After the disappointing and heavily Punk influenced “Get What You Deserve”, I was expecting SODOM to take an entirely new approach to their music on this release. You know the ‘if it doesn’t work don’t use it anymore’ approach to songwriting? But it is the mid-90s and there was no way you could predict what any Thrash Metal band would do in this period.
And thusly, we received “Masquerade In Blood”. SODOM’s seventh overall studio release is still going in the direction of that raw, energetic Punk influenced Thrash Metal, but the catch of it is this: it works this time.
Perhaps Tom Angelripper and company just knew that they needed to kick this album up a notch or perhaps it just happened to be better in the end, but I really felt as though SODOM knew every flaw on the last release and fixed those specifically. Even with a new guitarist in tow (this time Dirk Strahlmeier – but what’s SODOM anymore without at least one new member?) this album has better execution in almost all aspects whether it be writing, performances, or production. It’s not a lot of me to expect this kind of quality work from this band as we have heard it all before.
The raw and harsher production, although charismatic at times, does hinder some of the songs a bit. It does work on the Punkier songs like “Fields Of Honour” but songs like the title track “Masquerade In Blood” might have benefited even more from a crisper sound even if the raw attempt was a conscious choice for the band.
Still, “Masquerade In Blood” does contain some of SODOM’s best work and with a very strong first half of the album (it tends to fade off towards the end) this is how this direction for the band should sound. It’s a great release for the band and fans of their older style will appreciate many of its aspects. Considering the album before this really feels as though SODOM was out for redemption – and got it.
Songs to check out: “Masquerade In Blood”, “Gathering Of Minds”, “Shadow Of Damnation”.
(Online October 1, 2008)