Sodom – Genesis XIX Review

Band: Sodom
Album: Genesis XIX
Label: Steamhammer
Genre: Thrash Metal
Country: Germany
Release Date: November 27, 2020
For Fans Of: Destruction, Kreator, Slayer

One of the biggest problems with reviewing a band that has reached true legendary status is that it can be hard not to compare the current output to the albums that got the band to the legendary status in the first place. Genesis XIX  is the sixteenth album by German thrashers Sodom. A band that, along with Kreator and Destruction, made Germany a mecca for quality thrash metal that was just slightly more abrasive than its American counterpart. Created by Bassist / Vocalist, Tom Angelripper, the band has been consistently putting out records to varying degrees of success. Their career can be broken into three periods. The classic era, when the bands sound was more proto-black metal and Sodom released its undisputed classics Persecution Mania and Agent Orange. After this era Sodom guitarist Frank Blackfire left to join Kreator, contributing to their own classic Coma of Souls.  After Blackfires departure the Sodom sound became notably more melodic and would carry the band in the 90’s. The turn of the millennium would see the band return to their straight forward thrash sound with the release of the masterpiece album, M-16, and this sound still carries to this day with one quality album after another. 2018 saw a return of Blackfire on guitars and has created much anticipation for new music, which has finally arrived in 2020 with Genesis XIX.

As I would with any album that has this level of anticipation, I went into this one apprehensive, but hoping for the best. The album opens with an intro track (that doesn’t suck as they often do) of some heavy chugging guitars and sets the tone for the album. This leads into the super thrashy lead single Sodom & Gomorrah, a song title that somehow took Sodom almost four decades to use, and it’s immediately apparent that this album will fit firmly with the albums that have defined the latter half of the band’s career. The next song is more straightforward thrash but leads into the title track, which is a 7 minute opus with a variance of soundscapes that paints a picture of an angelic battle. This is easily the standout track on the album, showcasing the expansion of the band from a power-trio to a four piece and allowing all members to flex their respective skills.

My biggest issue with this album is that the variance from thrash anthem to epic 6 minute song is kind of all you get. While each song, on its own, is good and fun to listen to, the album begins to feel long as you listen through, and even longer on subsequent listens. Being that the album is almost an hour in length it would be nice to hear Sodom mix it up a bit. The other negative that results from the lack of variance is that the songs do not stand out from one another, with the exception of the title track and the second single, Indoctrination, where the complimentary playing of Angelripper and Blackfire make for something truly special. Unfortunately, most of the songs are kind of interchangeable. Additionally, Genesis also doesn’t feel all that different from the last few albums that preceded it, making the sameness of this album that much more apparent. I think Genesis definitely could have benefited from a heavier hand during the editing process and could have gone from good to great as a lean, mean 40 minute thrash ripper. They could have even pulled a Carcass move and released the b-sides as a promotional EP in preparation for the album.

There aren’t many bands left from thrash’s golden age that can still make albums that can hold their own with the classics. This is not Sodom’s best by a long shot, but I don’t think that it’s fair to expect that at this point in the band’s career. That being said, Genesis provides an immensely fun thrash album that is sure to please fans that have been with the band for years, even if I don’t think that it’s an album that will bring in new ones. Sodom are a legendary band for a reason and this album shows that they aren’t ready to pass the torch just yet. 

Rating: 7 / 10

  1. Blind Superstition
  2. Sodom & Gomorrah
  3. Euthanasia
  4. Genesis XIX
  5. Nicht mehr mein Land
  6. Glock ‘n’ Roll
  7. The Harpooneer
  8. Dehumanized
  9. Occult Perpetrator
  10. Waldo & Pigpen
  11. Indoctrination
  12. Friendly Fire

Total Playing Time: 54:49

Click here to visit Sodom’s Website

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