SODOM - M16
November 27, 2001, 17 years ago
Been sitting with half the album for over a month now, eagerly awaiting the rest of the war-themed platter which Tom Angelripper insists isn't a Vietnam War concept record (see full Sodom interview in BWBK #56). While much of the subject matter deals with said conflict - including Robert Duval's famous speech from Apocalypse Now, prior to 'Napalm In The Morning' - the disc is comprised of ten originals and a cover of 'Surfin Bird', serving as a paean to one of the US soldiers' favorite pastime in Southeast Asia, during the late '60s, early '70s. Musically, except for Tapping The Vein, Sodom and mainstay Angelripper have always remained true, varying little from the fast, violent music characterizing their In The Sign Of Evil debut two decades ago! The musicianship and production have progressed, but the harsh, raspy vocals and primitive attitude (thankfully!) persist. The military theme has also been a long-running theme in Sodom, but never as cohesive, from start to finish. The tracks inhabit one of two modes, either jackhammering speed or a grinding mid-tempo. Most opt for the latter, but all feature moments of the former. 'Lead Injection' and 'I Am The War' are both full bore, while the aforementioned 'Napalm' begins with a solo acoustic guitar, before adding a grittier noise (an intro that was left off the advance copy). The album starts with a crisp roll of military snare, leading directly into 'Among The Weirdkong'. The frequently used expression, "machine gunning guitars," takes on an entirely new meaning in this context. A snippet of Eastern rhythms can be heard prior to 'Marines', which touches on various battles that branch of the US armed services have fought in. Not sure how others (especially Germans) will feel about Angelripper's fascination with (and in the case of 'Marines', praise for) the American military structure, but having survived 20 years in the music business, I'm sure he doesn't really care what anyone else thinks.