So it’s the night before I leave for London before the Sodom gig and I’ve been thinking throughout the day that I could do a few different Moshville articles for Sodom, just because I love the band. Sorry if it’s annoying to see loads of Sodom related stuff on the site if you’re not interested!
November 2014 saw them release a 4-track EP as a taster for a new album, the follow-up to 2013’s awesome Epitome of Torture, coming in 2015. Sacred Warpath featured at title track as well as 3 live tracks – of course it’s just the new song we’re mostly interested in here.
“Sacred Warpath” is quite an interesting listen. It’s like a mix of all of the elements that have characterised previous Sodom records. There’s a variety of tempo changes though never reaching full speed. I suppose that’s a good idea – save the main ragers for the main event. “Sacred Warpath” certainly does get the head banging though when the double bass drumming kicks in. There’s a lot of variety in the guitars and the riffing. There’s some of the more melodic elements present in albums like 2001’s M-16, 2010’s In War and Pieces and Epitome of Torture. There’s even a nice little acoustic guitar part reminiscent of some of the nice clean guitars Sodom are capable of in contrast between their usual aggression (such as on songs like “Napalm in the Morning” and “God Bless You”). The production is also very interesting. The bass is right at the forefront of the mix, creating an earth shattering rumble like that of records such as 1992’s Tapping the Vein and 1994’s Get What You Deserve. There’s also a lot of ambient reverb effects very reminiscent of Sodom’s earliest works, 1984’s In the Sign of Evil EP and 1986’s Obsessed by Cruelty.
As far as the mix goes, I think it’s is a little messy because of the ambient overkill but given a little bit of tidying up, it would be very effective and create one of, if not the most sonically unique recordings of Sodom’s career. A definite highlight is of course Tom Angelripper’s vocals. The vocal style ranges from the roar of the more modern Sodom records to some of the most savage vocals he’s ever recorded, bordering on death and black metal styles. Seriously, imagine vocals from songs such as “Volcanic Slut” (from Obsessed By Cruelty), “Exhibition Bout” (from 1989’s Agent Orange), “Skinned Alive” (from Tapping the Vein), “Jesus Screamer” (from Get What You Deserve) or “Among the Weirdcong” (from M-16) but multiply the vitriolic throat shredding by 100 and this is what might describe Angelripper’s aggressive vocals on “Sacred Warpath” (in contrast with the modern day roar also present). Pure savagery, that’s the only way I can describe it.
As for the live tracks, we’re first treated to a ripping rendition of Sodom’s cover of The Trashmen’s classic “Surfin’ Bird” before the band seamlessly blends into the classic “The Saw is the Law”. It’s interesting to hear the song in a lower tuning since I’m always used to hearing the original but it works – the song sounds a lot heavier than the original recording that’s for sure (not to discredit the original since I love it)! What I do prefer about this version of “The Saw is the Law” is Tom’s vocals. He’s going for a much more aggressive style like that of the new single. The song sounds so much more savage with the more death-metal style growling. Throughout the song you can also hear the noise of the crowd, peaking just before guitarist Bernd “Bernemann” Kost rips into the solo. It’s making me even more excited for the gig just listening to the live performance – it sounds awesomely intense on record and I can’t wait for my own live Sodom experience!
Speaking of intensity, that’s just what’s in store for the next live cut on Sacred Warpath, “Stigmatized”. The band rips right through the song with all of the energy and aggression heard on the original recording (from Epitome of Torture) with ease. I can visualise the crowd with a crazy pit and all of the front row’s heads banging just listening to the recording. The final live track featured on the EP is a rendition of “City of God” from Sodom’s 2005 self-titled album. It’s introduced by a mighty roar from the crowd echoed by Tom’s top performance. The song showcases his higher roaring vocals to perfection and the band plays well thus ending the EP with endless crowd cheers and cries for more.
In terms of sound, I must say the live tracks sound excellent on the recording, just as good as a studio album! Each element is clear and cuts right through the mix, nothing is lost. I also really like how the sound of the crowd is constantly providing an ambient backdrop behind the music and then comes to the forefront between songs. If you close your eyes and crank the volume up loud it would feel as if you were there in the crowd too. Sometimes the production of live albums can be quite messy in my opinion but Sacred Warpath gets it just right.
Sacred Warpath makes for an interesting but great listening experience, and is a cool teaser EP for what’s to come from the next album which is hopefully due some time this year. I can’t wait for it. Watch this space.
Photo Credits: Sodom Official Facebook