Sodom
Genesis XIX


3.5
great

Review

by Fernando Alves CONTRIBUTOR (80 Reviews)
November 29th, 2020 | 95 replies


Release Date: 11/27/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A blast from the past

Sodom is somehow synonymous with nostalgia to me, as it was one of the bands that struck me the most in the late eighties while I was enthusiastically exploring the speed/thrash metal genre that had emerged a couple of years ago. I still remember the day I was listening to Slayer's Live Undead with my mates, saying "Slayer was the heaviest band I'd ever heard" when one of my comrades replied "Wait till you hear Sodom!". I will never forget that day, for some unknown reason this moment was remarkable enough to be part of my gallery of memories, which, with age, becomes more and more selective. It didn't take me long to listen to Persecution Mania and Mortal Way of Live that, despite not having the colossal impact I expected, were interesting enough to arouse my curiosity about the band and towards thrash metal spawned outside the Big 4 bubble. I soon discovered a brave new world, boiling with creativity, excitement, and modernity. In Europe, more specifically in Germany, there was a triumvirate that stood out from the pack, namely Destruction, Kreator, and Sodom, undeniably Europe's greatest exponents of the genre at the time. While I was never an enthusiast of the former, the latter two quickly entered my daily thrash playlist alongside the American behemoths or Brazilians Sepultura. By now, thrash metal was already widely spread, being undoubtedly the most exciting and relevant heavy metal genre at the time.

Although Sodom was already an established and highly regarded name within the underground circuit in the mid-eighties, it was its legendary 1989 release, Agent Orange, that catapulted them into international stardom. Together with Beneath the Remains, Extreme Aggression, and Alice in Hell, Agent Orange was considered by both press and fans one of the best albums of the year, making it not only a landmark of its time but also one of the greatest thrash metal albums ever recorded. Agent Orange was able to perfectly encapsulate the band's style which blended a distinct primary signature, reminiscent of Motörhead and Venom, with a modern riff package that mirrored not only the band's maturity but that of the genre itself. The album's aesthetic, sometimes close to death metal, captured me in such a way that I still consider it one of my all-time favorites. Angelripper's distinctive imprint, together with Blackfire's lethal riffs and Witchhunter's colossal drumming, produced a formula so unique that it will never be replicated again.

The reason I'm focusing on Agent Orange is not only because it is the band's most relevant work, but also because it's the main creative core through which Genesis XIX orbits. As we dive into the brief instrumental 'Blind Superstition' we are immediately propelled to 1989, not only by its overall vibe but also by Toni Merkel's drumming that reminds of Witchhunter's tempo dynamics. This Agent Orange-esque approach remains in the following tracks, 'Sodom & Gomorrah' and 'Euthanasia', with the former additionally carrying the band's early black metal resonances. This move towards the band's golden era is also due to Frank Blackfire's return to the death squad, which now performs as a quartet for the first time in its history. His riffs, along with Angelripper's distinctive delivery, ensure a bridge with the past, soaking the songs with a familiar and nostalgic layer. However, the album's greatest particularity lies in the way it balances its vintage signature with a more contemporary twist, embedded with blast beat tempos. 'Nicht mehr mein Land', 'Dehumanized' and 'Friendly Fire' are examples of this more contemporary layer that stands out from the rest of the familiar landscape. Personally, I think the inclusion of blast beats to the band's signature was a wise decision, which should not only be replicated but even reinforced in the future. It is something that places the band within a more up-to-date and relevant musical spectrum. As expected, Angelripper's punk-ish roots are still very much alive in songs like 'Indoctrination', which carries a well-known formula already explored in classics such as 'Ausgebombt' and 'Bombenhagel'. This more straightforward approach not only reinforces the band's renowned trademark but also perpetuates the strong influence that Motörhead and Venom had in the making of Sodom's DNA. The doom-ish segments in songs such as 'Genesis XIX', 'The Harpooneer', and 'Dehumanized' should also be mentioned, as they bear the contrasts that enhance the album's dynamics.

