It’s very hard for fans when a band takes too long to put out a new album. Particularly when it’s SODOM. They already have a die-hard fan base (one can include me into this category) and their previous self-titled album was one of their best. So the anxiety from waiting for “In War And Pieces” was rather overwhelming. It also raises expectations to some un-Godly levels. That’s one of the reasons that these German Thrashers’ latest is a rather mixed affair.
“In War And Pieces” seems to be quite the fitting title as the band touches on a flurry of their previous developed Thrash styles. A little of that Punk from “Get What You Deserve.” A little of the Groovy rhythm focus from “Code Red”. A little of the modernity from “Better Off Dead”. It’s a buffet of all things SODOM done to a foundation of a modern and well-crafted Thrash displayed on the self-titled.
Although it does make for a diverse and intriguing listen, it does have its have its ups and downs for song quality. This is perhaps the biggest flaw on “In War And Pieces.” There are going to be instant classics like the well-built and epic opener and then there are the filler tracks like the rather straightforward and unmemorable “Storm Raging Up.” It creates an album that is going to have a little something for everyone, but not a solid enough album for it to stand out on its own.
It’s no secret that SODOM are still stellar artists when it comes to Thrash. That much is apparent on this record. It’s got a more than solid modern production that mixes and brings out the best qualities and the band nails their performances. Angelripper sounds as pissed as ever as he ranges from his hisses to guttural gurgles and the backing music matches the intensity. The drum sound is solid and as varied as the track focuses but enigmatically energetic and Bernemann is giving the riffs out like Halloween candy and flourishes it all with some blistering solos and leads. Whether it’s the speed demon of triplet fury of “Hellfire” with its chant along chorus, the groove-laden title track, or the well laid acoustic breaks of “God Bless You,” SODOM certainly hits all the right marks with their line up.
Serious SODOM fans are going to find a load of great moments on “In War And Pieces” with all of its diverse song choices, but the album does suffer from it too. It’s a great album, but the bar for these Germans is a high one and it just doesn’t quite reach the heights we’ve heard from them before.
Songs to check out: “In War And Pieces,” “Nothing Counts More Than Blood,” “God Bless You.”
(Online March 3, 2011)