Review – Sodom – 40 Years at War – the Greatest Hell of Sodom 

Hutch checks out 40 years of Hell, with the Sodom greatest hits……or maybe its not as obvious as that….

There aren’t many thrash bands that can claim a career of 40 years, even less a musical journey that has remained true to the style that they have played from the start. Think of the Teutonic four and you have Sodom who stand above all peers in terms of output that has been true to their roots.  Sure, they veered slightly into the realms of death metal and punk in the 1990s, but overall, the band led by Tom Angelripper since 1982 still retain their raw authenticity.  

It’s been two years since the excellent Genesis XIX, the band’s 16th studio album. Paused due to the pandemic, and now, on the anniversary of the band’s formation we are presented with a rather unusual and interesting compilation that shies away from the Greatest Hits format. As Angelripper explains, the album contains a rerecorded version of a track from each album. “Our goal was to re-record one song from each of our previous albums. Not necessarily the most obvious ones, we wanted to go for rarities or tracks we`ve never or very rarely played live.” 

What’s immediately noticeable is that many of these tracks are unsurprisingly tighter and better played than they would have been back in the day. Sodom are clearly better players now than they were when many of these tracks were originally recorded. Tracks such as After the Deluge, Jabba the Hut, and That’s What an Unknown Killer Diarised sound visceral and ferocious, but with a slightly more technically adept feel. Angelripper has never changed his vocal style, it’s still a raw and gravel-soaked delivery which makes you want to send him Strepsils in the post just to ease the soreness.  

Rather than plump for the obvious standards like Agent Orange, Napalm in the Morning, or M-16 this is a much more exciting and interesting offering. I admit that Sodom are a band that I’ve dipped in and out of over the years, always enjoying their bruising thrash without investing huge amounts of time in their catalogue. There are plenty of rarer tracks to the casual fan here to make this a solid purchase.  

Even the more recent tracks like Euthanasia and Caligula from their most recent two albums sound fresh and vibrant, yet retain the aggression that Sodom rarely stray from. With a range of options from different coloured vinyl, CD, and box sets, this is an album that also contains anecdotes and memories from fans. “We have always put special emphasis on our fan culture. That`s why there’s a number of photos where our fans have had their picture taken with us” Angelripper says. If you are one for cassettes, you’ll also get an additional version of Equinox from 1986’s Obsessed by Cruelty. Whatever your persuasion, there’s no doubting that this album is an excellent celebration of a band who are essential listening for any self-respecting fan of thrash metal. Now, let’s hope for some rare UK dates in 2023.  

Sodom – 40 Years at War – the Greatest Hell of Sodom  is out on the 28th October 2022 via Steamhammer/SPV

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