Review Summary: Sodom at their heaviest
It would be a fair statement to say that the 1990's were not good for thrash. Bar Coma Of Souls, Seasons In The Abyss, Rust In Peace, Persistence Of Time and Cowboys from Hell, it would seem that the thrash acts wanted to cash in on the success that Metallica had paved the way for with the Black Album and mellowed their sound out. Other than one band. One German band that had consistently released classics throughout the 1980's. This band took their music in the opposite direction. I am of course speaking of Sodom, and their 1992 release Tapping The Vein.
Coming off of the back of the underrated Better Off Dead, this album was the bands foray into the Death/Thrash genre. This album was far from pure death metal, but showed a lot more of a death metal sound than any of their previous albums. For the most part, Angelripper growls his way through this album, as opposed to his gruff shout that was found on many of their previous releases. One Step Over The Line is probably the only standard thrash song on here, and contains the much more standard Angelripper that we remember from Agent Orange and Persecution Mania.
The guitar work is a lot more dense than was found on previous releases, and a lot heavier and more death oriented. It has a darker tone and feel to it than the band has ever used before, and this really suited this album. Where most metal bands were selling out, Sodom was not only carrying the thrash flag, they were also improving on it and refining their already stellar sound into a completely fresh, original product.
The drumming on this album is slightly faster than on previous albums, and once again showcases the huge change in sound the band has gone through. This album still has that signature Sodom feel to it, but it is done in a much different manner to what we have come to expect, so these changes really do take the listener by shock. The minute you listen to Body Parts, you are taken to the cleaners by the intense style that the band has never subjected you to before.
Deadline, The Crippler, Body Parts, Back To War and the title track are the finest songs on here. The bass drum blast beat on Deadline is the finest drumming to come out of this band, in my opinion, and the songs are all complete classics that should never be lost amongst the bands vast discography, but unfortunately they remain buried by what had come before. However, these songs all stand up well against the back catalogue, and are some of the best songs the band put out. The Crippler may well be the closest Sodom ever came to death metal, with its incredibly low vocals and frighteningly good tremolo picked riffs.
The only songs on here that i consider to be filler are Hunting Season, Watchtower and Skinned Alive. All of these songs sound like the band just trying too much to push their sound to its limits, and come across as feeling flat and generally bore me. They do nothing to keep the album flowing, and therefore the whole album suffers as a result, and therein lies the real reason it can not square off with Agent Orange.
This album lacks that one killer track that, even when the rest of the album has failed to do anything for the listener, they just have to wait for that one song. On Agent Orange there was the title track, Remember The Fallen and Magic Dragon. Here, we have Deadline, which is the best song on here in my opinion, and nothing else. This album just has a few too many songs, and is slightly too long for my liking.
Overall, this remains my second favourite in the Sodom catalogue, and proves that thrash was not even close to being dead in the 1990's. This is a band that sounds angrier than ever, and ready to do some real damage, with every single punishing riff and angry growl from Angelripper. This is ***ing Sodom, you know what to expect. 4.5/5