So here it is, the last of my Sodom related articles in the wake of the London gig last Friday (check out my review here). I apologise for those who are sick of seeing Sodom related articles all the time – I promise this one is the last!
Throughout Sodom’s discography one can find many a cover tune. From the late 80s to the late 90s, they managed to release at least one cover song fairly consistently around every release! Beginning with a well known version of Motorhead’s “Iron Fist” on Persecution Mania through versions of Tank’s “Don’t Walk Away” (Ausgebombt single) and “Turn Your Head Around” (Better Off Dead), Thin Lizzy’s “Cold Sweat” (also Better Off Dead), Bryan Adam’s “The Kids Wanna Rock” (The Saw is the Law single) Udo Jurgens’ “Aber Bitte mit Sahne” (Aber Bitte mit Sahne EP), Venom’s “Angel Dust” (Get What You Deserve), and Anti-Nowhere League’s “Let’s Break the Law” (Masquerade in Blood) up until the one this article is about – Simon and Garfunkel’s “Hazy Shade of Winter”.
We at Moshville like ourselves a cover version that is a bit different. One could argue in the case of “Aber Bitte mit Sahne” which is originally a cheesy German-language schlager hit from the 70s which Sodom did in rather tongue-in cheek rock ‘n’ roll style (albeit in a much heavier fashion). However much I really enjoy this more fun an lighter side of Sodom, I feel that “Aber Bitte mit Sahne” is fairly well known amongst the Sodom cover tune repertoire plus I’ve covered material from this line-up/era of the band already (Tom Angelripper, Andy Brings and Atomic Steif). As for Sodom’s other covers (which are all really good in my opinion), they’re all pretty similar and faithful to the originals but done in Sodom’s heavier style with crunchier guitars and more aggressive vocals.
In 1996, the world saw the beginning of Sodom’s longest lasting line-up featuring ex-Crows men Bernd “Bernemann” Kost (guitar) and Konrad “Bobby” Schottkowski (drums) joining Tom Angelripper’s ranks. In 1997 we saw their first release, ‘Til Death Do Us Unite, which features “Hazy Shade of Winter”. The album is very punk/thrash in style and marks the end of Sodom’s more experimental era before heading back to the straight-up aggressive thrash they’re known for with 1999’s Code Red (which is awesome by the way, I thoroughly recommend it). Ten years prior to Sodom’s cover, “Hazy Shade of Winter” was covered by the Bangles (Sodom based their version off this one) which was presented in a catchier pop-rock style which became a massive hit in the US at the time. The original by Simon and Garfunkel is still pretty catchy but its primarily acoustic lead and still pretty folk in style, typical of S&G. Sodom have managed to take a song which is really quite different in style to theirs and make it their own with “Hazy Shade of Winter”. It works incredibly well as a short and speedy melodic punk/thrash headbanger, even with it’s main guitar riff -which is the song’s earworm (a pretty cool one mind you) – providing the more pop/rock angle to the song as executed well by the Bangles’ cover. Sodom’s cover also works very well in the context of the whole album on ‘Til Death Do Us Unite providing a more uplifting break between the slower, moodier title track and the remainder of the album. Who knew a folk/pop song would turn out so great in a heavier, faster bastardisation by a trio of Teutonic thrash terrors?
Overall I think Sodom’s version of “Hazy Shade of Winter” is a great, yet criminally underrated (as is the ‘Til Death Do Us Unite album in general) cover version of a song that is originally really different in musical style yet executed so brilliantly when Sodomized. Check it out and see what you think.
Photo credits: Sodom official website