Published Nov 26, 2020Thirty-nine years, 16 albums, eight million record sales and countless lineup changes in, Sodom are easily still one of the most belligerent thrash bands perpetually wreaking havoc in the metal world. It's been four years since the band's last studio release, 2016's Decision Day, so while another album was essentially due this year, Genesis XIX is a significant one for a number of reasons. First, and most excitingly, this is the first album since Sodom's 1989 classic Agent Orange to feature Frank Blackfire on guitar. He and vocalist-bassist Tom Angelripper, Sodom's only constant member, are joined for this outing by newcomers Yorck Segatz and Toni Merkel on rhythm guitar and drums, respectively, making Genesis XIX the first Sodom album ever to be recorded by a quartet and not a trio.
No time is wasted cutting to the chase here, and after a minute-long buildup in album intro "Blind Superstition," "Sodom and Gomorrah" comes out flailing its fists and reminding us all how much better a place the world will be when we can finally get back in a mosh pit. From there, it just keeps on getting heavier and more gung-ho, the hostility barely ever taking a break for so much as a few seconds, even on the album's slower moments. The dual guitars are a nice touch this time around, and while Merkel's drums are solid and Angelripper's vocals are as menacing as ever, it's the riffs that really make this record.
Part of The Big Teutonic 4, Germany's grittier counterparts to the U.S.A.'s "big four" of thrash metal, Sodom are long past the point of needing to prove themselves, and there's never any doubt about what a new album will contain. There's no thrash custom that can't be found in abundance on Genesis XIX, and there's not much more to it than that. Of course, one could accuse the band of just doing the same old thing over again, but their fans aren't likely to be bothered at all by this at all. (eOne / SPV)