Released By Steamhammer/SPV
Release Date November 27th, 2020
Genre: Thrash Metal, Speed Metal
Frank Blackfire Gosdzik – Guitars
Toni Merkel – Drums
Yorck Segatz – Guitars
Tom Angelripper Such- Vocals, Bass
1. Blind Superstition
2. Sodom & Gomorrah
4. Genesis XIX
5. Nicht Mehr Mein Land
6. Glock ‘N’ Roll
7. The Harpooner
9. Occult Perpetrator
10. Waldo & Pigpen
12. Friendly Fire
Sodom is a German band from Gelsenkirchen, formed back in 1981.They have gone through many line-up changes, leaving bassist-vocalist Tom Angelripper Such as the only constant member. Along with Kreator, Destruction and Tankard, Sodom has been referred to as one of the “Big Four” of Teutonic Thrash Metal.
Sodom’s initial music style would greatly influence many Black Metal bands more than others, even though their early Black Metal era was not enough to give them the commercial success they desired. However, this would definitely change when Frank “Blackfire” Gosdzik came in to fill the guitar spot. Meanwhile, Thrash Metal was moving beyond horror, occult and satanic lyrics to embrace political, societal, and war themes. The new lyrical approach and the increased musicianship on the part of Frank Blackfire offered the right recipe to the band for their upcoming musical triumph. The power trio have achieved their first commercial blast with their third studio album “Agent Orange” in 1989. This record made Sodom famous, giving them worldwide critical approval, and secured their place alongside Kreator and Destruction as one of the great Teutonic Thrash Metal bands.
The German titans return with their sixteenth studio effort entitled “Genesis XIX”. This is the first time in Sodom’s history that they have recorded as a quartet rather than a trio. Moreover, this is the first album to feature returning guitarist Frank Blackfire since the famous “Agent Orange” back in 1989. With his re-entry after almost thirty years and the merge with new blood in the roster, the expectations for this new release would naturally be higher than before. “Genesis XIX” features two new musicians, drummer Toni Merkel and guitarist Yorck Segatz as well.
Overall, “Genesis XIX” comes out of the Sodom’s rich arsenal as an eighties’ thrash metal bullet enfolded into a modern production envelope. It could be considered as a musical summary of the stylistic elements featured in the entire band’s discography. This new offering resembles the heavier, darker and more developed character of “Agent Orange” enriched by doom, black and groove metal elements mostly marching into a full Speed Metal war machine.
“Blind Superstition” works perfectly as a short and simple mid-paced prelude to the upcoming storm of power and assault. “Sodom & Gomorrah” includes the well-known eighties heavy thrash guitar riffage sustained by excellent high-speed rhythm drum sections. Tom Angelripper’s vocals strike directly into the bone marrow sounding harsher and more powerful in relation to older studio offerings. The rawness and the dynamics of the vocal parts are more evident in “Euthanasia”, hence the excellent guitar work has the first role into this full speed piece. The fusion of chaotic riffing with the high level technical shredding falls into a fascinating guitar soloing, as a remembrance of the previous glory days of “Agent Orange”.
The first section of the album is followed by the title track “Genesis XIX”, where the intention of maintaining the identical high velocity old-school thrash metal style is by now clearer. What is more evident with this song is the major complexity in songwriting and guitar work. The initial stack of noisy sound evolves into a slow motion Doom Metal thread before high velocity gear returns to the scene. Moreover, some mid tempo riffing and slow motion acoustic melodies enhance the quality of the songwriting in this track. “Nicht Mehr Mein Land” adds a darker tone to the mix mostly caused by the outstanding drum parts enriched by blast beats merged with the mid paced thick guitar riffing sections and the soreness of the vocals. The groove style shredding which falls into a screaming solo offer a major substance and liability to the song.
“Glock ‘N’ Roll” is a straightforward bullet which provides an even more elaborated mixture by its mid tone groove metal guitar work merged with quicker sections where the rhythm is strictly based on the excellent drumming of Toni Merkel. The quality of the sound is enhanced by the brutal roughness of Tom Angelripper’s vocals and the screaming power metal style guitar soloing. “Harpooner” kicks off with a thick bass lines intro and an old school doom metal sound before turning into a classic thrash metal blast. The dooming sound of the guitars at the slower sections give major potential to the complexity of this track. “Dehumanized” stands out as another piece of a highly accomplished fusion of music elements. Despite filling the steps of “Harpooner” for what the doom metal intro is concerned, the technical and groove metal sound of the guitars makes the difference in this case. The exceptional high speed drumming powered by sporadically blast beats and the screaming shredding solo take the quality of this song a step further. Even though “Occult Perpetrator” starts with a more dramatic intro, it immediately evolves into a mid paced technical thrash piece where the guitar parts remain loyal to the technical and groove sound of the previous track. The slow motion but thick riffs at the verse along with the harsh screaming vocals at the chorus give a catchier style to this song.
The comically entitled “Waldo & Pigpen” offers an initial moment of rest to the listener with a few gentle acoustic melodies and obscure feeling guitar harmonics before evolving into a speed metal storm successfully enriched with slower sections. These moderate moments provide a darker sound to the album mostly with the beefy riffing style. The solid thick bass lines alternated by the amazing guitar riffing and screaming shredding of “Indoctrination” offer a final piece of rage before “Friendly Fire” gives the final strike. The amazing cohesion between instruments and the violent sounding of the vocal parts work perfectly in this piece of thrash metal assault. The outstanding drumming works plays the major role in keeping the high speed standards in this song, meanwhile the groove sounding guitar riffs along with the harsh dynamics of the vocals give a catchy and memorable character to the chorus.
With “Genesis XIX” , Thrash Metal legends Sodom have managed to reach the magic that gave birth to the classic pieces of their discography back in the eighties. This new studio effort undoubtedly surpasses the quality of its predecessors for what the guitar work is concerned. The perfect symmetry between the huge metal assault of Yorck Segatz and the classic rock, groove style of Frank Blackfire is evident in the entire album. This harmonic fusion of the guitar duo is firmly enhanced by the great abilities of Toni Merkel behind the drum kit and the well known quality of Tom Angelripper in his vocal and bass duties. Following the recent abandonment of the three piece act by Destruction and Sodom and the creation of the masterpieces of thrash metal “Born To Perish” and “Genesis XIX” respectively, it seems that the old classic trio days are gone. Nevertheless, the improvement into the quality of the sound is remarkable and it gives a more modern approach to the the Trash Metal scene. Sodom have offered a piece of excellent musicianship and songwriting which establishes them as one of the greatest bands of the genre. “Genesis XIX” will definitely please every single member of their audience and hopefully it will be the first step to even major studio accomplishments in the future of this historic band with four decades of activity on their shoulders.
Written by: Katerina Paisoglou
My Global Mind – Staff Writer