Released By: Steamhammer/ SPV
Release Date: April 29, 2013
Genre: Thrash Metal
Tom Angelripper – Vocals, Bass
Bernemann – Guitar
Markus “Makka” Freiwald – Drums
1. My Final Bullet
3. Epitome Of Torture
6. Shoot Today – Kill Tomorrow
7. Invocating The Demons
9. Into The Skies Of War
10. Tracing The Victim
Veteran thrashers Sodom have been around for about as long as any of the world famous “Big Four” bands, forming in 1981, and while they haven’t had quite as much mainstream success as those bands, they are still a highly respected band who have stayed very active over the years, with the upcoming “Epitome Of Torture” being their 14th full length release. This is my first time hearing the band, but it’s safe to that unlike any of the aforementioned “Big Four” bands, who have all done nothing to impress me in well over a decade, these guys are still going strong and are still playing with the amount of passion and anger required in order to pull off their style convincingly. They haven’t reinvented the wheel, but they have certainly delivered some intense and energetic thrash that will have any fan banging their head like an idiot for the duration of the album.
As far as thrash goes, there is quite a bit of variety here, and while fans of classic thrash will be pleased with the killer riffs, a few of the songs also have some great melodic moments, along with other surprises that help make for a more exciting album. Most of the songs are quite speedy and all of them are quick and to the point, delivering moments that will stick in your head long afterwards without ever overstaying their welcome. Everything is fairly straight-forward and not overly complex, though there’s definitely some great guitar work as you’d expect, with some pretty impressive and melodic guitar solos throughout.
The vocals are as varied as the songs, with Tom Angelripper giving a fantastic performance and changing his voice a bit from song to song and using a style best suited for each part, so we get some classic thrash style vocals, some higher pitched screams, the occasional more melodic vocals, and even some blackened growls on a few parts. No matter what he does, he always sounds excellent and very distinct.
It takes no time for “Epitome Of Torture” to get going, as the opener “My Final Bullet” is an instant classic and by far my favorite on the album. The song starts off with a nice acoustic intro before going into full assault mode and from there it becomes an explosive and fast paced thrash classic, except it goes further than that and becomes even better thanks to an incredibly epic and catchy chorus that presents the first impressive melodic moment of the album. Next is the almost as exciting “S.O.D.O.M.” and ignoring the fact that I’m amazed it took them this long to use a form of their name for a song title, it’s as fast paced as the opener, but with an intense, shout along chorus that’s more in line with a typical thrash song.
Other highlights start with the very short but still awesome “Stigmatized”, where Tom uses his blackened growls the whole way through, resulting in more of a blackened thrash song with a different feel from the rest of the album, though it still fits in nicely. The first song released was “Shoot Today – Kill Tomorrow”, and it’s pretty much a standard thrash song, but done very well and with a pretty fantastic chorus. Lastly, we have two slower songs, with “Invocating The Demons” having epic verses that slowly build up to a vicious chorus, and “Into The Skies Above”, which stands out for being the only song that stays fairly melodic the whole through, yet it still ends up being just as awesome as the heavier songs. Only one song doesn’t really impress me, and that’s “Cannibal”. It’s a more groovy song with offbeat riffs that don’t quite work for me, though it’s certainly not a bad song, it’s just hard for me to get into. Aside from that, this is a very consistent album throughout, with quite a few impressive highlights.
Overall, “Epitome Of Torture” is a very solid thrash album with all the great riffs and all the energy you’d expect from veterans of the genre, along with some great and surprising melodic sections. It appears Sodom are still in top form, and any thrash fan is recommended to out their latest release for some good old headbanging fun.
Written by Travis