In War & Pieces

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The 13th album by German thrash/death metal institution Sodom deviates not a bit from the pattern established over its dozen predecessors. The group bashes through aggressive, Slayer-esque songs with lyrics about death and war, never letting momentum flag for an instant. Songs like the title track and "Hellfire" could easily be outtakes from the Slayer songbook circa Seasons in the Abyss, and Tom Angelripper's hoarse, shrieking vocals are extremely close in spirit to Slayer frontman Tom Araya's fevered shouting. Even when they offer a slow intro, as on "Through Toxic Veins" or "God Bless You," it soon erupts into another burst of staccato riffing and machine-gun drumming. Sodom are a lot like Motörhead in that you basically know what you're going to get from album to album; it just depends whether the band is particularly "on fire" or not. While this album does nothing to move Sodom's music to the "next level," whatever that might be, it's a strong dose of what fans have been coming to them for since the late '80s.

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