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SODOM - Out of the Frontline Trench

Release date November 22/19 (Steamhammer)

Most Mighty Decibel readers will likely know the history of Germany's mighty Sodom, but here's a Reader's Digest version, for posterity.

Formed in 1981, the band issued the thoroughly rough and messy In The Sign of Evil EP and Obsessed By Cruelty full length (1985 and 1986 respectively), earning a reputation for being one of the forebears of black/speed metal. The legendary Persecution Mania (1987) and Agent Orange (1989) platters followed, cleaning up their sound considerably, earning themselves inclusion in "The Teutonic Big 4" (along with Kreator, Destruction and Tankard).

Twelve albums followed, seeing the band go through a sexual deviant phase and then seeing a further cleanup of their sound into a straight-up thrash metal outfit, not unlike Kreator's evolution, but admittedly not as melodic (thankfully). Throughout the 38-year journey (to date), the only consistent member of the band has been leader/bassist/growler Tom Angelripper, with many different guitarists and drummers taking part over time.

The big news in 2019 though has been the re-introduction of Frank Blackfire at the guitar slot, he being the fretboard worker on the Persecution and Orange classics, so expectations going into this three-track EP were obviously high.

"Genesis 19" kicks things off with a noisy intro before moving forward with a chugging riff straight outta the classic mid-80s, igniting the neck muscles immediately. A slowed-down mid-section ultimately explodes again, making for a hugely satisfying 6:42 epic. 'Down On Your Knees' is up next, starting out tentatively before up-ratcheting into a full blown thrasher, with Angelripper spitting out the lyrics in guttural hatred. 'Out of The Frontline Trench' completes the new material found herein, again being an all-out thrasher with chugging sections, just like the good ol' days.

Call me impressed. With this EP, Sodom have succeeded in reclaiming their dirty thrash credibility in one fell swoop. Here's hoping that there's a full length in the works for 2020.

Notes: i) Includes an unnecessary re-recording of 'Agent Orange' and a celebratory live rendition of 'Bombenhagel'.

ii) A late addition to our 'Top 20 EPs of 2019'.


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