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SODOM Decision Day

By Peter Atkinson, Contributor
Monday, August 29, 2016 @ 2:28 PM


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SODOM
Decision Day

Steamhammer/SPV Records




While they may have stumbled over the years, the “Teutonic Big Four” bands – KREATOR, DESTRUCTION, SODOM and TANKARD – and other long-running German thrash vets from back in the day like GRAVE DIGGER, HOLY MOSES, MEKONG DELTA, rarely fell. And when they did – either via hiatuses, ill-advised shifts in sonic direction, etc. – they showed a remarkable ability to pick themselves up, dust themselves off and keep rolling, as evidenced by the fact that all of them are still at it today after 30 some years.

Of these Teutonic titans, Gelsenkirchen trio SODOM has maintained the most comparatively steady course, save for TANKARD, which has been running with the same inexplicably resilient boozy thrash gimmick since 1986. Though only bassist/frontman Tom “Angelripper” Such has stuck it out for the duration - indeed three of SODOM’s myriad former drummers/guitarists are now dead! – the band’s sound has largely stayed true to its militant, blue-collar thrash ethos over the years after its initial dabblings in black metal and occasional forays into death metal.

Decision Day is the 15th studio album in SODOM’s 35-year career, and offers no hints that the band might be slowing down or aging gracefully. It also doesn’t show the band varying from its trademark musical script, which at this stage of the game is probably just as well – especially given the missteps its many of its cohorts, notably DESTRUCTION and GRAVE DIGGER, have made in that regard along the way.

Inspired by the events of D-Day, but not entirely derived from it as evidenced by tracks like “Caligula”, “Who Is God?” and “Blood Lions”, Decision Day operates largely on full-throttle from the get-go driven by drummer Markus “Makka” Freiwald’s rivet-gun pace and Such’s bulldog cadence. And when the band does ease off the gas here, as on the deliberate title track or the lumbering chug of “Strange Lost World”, it gets revved back up in hurry.

The crafty riffs and hooks, and occasionally snappy leadwork, of Bernd “Bernemann” Kost bring some flavor and depth to the band’s often snub-nosed delivery, especially on the surging “Rolling Thunder”, the jog-and-sprint “Belligerence” or the SLAYER-like staccato of “Vaginal Born Evil”. Facing the same dynamic as that of fellow trio MOTORHEAD, where his guitaring can be overshadowed, and in some cases overpowered, by a rather dominant rhythm section, Kost still manages to muscle his way through just enough to make his presence known, which makes a real difference on the aforementioned tracks. (SODOM also borrows long-time MOTORHEAD artist Joe Pategno – who created the band’s iconic Snaggletooth figurehead - for Decision Day’s rather grotesque, but quite evocative, apocalyptic cover, though any other similarities pretty much end there.)

There are some fairly pedestrian moments here where it sounds like SODOM is on cruise control, but that’s probably to be expected from a band that’s been at it for 30-plus years. And SODOM never was a band that was renowned for its wide variety of moods and textures in the first place, so the same can be said about a lot of its albums over the years.

There also isn’t really what you might call a “signature” thrash anthem here, a la “Ausgebombt”, “The Saw Is The Law”, “Remember The Fallen”, “Nuclear Winter” or “M-16”, that seems destined to be a live staple for years to come. But there is a dependable familiarity about Decision Day. And like some MOTORHEAD albums – to make that unwarranted comparison yet again – it might not be the best work SODOM has ever delivered, but it still gets the job done. And while it may underwhelm to a certain extent, it doesn’t disappoint.

3.0 Out Of 5.0 Grab your copy of Decision Day in the KNAC.COM More Store right HERE.


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