"The Epitome of Torture"

By Dr. Abner Mality

With "The Epitome of Torture", Sodom tries to touch on all aspects of their career and they do a mighty good job of it. I know there are those trolls out there who demand that they repeat the poorly produced and ultra-primitive sounds of "In The Sign of Evil" into infinity, but fortunately the band is too smart to fall for that baloney. What they've done is come up with a pure thrash metal album that is sometimes utterly brutal, and sometimes more composed but never to the point of being commercial. Anybody who calls an album like this "commercial" needs their fucking head examined and then beaten in.

"My Final Bullet" gave me a bit of a start when it opens with laid back guitar, but after a half a minute, the thrash comes kicking in, along with Mr. Angelripper's trademark sandpaper vocals. Whew, that's a relief! This opening salvo kicks a pretty good amount of ass and the first half of the album is all killer, no filler. I'm reminded a lot of the "Code Red" and "M-16" efforts. With "Stigmatized", Sodom show they are still capable of raw, vicious brutality...even Tom's vocals are lower and more guttural. This one will blow a hole in you for sure and new drummer Makka is certainly no step down from the departed Bobby Schotkowski. The next track "Cannibal" shows a catchier and more thought out side of Sodom. To me, this is one of the album highlights...a great chorus that sticks in the head and a sound that is thrashing yet accessible! Much better than the stuff they did on their rather watered down self-titled album of a few years back.

Second half of the album is not bad but has a couple of average cuts like "Invoking the Demons" and "Shoot Today, Kill Tomorrow". One thing that stands out very well here is the lead guitar prowess of of the most underrated guitarists in all of European metal. Tracks like "Into the Skies of War" prove he is ready to get his just recognition.

No one should expect Sodom to radically change their sound at this stage of their career. Nor should they retreat headlong into the past. "The Epitome of Torture" winds up being a really enjoyable album of German thrash that's the best thing they've done since the aforementioned "M-16" and "Code Red" eras. The trolls can cry in their beer and give "In The Sign of Evil" another well worn spin.