For Tom Angelripper, his thrash metal band Sodom is a perfect vehicle to bluntly take a stand. Like few other musicians on this scene, he personifies – along with down-to-earthiness and honesty – a healthily critical position on political authorities and decision-makers from finance and industry. On their latest album, In War And Pieces, Sodom focus on the worst excesses of power: arrogance, greed, spotlight-seeking, fanaticism, corruption, cowardice and oppression. Tom: “I’ve always written about what’s going on in the world, about the injustice and mistakes that happen everywhere. I know that you can’t change anything politically that way, but I would like to at least comment on the situation and generate an awareness of this deplorable state of affairs. Being a singer in a metal band allows me to voice my anger to a large audience.”
This uncompromising attitude marks the eleven songs on Sodom’s latest album which could hardly sound more dynamic and violent. In War And Pieces owes its bloodcurdling energy largely to producer Waldemar Sorychta (Grip Inc., Enemy Of The Sun), whose great skill and commitment were instrumental in creating the album’s – as Tom calls it – “phat, brutal and open” sound. With Sorychta’s support, Angelripper (vocals, bass), Bernemann (guitar) and Bobby Schottkowski (drums) succeeded in adding new impulses to their music without watering down the band’s long tradition. “Waldemar is a great musician himself and has done some brilliant work, especially on the guitar sound,” Tom explains. “He knows how to get the absolute maximum out of a speaker.”
As brutal as the production is the diverse songwriting on In War And Pieces, a kind of tour de force through the whole history of thrash metal, featuring harsh arrangements, melodic solos and raging vocal attacks. “I feel that we sound more contemporary and structured than we did on our recent releases,” Tom analyses. “At the same time, there are also references to recordings such as Persecution Mania and Agent Orange. After Venom, Sodom were the world’s first angry band, and nothing has changed that.” Tom lists as examples the impressive title track, as well as ‘Nothing Counts More Than Blood’ with its ultra-deep guitar atmospheres and the German-language song, ‘Knarrenheinz’, which holds up the tradition of classics such as ‘Bombenhagel’ and ‘Ausgebombt’. “Knarrenheinz is the mascot on the album cover, that’s why I felt he deserved his own lyrics,” Tom grins. Talking of album covers: the artwork was designed by Eliran Kantor, who enjoys an excellent reputation on the scene thanks to his work for renowned acts such as Testament, GWAR and Mekong Delta.
So the most important parameters of a thoroughly successful release are all there. The album will be available in three editions: as a jewel case release, in a Digipak including additional ‘Live in Wacken 2007’ CD and on double LP including the bonus track, ‘Murder One’ (Tom: “My personal Motörhead tribute number featuring lots of Lemmy quotations.”). The next major Sodom tour has been scheduled for spring 2011. “You can tell that the fans are eager for a new Sodom album,” the band mastermind adds. “Mind you, after more than four years, it’s about time we brought one out!”
Subsequently, Sodom embarked on the preparations for their first DVD, Lords Of Depravity Part I (the sequel came out a few months ago), went on to bring out another studio album in Sodom (2006), and continue to sound as uncompromising and multi-faceted as ever on In War And Pieces.
Sodom’s first tentative steps on the scene date back to the year 1982. Be it the early demo tapes, their In The Sign Of Evil-EP (Steamhammer), their 1996 debut album Obsessed By Cruelty: Sodom intimidated the world at large from the very beginning. Two years and one album later, the band toured Europe with the likes of Whiplash, recording the live cut Mortal Way Of Life at the legendary Tor 3 in Düsseldorf in the process. In Agent Orange, the band from Gelsenkirchen in the Ruhr area unleashed a milestone of the genre. Sodom toured all over the world, travelled Europe repeatedly and played a number of successful gigs in Japan and South America. Albums like Better Off Dead (1990) or Tapping The Vein (1992) manifested the success of the band, who – despite a number of personnel changes – managed to maintain their characteristic sound, mainly thanks to bassist and vocalist Tom Angelripper. Throughout the Nineties, Sodom lost none of their authenticity on albums like Masquerade In Blood or ’Til Death Do Us Unite, remaining firmly grounded and never losing touch with their roots. With their 1999 release Code Red, a title that refers to the US Marines’ infamous punishment code, the trio consisting of Angelripper/Bernemann/Schottkowski proved as politically committed as ever. This tradition was continued in 2001 with an “educational journey” to the Far East, namely two shows in Bangkok and Saigon and the explosive subject matter of their album, M 16. Subsequently, Sodom embarked on the preparations for their first DVD, Lords Of Depravity Part I (the sequel came out a few months ago), went on to bring out another studio album in Sodom (2006), and continue to sound as uncompromising and multi-faceted as ever on In War And Pieces.
- Tom Angelripper: Vocals / Bass
- Bernemann: Guitar
- Markus "Makka" Freiwald: Drums