Sodom - Genesis XIX review



Reviewer:
5.0

186 users:
7.82
Band: Sodom
Album: Genesis XIX
Release date: November 2020


01. Blind Superstition
02. Sodom & Gomorrah
03. Euthanasia
04. Genesis XIX
05. Nicht Mehr Mein Land
06. Glock N' Roll
07. The Harponeer
08. Dehumanized
09. Occult Perpetrator
10. Waldo & Pigpen
11. Indoctrination
12. Friendly Fire


If you were anticipating Agent Orange 2.0, this is not it.

After a massive line-up change, you never know what to expect from a band. Almost three years ago, it was announced that drummer Makka and guitarist Bernemann were out of Sodom. Bernemann's departure especially came as a shock because he had the job for more than twenty years, by far the longest time any guitarist had managed to remain in Sodom, a band that before him had a different guitarist playing on almost every album. What was also a big surprise was that Tom Angelripper decided to replace him with two guitarists, one of these being none other than Frank Blackfire, the man behind the legendary riffs and solos of Persecution Mania and Agent Orange.

However, and as much as I love Sodom, I did not jump on the hype train following this news for two reasons: a) because I was a big fan of Bernemann and b) because Blackfire had disappeared from the scene for almost three decades and resurfaced only recently with Assassin. When Angelripper stated that he "would like to start all over again with fresh and hungry musicians", it didn't make sense to me. And Genesis XIX proves that I was right not to get too excited.

The beginning of Genesis XIX is promising. The intro track is not some atmospheric filler but a mid-tempo groovy riff setting the mood nicely, and hands off the baton to "Sodom & Gomorrah", which outlines the blackened speed/thrash idiom slightly better than the hundreds of new bands out there trying to recapture that particular sound. "Euthanasia" is fast and aggressive as well and boasts the best solo of the album. The title track (which was also featured on the Out Of The Frontline Trench EP) is the album highlight, with some really good riffs and a nice "Agent Orange"-throwback part after the solo. It is indeed a song that proves that the words 'long' and 'thrash' can go together. However, after this point is where the problems begin.

While there are moments in some songs that are memorable, like the haunting melodies and the Araya-like screams of "Glock 'N' Roll", there is also too much cringe in this album, like the ending of "Nicht Mehr Mein Land" which is rehashed, second-rate Slayer. Moreover, too many songs as whole entities are largely forgettable. Tracks like "The Harpooneer" and "Waldo & Pigpen" have similar structure and duration with "Genesis XIX" but are not nearly as engaging as the latter. "Indoctrination" proves that 'fast' can also be 'generic' and "Occult Perpetrator" is just a lacklustre mid-tempo track with gang shouts; I mean, what do you need the gang shouts for in a song that really doesn't even get you excited enough to get up from a chair, let alone raise your fist, headbang and shout along? The closer, "Friendly Fire" is made for mosh pit lovers, it is a fantastic track but it arrives too late I am afraid.

I cannot explain why Sodom needed to have two guitarists, since there is nothing on the guitar front that is so exciting on this album to justify that decision, especially when the band has done much more interesting things as a trio. I often find that when Genesis XIX is quick-paced it is neither menacing nor interesting enough and when it is groovy it is not catchy enough. And it doesn't sound either hungry or fresh. The drumming in particular is really boring and, combined with the generic riffing and the uninspired soloing, it makes for an album that just hurts my jaw from the excessive yawning.

In the space of five years Sodom released four very different albums from each other that, to me, must be part of every thrash fan's collection. There was the blackened speed/thrash dynamite (Persecution Mania), the absolute masterpiece of thrash metal (Agent Orange), the thrash 'n' roll rocker (Better Off Dead), and the face-melting death/thrasher (Tapping The Vein). Now, I was not so naïve as to expect another Persecution Mania or Agent Orange just because Blackfire is back. But I expected the material to be at least as good as it was with Bernemann most of the time. Genesis XIX is not only way too inferior to Code Red, M-16 or Sodom that were released a long time ago but it is also far below the standard set by its predecessor, Decision Day.

What a disappointment.


 



Written on 21.12.2020 by Only way to feel the noise is when it's good and loud!


Comments page 2 / 2

Comments: 38   Visited by: 202 users
27.12.2020 - 19:32
Hyamendacil1450
Written by nikarg on 23.12.2020 at 08:38

Written by Hyamendacil1450 on 22.12.2020 at 13:54

Thrash has been stale for 2 decades, if not 3 if we refer to the 80s thrash bands only. Expecting anything of quality from the classic thrash bands is like hoping to find fish swimming in sand.

Thrash was stale already in the '80s imo. Very few bands stood out and had a unique sound of their own, the rest were just copycats riding on the bandwagon. Some of those copycats were amazing though.


That is worth discussing. Thrash was just beginning in the 80s. As a musical movement it was fresh. Bands usually started strong, with good or even exceptional debut albums, gradually refining the sound, improving it, until ultimately they've hit the watering-down effect. Because there are just so many ways one can rehash the same album while remaining confined within the genre.

