Sodom – Out of the Frontline Trench (Steamhammer/SPV)Tuesday, 19th November 2019
One of the big three in the Teutonic thrash heydays (Destruction and Kreator helming the other mantles), Sodom are an institution for their militant-oriented lyrical content and equally vicious potency when it comes to the music. Since their last studio album Decision Day in 2016, they’ve released a split single with Running Wild and a special EP for German metal publications Rock Hard and Legacy respectively, plus a boxed set of albums on tape and another EP while expanding to a four-piece with guitarist Frank Blackfire returning to the fold and new members consisting of drummer Husky and second guitarist Yorck Segatz. In preparation for the next studio album, we get a five-song EP for Out of the Frontline Trench that features three new studio songs, a re-recording of an older classic plus a live rendition of another staple in the Sodom catalog to tidy the hordes awaiting that next full-length.
Let’s look at the newer material first. The opening track “Genesis 19” is the sole offering that will appear on the 2020 album, an arrangement that at almost seven-minutes contains a slower building heavy instrumental section, interesting steady tom-tom rolls before the razor-sharp riffing and Tom ‘Angelripper’ acidic vocal roar takes over. The song also features a melodic twist midway through, the lead break and its power chord/ harmony-oriented underpinning very encouraging for audience clamor and unison fist pumping engagement as well as an interesting take on the Sodom and Gomorrah city destruction from a historical perspective. World War I horrors inspire the lyrics within the two exclusive EP songs “Down on Your Knees” and the title cut – both pounding efforts, the latter punctuated by sound effect bombs and German narrative additions as the rumbling Angelripper bass reverberates against the sinister riffing. Re-recording “Agent Orange” with the current lineup gives the song a fatter/heavier sonic boost due to modern production mechanics – which must have pleased Frank and Tom as two original members who handled this album title song 30 years ago. “Bombenhagel” recorded live on tour in 2018 ends the EP in resounding splendor.
Not a stop gap measure but a true treasure and reward for those stalwarts who love Sodom, Out of the Frontline Trench gives the listener over 28 minutes of quality veteran thrash material without compromise.