Genesis XIX brings back Sodom's old-school sound under a more up-to-date, contemporary flavor, echoing not only a certain revitalization but also a willingness to embrace the new decade with renewed ambition and enthusiasm. This unshakeable resilience deserves to be celebrated, not only for mirroring Angelripper & Co's longevity but also for succeeding in taking us into its glorious past. And for a brief moment, here I am once again, younger, skinnier, proudly wearing my denim jacket and my old torn elastic pants, shouting "AGENT ORANGE, BURN!"



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user ratings (70)
3.6
great

Comments:Add a Comment 
TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2020


15429 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nice jam. Their best album since In War and Pieces.

Digging: Gatecreeper - An Unexpected Reality

bigguytoo9
November 29th 2020


910 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5 | Sound Off

It's a solid disc. 3.7 for sure.

Pikazilla
November 29th 2020


14156 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Ait, you've piqued my interest! Will check out.



How do you feel about their eps post Decision Day?

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 29th 2020


15429 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Out of the Frontline Trench was nothing out of the ordinary but I liked Partizan.

ChaoticVortex
November 30th 2020


1090 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0 | Sound Off

Solid as fuck, loved some of the punk/black metal influences coming back.

dante1991
November 30th 2020


750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

I dunno, this is solid but I'm not seeing just yet why this is getting so much more hype than the last few. It's on par with the last 2 albums so far for me...

south_of_heaven 11
November 30th 2020


5567 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Surprised by this, seeing as how Sodom & Gomorrah was kinda "eh" to me.



Love Glock 'n' Roll

Digging: Deathblow (USA-UT) - Insect Politics

Pikazilla
November 30th 2020


14156 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I dunno, this is solid but I'm not seeing just yet why this is getting so much more hype than the last few. It's on par with the last 2 albums so far for me..."



Listened once and I'm pretty sure it's better. EoT is probably their worst album tbh

KingdomOfTyrant
November 30th 2020


758 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

this is so good

el_newg
November 30th 2020


1101 Comments


great rev as always Notrap, love that opening paragraph! I can picture it so well

cool to see this is somewhat of a return to form, will have to check it out!!

Nagrarok
November 30th 2020


8645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Great review, your knowledge of and admiration for the band is really apparent throughout the writing.



I've been curious about this one. I saw them shortly after Blackfire returned, but I've been meaning to listen to more of their albums after Tapping the Vein. What do you consider the highlights?

Pikazilla
November 30th 2020


14156 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Nagrarok, you haven't heard In War and Pieces?

Nagrarok
November 30th 2020


8645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Only happened to give Epitome of Torture a listen when it came out, other than that, nothing past Tapping the Vein.

Pikazilla
November 30th 2020


14156 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Damn, that was a very unfortunate pick. In War and Pieces is probably their best album since TtV imo.

Nagrarok
November 30th 2020


8645 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

More or less by chance, at the time I was more actively checking out new releases I think. I might listen to everything when I have the time anyway, I love hearing the sound of a band develop from album to album.

TheNotrap
Contributing Reviewer
November 30th 2020


15429 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Thanks, el_newg. The best of times ;)



Cheers Nag,

Yeah, these guys meant a lot to me in my teens, especially around 1989.

I agree with Pika, In War and Pieces is my favorite post-Agent Orange release. The self-titled is also interesting and M-16 is a fan favorite, even if I find it somewhat overrated.



dante1991
November 30th 2020


750 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

M16 and in war and pieces are my favourite of the 'later' stuff

bloc
November 30th 2020


64367 Comments


Might check this out after all

Nocte
Contributing Reviewer
December 1st 2020


13078 Comments


Not sure I'm vibing with this as much as you Fern. It could be that I prefer a more Sepulturian nostalgia-fest - returning to the sentimental preferences you've outlined at the top of the review. That aside, it's passable - and not inherently bad - - which I guess just leaves me with a "different strokes" type linear of thinking.

Voivod
Staff Reviewer
December 1st 2020


9008 Comments


Heard two tracks from the album, the only thing that rubbed me the wrong way was the sound of the kick drums.

The kick drums are badly triggered.


@Nagrarok

Masquerade In Blood and 'Til Death Do Us Unite are guilty pleasures for me.

Digging: Downfall - Passive Regression



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