The thing about thrash those days is that even some copycats were good, even great. Take for example Sacrifice's Forward to Termination. A terrific album, clearly inspired by Slayer, but they played their music so good that there was no need for originality to begin with. Many of the second or third wave thrash bands essentially inspired, or even copied the first wave. The German scene for example, Destruction built its sound around Metallica's, Sodom and Kreator around Slayer.

Every new musical movement has copycats and the number of good bands will always be smaller than the number of shit ones. It is part of human behavior for some people to excel in a certain domain, better than others and that is the case in music too. However, and this is my opinion, out of all previous and future metal scenes and genres, thrash provided the highest number of high quality bands and albums and revolutionized metal forever, paving the way for more extreme forms. Thrash for metal is like the Industrial Revolution in the advent of the Western civilization. It was that spark that ignited a mini Big Bang.
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28.12.2020 - 00:12
nikarg
Mod
Written by Hyamendacil1450 on 27.12.2020 at 19:32

Large text, valid points

I am in complete agreement. Btw, I meant to say that thrash was already getting stale by the end of the '80s. In any case, I personally love good thrash and if the songs are nice bangers I don't care about originality at all. I do think that Sodom released some very respectable albums in this millennium, I just don't think this latest one is among them.
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28.12.2020 - 08:46
Hyamendacil1450
Written by nikarg on 28.12.2020 at 00:12

Written by Hyamendacil1450 on 27.12.2020 at 19:32

Large text, valid points

I am in complete agreement. Btw, I meant to say that thrash was already getting stale by the end of the '80s. In any case, I personally love good thrash and if the songs are nice bangers I don't care about originality at all. I do think that Sodom released some very respectable albums in this millennium, I just don't think this latest one is among them.


I get what you're saying, and yeah, the first signs of thrash starting its decline appeared around 1989. Some of them were trying to sell out. Quality wise though, the movement still went strong for another 2, maybe 3 years and then came a major dip in quality. It wasn't until Metallica's 1991 album when the decline became evident and irreversible. A lot of thrash bands tried to emulate that success formula only to fail badly. Some of them failed so badly that they disbanded all together.

I did not say that Sodom's post-Code Read releases sucked. As you say, a lot of them were respectable. But that's not what I am looking for when it comes to music. For too long Sodom has been making albums with 1 highlight, 2-3 more solid songs and the rest fillers. And this one is no exception. 1 highlight in Waldo & Pigpen, 3 more solid songs (4-6) and the rest can be discarded.
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03.01.2021 - 11:06
metalbrat
Review on the basis of what has been delivered earlier and what is expected seems to be a bit harsh on this album. Valid points are all accepted with the exception that this album is better than average and better than a lot of other shits of the genre which was released in this decade. For me if an album of 10 songs has more than 3 repeatable songs in it, then it deserves minimum 7/10 and I believe that MS subscribers are agreeing to it with the current rating.
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In the beginning I was made of clay. Then I bit the apple and they changed me to metal 🤘
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03.01.2021 - 21:35
nikarg
Mod
Written by metalbrat on 03.01.2021 at 11:06

For me if an album of 10 songs has more than 3 repeatable songs in it, then it deserves minimum 7/10 and I believe that MS subscribers are agreeing to it with the current rating.

For me, on the other hand, an album with 10 songs has to have more than half repeatable songs on it to deserve a 7 (which would mean that the album is actually good). This particular one has 12 songs, of which not more than 3 are repeatable, hence why a rating of 5 is actually even generous. I guess we just have a different way of evaluating, but you are clearly in the majority here.
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04.01.2021 - 18:08
metalbrat
Written by nikarg on 03.01.2021 at 21:35

Written by metalbrat on 03.01.2021 at 11:06

For me if an album of 10 songs has more than 3 repeatable songs in it, then it deserves minimum 7/10 and I believe that MS subscribers are agreeing to it with the current rating.

For me, on the other hand, an album with 10 songs has to have more than half repeatable songs on it to deserve a 7 (which would mean that the album is actually good). This particular one has 12 songs, of which not more than 3 are repeatable, hence why a rating of 5 is actually even generous. I guess we just have a different way of evaluating, but you are clearly in the majority here.

Respect your opinion but I am happy that majority agrees to me.:thumbup:
But I doubt you always follow this rule in all your ratings. I'll be watching you hereafter.
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In the beginning I was made of clay. Then I bit the apple and they changed me to metal 🤘
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16.02.2021 - 21:06
I agree with everything you said, even on what are the best tracks, the album gets worse every time you listen, very slow and very uninspired.
Unfortunately I also agree with your opinion about the last of Testament and Heathen, a bad year for thrash metal.
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26.02.2021 - 13:05
blackwreath13
I enjoyed this album, Indoctrination is the only song that did nothing for me (too punky).
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