The formidable SODOM are back with their fourteenth album ‘Epitome Of Torture’; issued in Europe today, April 29th, 2013, the album will become available in North America as a limited-edition digipak including two bonus tracks and a poster, as a double gatefold LP, as a CD, and as digital download on May 7th, 2013 through SPV/Steamhammer. Vocalist and bassist Thom Angelripper, guitarist Bernd “Bernemann” Kost and new drummer Markus “Makka” Freiwald recorded ‘Epitome Of Torture’ with producer Waldemar Sorychta, and have turned to graphic designer Meran Karanitant for the album's art. Described by SODOM's backbone Tom Angelripper as “hard as nails and contemporary” and once again featuring his highly critical powers of observation, shop at Onkel Tom's webshop here or here, or search for ‘Epitome Of Torture’ on Amazon.
Formed in 1981 by Tom Angelripper (real name Thomas Such), reportedly “as a desperate attempt to get out of having to work in coal mines” in his home town of Gelsenkirchen, Germany, SODOM have nevertheless worked hard ever since, influencing many of the early black metal bands along the way. Together with KREATOR and DESTRUCTION, SODOM are considered Teutonic thrash metal's one of the big three. After recording ‘In The Sign Of Evil’ EP, the band, featuring Angelripper, guitarist Michael Wolf/Uwe Christophers and drummer Chris Witchhunter, released their debut LP ‘Obsessed By Cruelty’ in 1986 via Metal Blade Records in North America and Steamhammer in Europe. Shifting their sound from proto-black metal to thrash, ‘Persecution Mania’ followed in 1987 on Steamhammer – as will all of their consequent releases; the record was described as “a virtual tour de force of blinding speed and blunt force” by Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic (more here). SODOM's second and last album recorded with guitarist Frank Blackfire, ‘Agent Orange’, came next in 1989:
“SODOM's fans have argued to the teeth about whether 1987's ‘Persecution Mania’ or 1989's ‘Agent Orange’ is the German metal act's definitive record. Both stand right at the devil's crossroads of thrash and death metal, and both are brutally furious assaults on the senses,” [wrote Thom Jurek who nevertheless judged in this 1989 release's favour – read why here]
SODOM's fourth album, 1990's ‘Better Off Dead’, was recorded with guitarist Michael Hoffman and their fling at death metal, 1992's ‘Tapping The Vein’, featured Andy Brings on guitar. Attempting to revitalize their pre-death metal stile, the band issued ‘Get What You Deserve’ in 1994, featuring new drummer Atomic Steif who stayed on for SODOM's seventh record, 1995's ‘Masquerade In Blood’. The string of underachieving albums continued in 1997 with ‘Till Death Do Us Unite’ which showcased new guitarist Bernd “Bernemann” Kost and new drummer Bobby Schottkowski. Onkel Tom & company finally succeeded to recapture the frenzied chaos of SODOM's earlier work, satisfying many of their patient fans with 1999's album ‘Code Red’. Francis Ford Coppola's “Apocalypse Now” themed album, ‘M-16’, followed in 2001 and a double live album recorded in Bangkok, Thailand titled ‘One Night In Bangkok’ came next in 2003. Twenty five years after SODOM's first tentative steps, they released their self-titled album in 2006, “because every band needs a self-titled album” they explained:
“SODOM's music is a matter of curious interest since, from the group's very inception, it has represented a rare intersection of styles that experts would normally separate into thrash, speed, death, and black metal (and, depending on how rarely they get laid, even more subdivisions). One listen to SODOM is enough to ascertain that little has changed; most of its songs tend toward the frenetic, dirt-encrusted ends of the extreme metal spectrum, their lyrics wavering between sociopolitical observations and anti-establishment diatribes,” [sharply observed Eduardo Rivadavia, AllMusic – more here]
Re-recording all five of the songs from their 1984 EP and adding seven bonus tracks with guitarist Grave Violator (Josef “Peppi” Dominic) and drummer Chris Witchhunter (Christian Dudeck), ‘The Final Sign Of Evil’ followed in 2007, preparing way for SODOM's thirteenth album ‘In War And Pieces’ Tom Angelripper recorded with Bernd “Bernemann” Kost and drummer Bobby Schottkowski. Lyrics-wise, ‘In War And Pieces’ once again focused on the worst excesses of power: arrogance, greed, spotlight-seeking, fanaticism, corruption, cowardice and oppression:
“I’ve always written about what’s going on in the world, about the injustice and mistakes that happen everywhere. I know that you can’t change anything politically that way, but I would like to at least comment on the situation and generate an awareness of this deplorable state of affairs. Being a singer in a metal band allows me to voice my anger to a large audience,” [explained Tom Angelripper]
SODOM features: Tom Angelripper – vocals and bass, Bernd “Bernemann” Kost – guitar and Markus “Makka” Freiwald - drums