Title: Decision Day
Genre: Thrash Metal
Release Date: 26th August 2016
Label: Steamhammer / SPV
Thrash Metal has been around since the early 80s now - just as long as the German pioneers, SODOM. Even if you’re not a fan of the genre, you’ve heard the name, or the name “Onkel Tom” aka Tom Angelripper, fronter, singer, bass player and of course founder member of the band. In 1981, he, Chris Witchhunter (drums, † 2008), and Aggressor (guitar) laid the foundation for something big, and this big thing has just released its 15th studio album, titled ’Decision Day’. I’ve put on my headphones to listen to the new 11-track-masterpiece for you!
The album opens with ‘In Retribution’, which is a bit of a surprise - not because of the song itself, because what we get is basically the essence of a SODOM song. Up-speed, harsh vocals, all in all everything we know from the band. But the interesting thing: it is the longest song on the album with a bit over six minutes. An unusual choice for an opener… and sadly a bit too boring compared to previous openers like ’Agent Orange,’ ’Among the Weirdcong,’ or ’In War and Pieces’. Following up is ‘Rolling Thunder’, a really heavy and melodic one and in my opinion a much better opener than the one we got. The riffs are distinctively different from ’In Retribution’, and the guitar in the background as well as in the slower and quieter interludes makes it really catchy. The vocals sound very Black Metal-ish, which adds positively to the atmosphere and the savageness of the song. This is definitely one of the songs you put on your phone to listen to it over and over again on the bus or the train and tap your foot to it. All thumbs up, really good one!
Number three on the album is the title track, ’Decision Day’, which broaches the issue of the D-Day in June 1944. Continuously pounding drums and the heavy guitar are a real textbook example for SODOM and the genre, and Angelripper’s coarse vocals are the cherry on the cake. I imagine this one to be fantastic when played live - one can literally see the wall of death crashing in and the crowd jump furiously. Just like track four, ’Caligula’ - treating the topic of the Romanian emperor Gaius Julius Caesar Augustus Germanicus. It is led by bass-guitar and kind of the poster child of classical Thrash. Like, damn son. Pounding drums, heavy riffs, Angelripper screaming words of slaughter and death. Also the song title to chant along while raising one’s fist to jump right in the pit. Mindblower. Ear blower! For me the best song on the album! “Who Is God?”, ask SODOM in track number five. ’My god is not my master’, they declare. One gets a little more than four and a half minutes of fast, kicking sound and barking vocals, which, for me, are a tad bit too loud in the mix. The instrumental part seems to be drowned out, too much in the background for my taste… and I can’t help myself - I hear a hint of MOTÖRHEAD in the guitars. Hate mail directly to my lawyer, please! All in all we have a solid song anyway, easy to listen to, easy to like.
With ’Strange Lost World’, track six, we’re confronted with a slower track. Sadly slower in every aspect. I wouldn’t go as far as calling it boring because the guitar in the back as well as the solo at three-fourths is really nice, but the rest of the song rather ambles along. Luckily we already leave the slower part of the album behind with the next track, ‘Vaginal Born Evil’. The title alone is promising, isn’t it? The song itself hits you in the face with its brute vocals and incredibly cool guitars, and although it isn’t the most catchy nor creative track on the album, it’s a solid one with a lot of power. ‘Belligerence‘. Track eight. This is one of the most interesting songs on ’Decision Day’ for me due to its constant change of tempo. The drums bang like axes and hammers in the beginning, then we get a slower verse that changes rapidly towards the bridge, and throughout the whole track - that doesn’t even feel like it’s four minutes long - there isn’t a single moment the gets even close to being boring. Thumbs up!
The ninth one, ‘Blood Lions’, isn’t particularly exciting but with just a little more than three minutes not annoying either. Just not the kind of song that gets stuck in your head, but all in all very SODOM. ’ Sacred Warpath’, number ten, has the needed vigor but also a very melodic aspect to it, and the guitars do definitely have the potential to make this one a catchy tune, especially in the instrumental part towards the end. I also think it makes a nice transition to the last song on the album, ’Refused To Die’, which politely asks the metal heads for the last dance - or, in this case, the last moshpit. What I like most about this one is the combination of Angelripper’s brutal vocals and angelic tunes towards the end which gives the whole song a really cool and kind of scary atmosphere. The only critic I have - the intro is a tad bit too long for my taste and the time could’ve been used better here. For example to round it off a little better - it does not really sound like a “last song“, if you know what I mean.
Time to take stock! Over 35 years in the music business didn’t impinge on SODOM and their sound, quite the contrary. ‚Decision Day‘ is pretty pleasant to listen to and even though there are songs that are not exactly the powerhouse of the cell, we got a solid album that doesn’t have to hide in the shadow of the band’s former releases.
01. In Retribution - 06:14
02. Rolling Thunder - 04:22
03. Decision Day - 04:03
04. Caligula - 04:01
05. Who Is God? - 04:35
06. Strange Lost World - 04:59
07. Vaginal Born Evil - 05:15
08. Belligerence - 04:00
09. Blood Lions - 03:17
10. Sacred Warpath - 05:34
11. Refused To Die - 04:27
Tom Angelripper – vocals, bass
Bernd "Bernemann" Køst – guitar
Markus "Makka" Freiwald – drums
http://www.sodomized.info / https://www.facebook.com/sodomized
Total: 8 / 10