SODOM is finally coming to understand the direction that they want to pursue with the album “Code Red”. Where “To Death Do Us Unite” was slightly jagged and faulty in its construction, “Code Red” smoothes the cracks and presents a modern outlook of the German Thrash Metal legends. It’s got a solid production value behind it (something that SODOM has yet to really have) and the writing is three steps up from that of the previous album.
Fans of SODOM may find this album a little too modern for their liking at times. The approach to writing is a little more chaotic than with their previous few releases that gives the album a little bit of a throwback feel to their earlier days but really its still a very modern approach to Thrash Metal. There are some killer grooves on the album that seems to be the trend with most late 90s Thrash Metal.
The guitars on this album are more chaotic like stated earlier. There are Thrashier melodies and riffs in most of the songs. “What Hell Can Create” is very reminiscent of their earlier career with its Punk attitude and Metal articulation. Yet songs like “Tombstone” or “Spiritual Demise” definitely have that modern swing of Thrash Metal that we have been seeing. SODOM isn’t afraid to change the tempos and they have shown that before. But with “Code Red” they really are starting to blend their various influences into a more solid product. It helps that SODOM has kept guitarist Bernemann in the line up since the last album. His presence fits extremely well with the path that SODOM seems to be following and his comfort is easily recognizable on “Code Red”. All the guitar parts just seem more confident in their execution.
What can I say about Tom Angelripper? His vocals never really change and his snarling and sinister sound has become a staple in most Thrashheads’ collections. Nothing changes in that way on “Code Red” because you are going to get exactly what you want from Angelripper. It’s nice to have something consistent with an ever changing band.
Despite all the good steps forward that SODOM has taken with “Code Red”, it is still far from being perfect. Some songs are simply mediocre compared to others on the album. There are a handful of awesome songs on this album but there are also a handful of very mediocre ones too. Needless to say, it’s not SODOM’s best nor their worst but it’s still pretty damn good. It’s got most of what every fan of SODOM is going to want. Killer riffs, snarling vocals, and fist in your face song-writing. Unfortunately, it’s a little too cliché at times to be truly great.
Songs to check out: “Code Red”, “The Vice Of Killing”, “The Wolf & The Lamb”.
(Online January 25, 2008)