Review Summary: Sodom make a comeback that is so bland, dull and painfully average that it is hard to do anything but twiddle your thumbs as it almost sends you to sleep. Three good songs does not make a good album and this is why.
Sodom are a thrash metal band that has been around ever since the inception of the idea of thrash metal in the early 1980's. The band consistently released solid material back then before trailing off a little during the 1990's, although not half as much as fellow Teutonic thrashers Destruction or Kreator. During the 2000's however the band made a massive comeback with albums such as the magnificent M-16 and the equally good In War And Pieces. 2013 heralds the next installment in Sodom's discography, and unfortunately Epitome Of Torture is somewhat of a disappointment.
Epitome Of Torture is a ten track long affair that sadly just feels as though the band was going through the motions of wanting to just create "a thrash album" instead of "a classic of the genre" in the vein of Agent Orange. The riffs feel mediocre at best and are just tired and the vocals sound very strained, unlike the demented aggression that Tom Angelripper brought forth on their earlier works. Shoot Today - Kill Tomorrow was released as a teaser song from the album and this should say all that really needs to be said about Epitome Of Torture. The album is bland and devoid of life for much of its duration, aside from a chorus here and there and maybe a solo on a couple of songs which really is a shame given the quality of their earliest albums.
The riff work is the largest disappointment of this album. Sodom are one of the few bands who have always been capable of knocking out some fantastic songs despite the dwindling quality of albums released during the 1990's such as Tapping The Vein. On Epitome Of Torture they used their usual formula of a lot of tremolo picking with a few chord-based riffs scattered in between but it feels so tired now. The band used to have a lot of variety, including the nice drum fills that lead into new riffs but on Epitome Of Torture the drumming is bland as well. This album marks Markus "Makka" Freiwald's debut behind the kit and it really is not a good note to start off on.
The only songs here that stood out where S.O.D.O.M, with its magnificent chorus that shows that Angelripper does still have it in him to yelp his lungs out when he chooses to; Stigmatized which works due to its short length compared to the rest of the tracks; and My Final Bullet which kicks the album off with a lot of umph. Aside from this however the album is missing its killer songs or even killer moments which is one of the main things that made albums like Persecution Mania and Agent Orange stand out a little. The vocals are probably the worst thing here. They are not the worst vocals out there but they lack the fury and passion that Angelripper cast forth on other albums.
Epitome Of Torture is the first major thrash disappointment of 2013 and it is a shame to see a band such as Sodom stoop as low as this. If you want good Sodom either listen to the aforementioned solid tracks or check out their earlier releases as songs such as Shoot Today Kill Tomorrow really can not cut the mustard.