When Sodom announced in early 2018 that they were having a lineup change, I had a mix of thoughts. On one hand, the combination of Tom Angelripper, Bernemann and Makka had released two of the band’s best efforts from their entire career in my opinion. It’s still a shame that the trio have part ways. However, two particular points of interest about the lineup change have got fans’ attention – the return of classic-era guitarist Frank Blackfire, and the fact that band has become a four-piece.
Partisan is the first taste of what the new lineup, featuring second guitarist Yorck Segatz and drummer Stefan “Husky” Hüskens (Asphyx, ex-Desaster), has to offer. Upon face value the cover reeks of old-skool mentality, with its simple black and white colour scheme reminiscent of Sodom’s early demos. Beginning with the title track, the old-skool attitude continues. The riffs are generally simple, yet hooky and effective. The chords in the chorus and the ambient effects, particularly on Angelripper’s vocals, give a vibe reminiscent of Sodom classic Persecution Mania, which is always a good thing.
Moving from “Partisan” to “Conflagration”, the band showcase their punky side with the bulk of the song being straight up power-chord thrashing. When coupled with the punchy kick, it’s hard not to headbang. The EP ends with live tracks from Sodom’s performance at Rock Hard festival 2018, featuring the new lineup. “Tired and Red” sounds as good as ever although the double-kick work in the chorus adds a clunkiness that takes away from the frantic punch in other versions. Digital releases also feature the bonus of “One Step Over the Line” which retains a good heavy stomping rhythm, but sounds cool with the different flavour (in comparison to the original recording on Tapping the Vein) of Angelripper’s more blackened vocal and Blackfire’s solo style.
Overall, Partisan doesn’t reinvent any wheels for Sodom. It’s a straightforward thrasher laced with classic-era vibes, yet still feels new. The two new tracks are certain to feature in upcoming live sets and will undoubtedly whip up mosh pits into a frenzy. With a new LP in the works, hopefully blasting speakers before the new decade, Partisan is an awesome taste of what’s to come.
Partisan is out now