Sodom

Sodom

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Not many bands manage to endure for over 20 years -- least of all a band whose name would normally draw perfectly blank (and possibly mildly offended) expressions from your average human being, as might Germany's Sodom. But, believe it or not, this eponymous effort from 2006 is something like the 12th studio album released by the ubiquitous Tom "Angelripper" Such and his latest interchangeable henchmen. Sodom's music, too, is a matter of curious interest, since, from the group's very inception, it has represented a rare intersection of styles that experts would normally separate into thrash, speed, death, and black metal (and, depending on how rarely they get laid, even more subdivisions). One listen to Sodom is enough to ascertain that little has changed; most of its songs tend toward the frenetic, dirt-encrusted ends of the extreme metal spectrum, their lyrics wavering between sociopolitical observations ("Wanted Dead," "Axis of Evil," etc.) and anti-establishment diatribes ("Bibles and Guns," "Lords of Depravity," etc.). At the same time, look beyond its uncompromising delivery and "Buried in the Justice Ground" could very well be a pretty accessible hard rock tune (much as many Motörhead tunes might be). Likewise, additional retro-thrashing highlights such as the aforementioned "Axis of Evil" and "No Captures" display an uncommon immediacy that latter-day extreme metal bands would not dare touch for fear of coming across soft. It's their loss, since Sodom have parlayed this unselfconscious strategy into a distinguishing strength from day one, and it's why this effort provides a welcome extension of the band's 20-plus-year legacy for tried and true fans to enjoy -- even if modern listeners fail to get the point.

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