"In War and Pieces"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Sodom's last self-titled album didn't even seem like a Sodom album to me. Way too clean sounding, almost more of a "precision" thrash release...which is NOT what these guys should be doing after so many years as filthy, beer-swilling swine. So I was curious to see if their follow-up would redress the situation or continue down the wrong path.

It's a mixed bag. The gory and chaotic cover with the return of the gas-maked Sodom mascot promises something pretty brutal, but although "In War and Pieces" is a step back in the right direction, it's still not the Sodom I prefer, the ripping thrash bastards of "Tapping the Vein", "Code Red" and "Agent Orange". The material is more aggressive and Uncle Tom Angelripper is sounding more raw, but there's still a cleanliness to songs that would be better caked with mud and dirt. Waldemar Sorychta is NOT the producer you want to get if you're looking for really raw sound.

Still, it IS thrash and there's some real keepers here. I loved the oldschool attack of "Knarrenheinz" complete with German lyrics while "Through Toxic Veins" , "Feigned Death Throes" and "The Art of Killing Poetry" are other highlights. Sodom does show a more measured and musical side, but I don't think that's their particular forte. You can definitely hear how good they are as musicians, though, particularly drummer Bobby.

It's another Sodom album, it thrashes and it backs off from the perilously close to "sell-out" sound on the self-titled. That will be enough to cheer the fans.