Altenessen, a social melting-pot deep in the heart of the Ruhr Area. From the mid-19th century, the region supplied Europe’s industrialisation with the required raw materials, mined under back-breaking conditions below ground in coal pits named Carl, Anna, Fritz-Heinrich, Helene and the like. Altenessen is also the musical domicile of Tom Angelripper, vocalist/bassist of German metal act Sodom, who has met for some years with his band members in a ratty rehearsal room in that part of Essen to produce tough-as-nails thrash music. To other musicians, such information may be of marginal interest; to Tom it is an important component of his recipe for success. “I want guys from the Ruhr, who share my background, with whom I can work and rehearse consistently,” explains Sodom’s mastermind, who has implemented his band’s philosophy together with guitarists Frank Blackfire and Yorck Segatz as well as new addition Toni Merkel (drums). A philosophy that yields more impressive results in 2020 than ever before. Following the first relaxation of the lockdown rules, Sodom immediately got back to working creatively. Which is one of the reasons why “Genesis XIX” has turned into precisely what the musicians had in mind: “This is definitely one of the toughest and most diverse studio recordings that Sodom have ever released,” promises Tom, proudly presenting twelve new tracks which will be available from 27 November 2020 on Steamhammer/SPV on CD, double LP, in a boxed set and for digital download and stream.
There will be two digital single releases before the event: 25 September 2020 will see the arrival of ‘Sodom & Gomorrah,’ followed by ‘Indoctrination’ five weeks later. Both, as indeed the whole album, will be marked by the diversity that Angelripper mentioned: “Our riff suppliers, Yorck and Frank, are totally different types of musicians. Yorck is a died-in-the-wool metalhead who grew up with thrash music. Frank, on the other hand, also integrates blues and rock elements into his style, including the occasional Frank Marino or Rory Gallagher quotation, and writes songs that could have featured in the same or a similar way on “Agent Orange.” These are the diverse influences that make “Genesis XIX” what it is.”
In addition, there’s a third level that nobody expected after the – as Tom expressly emphasises – amicable split with drummer Husky: “In Toni we’ve gained an awesome drummer. I’d even go so far as to say: He’s the best drummer that nobody had on the radar before now.” Especially since Merkel also has, along with his furioso style, a number of other important qualities: Since his stints with death metal act Sabiendas and a number of other black/death metal bands, where he played the drums and doubled as a producer, he’s been a dab hand at studio technology and recording. Says Angelripper: “As a result, we were largely autonomous during the production of “Genesis XIX” and were free not only to concentrate on working on new songs but also to come up with the right sounds. That was important because we use neither digital amps nor plug-ins but played all the guitar parts using proper Marshall tube amps.” Following the preproduction, Sodom completed the work at the renowned Woodhouse Studio in Hagen, where sound engineer Siggi Bemm recorded Tom’s vocals and mixed the album on an analogue studio console.
The diversity of the result conveys a clear message: from unadulterated thrash metal tracks such ‘Euthanasia,’ ‘Dehumanized’ and ‘Friendly Fire’ to off-the-grid numbers such as ‘Occult Perpetrator’, Sodom deliver a wide range of facets of their typical Sodom sound. This inventiveness also applies to the lyrics on “Genesis XIX,” Tom presenting, as usual, his very own range of subjects: ‘The Harpooneer’ is based on Melville’s Moby Dick novel featuring the obsessive Captain Ahab, ‘Glock´n`Roll’ is the story of a serial killer, ‘Waldo & Pigpen’ is an homage to the same-named US fighter pilots, whose radio traffic during their mission in Vietnam has survived, and ‘Nicht mehr mein Land’ describes the condition of western society (Tom: “We’re the very first to combine real thrash music with German lyrics”). “Naturally, thrash metal stories need to be martial, but we never intend them to be nasty or disrespectful,” he stresses, explaining his lyrical approach: “I simply sing about things that weigh on my mind.” A thrash metal recipe for success in true Sodom style!
Read our review here.