomes Thrash that takes no prisoners, where Tom growls or screams from time to time, reminding his namesake from Slayer a little bit; while in hurricane “Glock N’ Roll”, which tells the story of a serial killer, Tom sings mockingly and ominously at the same time.
Seven minutes long “The Harpooner”, based on “Moby Dick” also starts slow and grim, but gains heaviness and pace soon. Nevertheless, the music reduces the tempo a little bit in chorus and there even some melody can be heard. However, this song was too much long as for me and in some point you get a little bit tired of it, while in the “Genesis XIX”, which lasts about seven minutes also, it doesn’t happen. “Waldo & Pigpen” (American pilots’ codenames) brings back the Vietnam War topic, doing it with crushing heaviness – Toni Merkel’s drums here are off the charts.
And the album ends with merciless Teutonic Thrash song “Friendly Fire”, with great riffs, blast beast, memorable chorus and anger with despair in Tom’s voice.
Well, Sodom did not fail again: Genesis XIX sounds powerful, aggressive, and recognizable and it isn’t boring or trivial even a bit. Whatever they say, the line-up changes and fresh blood were good for the band. I think I am right in saying that this album will get into many Top-10 of 2020 – and it will be in mine for sure. So now we should only wait for the concerts to hear these songs live.
Genesis XIX will be released on November, 27 via Steamhammer.
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