Review Summary: Never mind the bollocks, here's Sodom.
Some thrash diehards would look behind Sodom’s timeline and say it was entirely flawless, since Tom Angelripper and co. have managed to endure and evolve their bellicose, evil sound just enough to keep it interesting. Never before had the war caused so much head-banging around the world. In a decade as polarizing for thrash legends as the 90s were, the Teutonic trio started on the right foot with Better Off Dead
and especially the smashing and manly Tapping the Vein
, definitely one of Sodom’s meatiest and most ripping efforts, with the band driving their sound extremely close to early death metal. A couple of years later, however, Get What You Deserve
was released, a record often extolled as, if not a complete mess, then at least one of Sodom’s least successful ventures to date.
Get What You Deserve
was Sodom’s first studio delivery without drummer Chris Witchhunter. He was kicked out of the band in 1992 due to alcohol problems, and this record marks Atomic Steif’s (ex-Living Death and Holy Moses) debut behind the kit. In addition, together with 1996’s Masquerade in Blood
, it’s one of Sodom’s most punk-oriented releases; this is the main reason why some people move away of this. What temporarily changed on this album weren’t the band’s playing and energy, rather their essence and songwriting approach; the longest composition comes in the form of the ominous, somber instrumental ''Tribute to Moby Dick'', with four and a half minutes. Beyond that, songs like ''Jesus Screamer'' and especially ''Eat Me'' perfectly summarize the album’s stylistics; average length is two and a half minutes, the structures and riffs are way more simplistic and primitive than other Sodom’s efforts, and lyrically the band tries to give a nasty, dirty vibe throughout its 45 minutes.
The war theme lyrics are almost gone, and even though there’s still social criticism in some tracks (''Jesus Screamer'', ''Unbury the Hatchet'', ''Into Perdition''), we also got a bunch of sexual lyrics (''Fellows in Misery'', ''Eat Me'', ''Sodomized'' or the hilarious, German-sung ''Die Stumme Ursel'') and even a song about, of all people, Jabba the Hutt. The elephant in the room, however, is the production. In an attempt to offer a raunchy, perverse intensity (the cover art says it all), the band went a bit far in their resistance to any cleaning. The instruments and Angelripper’s raging and rough vocals frequently sound as if coming from the bottom of a medieval well, and the riffs often sound noisy and are difficult to discern that it may give the impression of hearing a big wall of feedback and distortion. In counterpart, drums and especially bass are more notorious in the mix; Tom’s frenetic, piercing playing style dominates the direction of the songs, especially the shortest ones like ''Delight in Slaying'' or ''Freaks of Nature''.
Despite its flaws, the album is kind enough to throw us some fairly fun and energetic moments. The lyrics of ''Fellows in Misery'' (about a woman with sexually abnormal behavior, including some moaning on its coda), ''Die Stumme Ursel'' and ''Jabba the Hutt'' may seem a little absurd or silly, but the energy and prowess that both contain makes them tolerable, while songs like the title track and ''Sodomized'' exude all types of power and inspiration and waste no time in getting to their best riffs. On the other hand, the dark instrumental ''Tribute to Moby Dick'' gives the album a breath of fresh air with its doom-ish riffs and slow, portentous drumming; definitely a track that could have fit in just fine on earlier or later releases if it had a better production treatment, as well as the solid, enjoyable cover of Venom’s ''Angel Dust''. The new drummer Atomic Steif also makes a fine debut, with his tight drumming backing up the rest of the band perfectly.
The rest is more or less the same. Some of the punk flirtations, like the eco rock, anti whaling anthem ''Silence Is Consent'' (with its guitars providing a dark, solemn and depressive atmosphere) and the relentless rockers ''Erwachet!'' and ''Gomorrah'', have their charm, but cases such as ''Freaks of Nature'', ''Unbury the Hatchet'' or ''Into Perdition'', beyond the energy and speed really don’t offer much substance to the listener. One needs to be in an adequate mood to treat Sodom playing 45 minutes of punk rock as much more than background noise or a forgettable effort. For those who want to explore Sodom’s dirtiest and less polished side, then Get What You Deserve
may not disappoint you; for a Sodom newcomer, however, I recommend getting Persecution Mania, Agent Orange
first as they are more representative of the band’s radical, chaotic thrash sound and attitude than this album.