Review Summary: Sodom stays the course, with a slightly more melodic approach, and delivers
In War And Pieces is Sodom's 13th studio LP, and for the most part it's typical Sodom, feeling a natural progression from the 2006 S/T album, which displayed a little bit more melody than Sodom fans are accustomed to. It's also the band's best release since M-16, and belongs with that, Agent Orange, and Persecution Mania in the upper echelon of Sodom's staggering discography.
Angelripper is a monster, as usual, but I'll go right ahead and say it: Bernemann owns this record. His solos are dense, have multiple sections, and rare leave anything to be desired. Each one adds a lot to the music around it, and makes it better. Just like a guitar solo is supposed to do. The riffs, however, are in another universe. This is actually the one aspect of the record that sticks out, and feels just a little unlike Sodom (certainly not for the worse), as a few of them seem to dabble in melodic death metal territory. Check out The Art of Killing Poetry and Through Toxic Veins for examples. Bernemann's faster riffs are top-notch as well, with the riff to Nothing Counts More Than Blood being one of the more energetic and creative (and still simple) thrash riffs I've heard lately. Overall, think Kreator's Violent Revolution, just with a Sodom spin and not quite as... soft, as VR got at times.
Despite Bernemann's dominance, the other band members definitely aren't slacking off. Bobby Schottkowski meant business on this album, and his driving thrash beats lift Hellfire, Knarrenheinz, and Nothing Counts to a whole other level. His all-around playing is very impressive too. He's no Dave Lombardo, but Bobby delivers arguably the best performance of his Sodom career. Frontman Tom Angelripper is, well, Tom Angelripper. His Araya-like shout can get monotonous at times, and I'd wish he'd throw out more growls, but overall a solid outing. I won't lie and say he's aging like fine wine, but he is the voice of Sodom, and would have to try awful hard to actually take anything away from the music.
This record had a real chance to be perfect, but unfortunately there are a couple of duds. Soul Contraband and Styptic Parasite just aren't that interesting. Both are fairly mid-paced, and feature little of the forceful guitar melody that makes some of the other slower tracks so awesome. I'm not saying that they're terrible, but they're definitely the low points of the album. I'd recommend pretty much every other track on the album, as they're all very diverse, have their own unique perks, and just ***ing slay. In War and Pieces. Get it, through however means you deem appropriate.
Through Toxic Veins
Nothing Counts More Than Blood
The Art of Killing Poetry