When a band decides to re-record some of their previous work, I always get excited and pumped about it. This is because long-standing bands that re-record always sound quite a bit different than they did originally. Hearing a modern take on the material they wrote when they were in a different mindset is usually quite exciting especially for long time fans. I say 'usually' there because there is exceptions to this concept...for example SODOM’s newest release, "The Final Sign Of Evil."
A re-recorded version of their original EP, "In The Sign Of Evil", along with some 'new' tracks that were written at the same time but never recorded, "The Final Sign Of Evil" should have been one of the best albums of the year. But instead of incorporating their more modern thrash style that has created classics such as "Code Red" and "Sodom", they opt to try and recreate that sound they originally had. So what we have is an album released in 2007 with production values circa 1984.
Does this re-recording add any new twists or spins to the original EP? The answer is no. In fact, I prefer the legitimate raw recording of the EP to this latest album. It is definitely very cool to hear the 'new' tracks on the album. Songs like "The Sin Of Sodom" and "Where Angels Die" are perfect additions to the album and are great for collectors of SODOM. The songs fit right in (and some, in my opinion) could have replaced a few tracks on the original EP. It's unfortunate that these songs did not see the light of day until this album, but it is a wonderful surprise to hear how good the tracks that did not make the cut actually are.
One of the most interesting approaches to the album includes the line up that was chosen for it. Instead of the latest line up from their last few albums, SODOM chose instead to pull together a reunion of the original line up from "In The Sign Of Evil." Unfortunately, all potentially awesome in concept, the original line-up is not near as talented as the current line up. The guitar playing is still mediocre at best and the drums are sub-par. It sounds as though Witchhunter has not played the drums in years and his rhythm seems to be off. Even Tom Angelripper (the only current and original member left in the band) seemed to lower his standards for the recording of "The Final Sign Of Evil" to match that of his band mates.
Overall, this is quite possibly the biggest disappointment of the year. Maybe it is because I had such high expectations for the album, but I think that the approach for "The Final Sign Of Evil" was done hastily. Although this album sounds monstrous in concept, the final product is less than satisfying. For collector's only.
Songs to check out: "The Sin Of Sodom", "Where Angels Die", "Sons Of Hell".
(Online November 4, 2007)