EP Review: SODOM Sacred Warpath
So, there’s a new Sodom EP out, but it really only consists of about six minutes of new material. When you consider the suffocating glut of material being fired at metal fans from all corners of all subgenres at a seemingly non-stop pace, that SPV/Steamhammer would think anyone outside of the world’s small percentage of unhealthily obsessive Sodom-ites is going to consider anything but a cursory wander through Russian torrent sites in order to obtain this is wishful thinking. Or maybe I’m underestimating just how dedicated people are to Teutonic metal?
Whatever the case, there’s a new song, “Sacred Warpath.” It’s solid slice of Sodom that moves along at a mid-paced churn with a nod to the Golden Era of ‘The Big Four’ as a sense of breadth and scope is added via a semi-acoustic bridge and a solo oozing blues and Kirk Hammett-like hammer-on/pull-offs. Tom Angelripper sounds like he’s mustered the ability to actually able to rip angels apart with his voice as he leads his charges through some emotional hurl and burl.
The remaining three songs of this pre-cursor to the next studio album waiting in the wings are live recordings of “The Saw is the Law,” “Stigmatized” and “City of God,” all of which are the equivalent of required reading as far as being familiar fans of this legendary Westphalia trio is concerned. However, the stand out moment – for better or for worse – is the turn the band takes in the live introduction of “The Saw is the Law.” It’s done so with a thrashed up version of The Trashmen’s 1963 hit “Surfin’ Bird” which more of you undoubtedly recognize from that episode of Family Guy than you do as a surf/garage rock, proto-punk mainstay, let alone a riff on The Rivington’s “Papa-Oom-Mow-Mow” from a year earlier. Then again, maybe even some of you got to the end of 2001’s M-16 on which Sodom originally covered the entire tune.
If you go back a couple months and read the review I penned about H.E.L.D., the newest album by Angelripper’s light-hearted, heavy-drinking, long-running side project, Onkel Tom (check it out here), you’ll note that many of us – including some Germans – still struggle with the idea of Germans having the capacity for humour. The thought of the taciturn, lantern-jawed Angelripper fronting Onkel Tom lo these many years is one thing, but to hear Sodom openly expressing a goofy side (whether it’s this or their Bryan Adams cover off the original The Saw is the Law EP) is still unexpected and worthy of note. I mean, some of the musicianship on the original Obsessed by Cruelty album is pretty fucking hilarious, but that was no doubt unintentional and probably something the band themselves don’t find nearly as hilarious as arm-chair quarterbacks like I. But “Surfin’ Bird” broken out in front of real, live actual people?! That's something to laugh out loud about, once you accept that your ears aren’t deceiving you.
Ultimately, however, one new song (that’s set to appear on the band’s forthcoming album anyway) and a few live tracks do not an essential purchase make, which is what the score below is indicative of, not the actual quality of the release.