SODOM, despite their die hard fan base, is by far the most inconsistent of the three German heavy weights of the Thrash genre. Although all of them have had their experimental phases, SODOM never seems content with making one album sound like another (some are similar, none are the same). Even though it’s a respectable thing to do as an artist, it can make listening to their discography a roller coaster ride.
The band has been modernizing their sound for quite some time, even with the steps towards an older Punk sound occasionally, and “Code Red” seemed to find them really grasping onto it and making it work surprisingly well. The band does like to throw their listeners curve balls, so when “M-16” was thrown into the music player, it was anyone’s guess to what it would be.
“M-16” is SODOM doing a little more experimenting again. Do not fear though, dear Thrash lovers, as their combining of the new more modern Thrash sound and an older style revisited is actually a miraculous combination. It’s like if you took what the band was doing on “Code Red” and sprinkled a bit of their old VENOM inspiration into the production and playing of the album. Sounds a bit odd? Certainly, but it’s also a bit awesome.
The band still more or less sticks to their mid-tempo style for this album. There are moments of intense Thrash speed and that chaotic writing from the days of old (look at the ending of “Little Boy”) but for the most past part SODOM stick to the mid tempo lot here. They even throw in a good solid melodic attire for this one, like the intro of “Napalm In The Morning” to vary things out a little. Of course, the band does really stick those mid tempo parts with some well written and intense riffs with the experience of a well trained rhythm section and, naturally, the sadistic snarl of Tom Angelripper. It’s still the SODOM we’ve all grown to love. Just with a feel new and old tricks up the sleeves.
In general though, it’s the sloppier and dirtier vibe of “M-16” that makes this album so much fun and cohesive. It matches the concept of the album (that being a Vietnam/war concept) and it gives the album enough old school feeling that really blends well with their newer style of writing to make this album their best in a very long time.
“M-16” is a great follow up to the solid “Code Red” and its one of the best SODOM has ever released. It’s got great moments for the older fans and enough modernity to please the newer ones too. It’s all around a solid release from a band that’s not known for their consistency.
Songs to check out: “M-16”, “Among The Weirdcong”, “Little Boy”.
(Online June 14, 2010)