After a somewhat surprising lineup change from previous album, Decision Day (2016) – and bringing back legendary axeman Frank Blackfire (Assassin, ex-Kreator) in the process – German thrash legends Sodom have fired back with full force with their 16th album, the unhinged and ferociously feral Genesis XIX.
To put it bluntly, Genesis XIX is a revelation and one that builds on the promise indicated by Sodom’s Partisan EP released back in 2018. The return of Blackfire has clearly reinvigorated the band and, in particular, Tom Angelripper’s vocals have arguably never sounded better. The songwriting is also some of the finest of Sodom’s career to date – period.
Plenty of variety can be found within Genesis XIX‘s 11 tracks starting with classic blackened thrash cuts such as opener “Sodom & Gomorrah”, “Euthanasia” and “Glock ‘n’ Roll”, which all evoke that special feeling of early Sodom releases Obsessed By Cruelty (1986) and Persecution Mania (1987) before they morphed into a more clinical machine on the monolithic Agent Orange (1989). However, where this album shines is in the moments where the band break the mold – the moments which will carve this LP a well-deserved high spot in the Sodom legacy. Tracks such as “Genesis XIX”, “Nicht mehr mein Land” and “The Harpooner” innovate a formula which, while successful, has become rather stale after more than 20 years. Instead, these tracks aren’t afraid to slow the pace and create tension, the bass-driven intro of the aforementioned “The Harpooner” acting as a Black Sabbath-like warning of impending doom.
Sodom operating as a quartet for the first time in their history is a joy to behold and they clearly belie their 40 years in the business. You could argue that they’ve never sounded hungrier! So, let us make this very, very clear, Genesis XIX is the best album Sodom have put out in years (and we do mean years) as well as being a contender for thrash album of the year – buy it! 8/10
Sodom’s Genesis XIX was released on 27th November 2020 via Steamhammer.