For all of their acknowledged contributions to the death metal genre in its late-‘80's infancy, the fact remains that Germany's Sodom were, in essence, a thrash and speed metal band, ever bound to the mindset of an earlier, pre-death generation. So it was surprising, but not altogether shocking, in the wake of their touring humiliation by Brazilian death giants Sepultura, when Sodom attempted to make the transition from thrash to death themselves with 1992's Tapping the Vein. The adoption of bottom-heavy guitars, double kick-drum work, and a throatier delivery from main Tom Angelripper was evident as soon as the manic opening tandem of "Body Parts" and "Skinned Alive" blazed past (also note their horror-based lyrics, typical of death metal). But, although credit must go to Angelripper for at least trying to re-energize his band's diminishing career fortunes, the truth remains that Tapping the Vein is a merely competent, never stunning, ever-tentative death metal album. Occasional standouts like "One Step Over the Line" and "Bullet in the Head" are pretty darn good by most standards of the time, but, like the even more memorable "Hunting Season," which borrows a number of tricks form the above mentioned Sepultura, they're clearly following trends, not setting them like in years before. Any way you slice it, though, Sodom fans could do a lot worse in terms of the group's terribly pot-holed recording output than by picking up Tapping the Vein -- there's definitely something here worth hearing.
AllMusic Review by Eduardo Rivadavia