Sodom - _Epitome of Torture_
(Steamhammer, 2013)
by: Aly Hassab El Naby (7 out of 10)
German thrashmeister extraordinaire Tom Angelripper continues to lead a defiant Sodom as the fourteenth studio album _Epitome of Torture_ is unleashed upon the masses. This is a band with a defined sound, a certain tone to their thrash thanks to Angelripper's distinguished vocal performance and commanding stage presence. _Epitome of Torture_ comes three years after _In War and Pieces_, which I thought was good but could be better. The main difference here is that Konrad "Bobby" Schottkowski is no longer on the Sodom drum throne. The veritably unknown Markus "Makka" Freiwald has replaced him and he's done a fine job indeed. So let's jump in here and see what we've got, shall we?

Sodom's defiance in the face of an ever-changing international metal scene was all over _In War and Pieces_ and it continues with _Epitome of Torture_. As soon as "My Final Bullet" started the album off, an optimistic aura came over me. Is he experimenting with slower tempos and dense double tracked guitars? A few seconds later, the rest of the track confirmed otherwise with its standard structure and systematic drumming; has a rather decent solo from Bernemann though. Cuts like "Shoot Today Kill Tomorrow" and "Stigmatized" are very straightforward in their approach with steady tempos, dissonant solos and deep grunts. These could have easily been on _Persecution Mania_.

The title track has a few clever chops from Makka and this is when the differences between him and Bobby start to become clear to me. Another showing of skill from him comes in the beginning of "Tracing the Victim". Some more highlights are the catchy melodic chorus of "Into the Skies of War" and "Katjuschka" which is a thrash metal adaptation of a Soviet WWII-era song composed in 1938 by the composer Matvei Blanter. There's also the statement "Don't need a gracious god when hell commands" on "S.O.D.O.M" which for me, shows how old-school this guy is. It's not something that's subject to technical analysis. Your acceptance of such a seemingly cliché statement will depend on your previous relationship with Sodom's back catalogue.

I don't see _Epitome of Torture_ as Sodom's finest offering; that's an issue that could require another article. It is however an entertaining album, despite some prevailing predictability. My concern as a Sodom fan at this point is the risk of having lots of musicians coming and going without actually staying long enough to push Tom to develop his ideas in new ways. With him continuously at the helm like that, ideas, and entire albums for that matter, could turn into hit or miss ventures; and that could be damaging to the legacy he's built over the years. But as things stand today, I think I'll be coming back to _Epitome of Torture_ several times in the future.

Contact: https://www.facebook.com/sodomized

(article published 8/6/2013)


CHATS
1/14/2002 A Bromley Sodom: The Metal Machine Carries on
ALBUMS
12/22/2010 A El Naby 7 Sodom - In War and Pieces
7/5/2006 T DePalma 6.5 Sodom - Sodom
3/15/2006 T DePalma 8 Sodom - Lords of Depravity (Part One) DVD
1/15/2000 M Noll 6 Sodom - Code Red
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