Sodom - Genesis XIX

Sodom Genesis XIX cover
Genesis XIX
eOne / Steamhammer/SPV
I often, hear wimpy fanboy/girls squeal out, “it’s (insert year), what did you expect? This band (insert fav band) to release an actually good album? It’s good enough as it is... They always get their panties in a twist, when someone tells them otherwise, seemingly oblivious to how shitty the latest albums by their favorite bands, can be…
Thankfully none of the above applies to Sodom. The German metal institution hasn’t bothered with fads & fashion, or trying to sell themselves for something they’re not and that’s done wonders for their longevity and credibility.
Despite their lineup changes the band has always maintained a focus on blackened thrash, with very slight deviations, be it in tempo or technicality, always keeping the aesthetic and style clearly recognizable through it all. With Frank “Blackfire” Fosdzik’s return to the fold to a couple of years ago, one would say that expectations were somewhat elevated for what was to come next.
The band still maintains their collective identity and this “throwback”, while it might seem a little awkward to newer fans, is nothing that the band’s faithful would take any offense over… probably the complete opposite.
While a product of the 20’s this has almost the same sound profile as most of the band’s 80s output, with only a bit more oomph and bass/mids pronounced and fuller.
Angelripper is joined by the returning Blackfire, as well as another dude named Yorck Segatz on guitars and Toni Merkel (hopefully not related to the Chancellor), who displayed great aptitude on the drums on Blackfire’s solo band a few years ago and together they create one of the band’s more “original” sounding albums in a while.
“Blind Superstition” is a riffy mid-tempo intro that doesn’t develop into a full on song but segues into “Sodom & Gomorrah”, a blackened storm very reminiscent of 80s Sodom and early Kreator, which is nothing to complain about… we sort of grew up with that shit – and liked it… so the gut feeling is always right …this is the good shit !
“Euthanasia” is even quicker, but does get a little monotonous, with the Slayeresque guitar savagery past the second minute, coming to the rescue...
The album’s namesake, “Genesis XIX”, takes it’s time to unfold, with a method to its madness, more akin to bands like Kreator, where Blackfire was alsoa member, or even the more epic, yet menacing moments of Slayer. While it might irk some, I didn’t have an issue with that…
“Nicht Mehr Mein Land” begins almost with a Venom like intensity and is entirely sung in German. It roughly translates to “No Longer My Land/Country” and it’s doomy rhythms are underpinned by Angelripper’s angry shouting about his discontent with the current state of affairs in his homeland… with the entire world – caught up in a serial clusterfuck – it’s almost a universal sentiment… and I fear the worst is yet to come, unless there’s change and a paradigm shift.
“Glock N’ Roll” is a filthy, venomous grinding thrash ‘n roller that feels infernally good in its basic instinctive gutsy glory.
“The Harpooner” is another song that a lot of people took issue with. It’s long winded, relatively slow, the closest a band as Sodom can come to doom, but it manages to offer a different flavor of the band and differentiate the tempo from full on-slaught, to half-on-slaught, before it rips the button off completely.
“Dehumanized” slows down even more, at least initially, building a sickening atmosphere akin to Slayer’ “SOH”, before it introduces a helluva riff and it speeds up to “RIB” standards. It’s melodiously paranoid soloing is crazy-good fun… and why not?!
“Occult Perpetrator” maintains the doomy elements and with a heavy as lead mid-tempo riff is goes more for awe, rather than shock...
“Waldo & Pigpen” struck me as odd-titled, but it’s codenames of some vietnam pilots who had their in-flight correspondences – publicized… It recounts the terrible certainties of war’s harsh nature, by not only assaulting the listener aurally but also lyrically with some pretty dark imagery.
“Indoctrination” goes for broke, all headlong, double bass drumming, vintage, shouty thrash punk screaming, as if more than three decades haven’t passed.
Lastly, “Friendly Fire” not only doesn’t loosen the grip, but doubles down with panned guitars – encircling the listener from all sides, while “Onkel Tom” just gives Araya, a run for his money…
Well, Slayer might have called it quits, Destruction might be releasing less than stellar material and Kreator, while still cool, seem to have settled into a “format”… so it’s down to Sodom to deliver them goods and I’m happy to report that they do not fail! If you like your metal raw, dirty and blackened, you should rejoice at the re-birth of Sodom…