Sodom - Epitome of Torture
Steamhammer/SPV
Thrash Metal
10 songs (39'58")
Release year: 2013
Sodom, Steamhammer/SPV
Reviewed by Alex
Major event

I will be the first to say that thrash is not one of my most favorite genres, and therefore, perhaps, I should not be touching major acts thrash releases. But then I always liked Sodom and somehow feel that Onkel Tom Angelripper and I share a bit of the same problem. Just like Tom’s, my profession calls for constantly staying ahead of myself, trying to reinvent the wheel over and over again, not to get stuck producing the same outcomes using the same tools from the standard toolbox. In other words, when you have been at it for a long time, how do you make sure the result does not look stale? Whether Tom intended it or not, and whether he even realizes it, the last three or four Sodom records have been a referendum on his band’s modern day relevancy. I liked the self-titled album, The Final Sign of Evil was a reissue of sorts, so that allowed for a breather, but In War and Pieces did not connect with me as much. And now we have Epitome of Torture, 14th full-length (if I count correctly) for the band which has been in existence for over 30 years.

Upon consuming the album multiple times just to receive the overall impression, a few general comments can be made. While delivering well-produced modern thrash, Sodom has expanded their reach a bit into general issue death metal, allowed for some more melodic tendencies bordering on Gothenburg melodeath, and spent overall a lot of time refining their sound in the studio. Epitome of Torture feels polished, almost too polished, concerned more with the heftiness than the rawness of its bite.

Except a few slowdown moments where the tempo is measured and death metal is more emphasized (Cannibal, Tracing the Victim), Epitome of Torture runs through its songs on mach speed. Listening to the title cut and Stigmatized, Sodom is immediately recognized, Tom’s slightly higher than cookie monster vocals delivering repetitive chorus lyrics. The melodic hints are numerous. Sometimes they are eschewed quickly, as in My Final Bullet, reintroduced in the form of gold nugget solos (My Final Bullet or the song-proclamation S.O.D.O.M.), or allowed to stick around bringing up Swedish references (Invocating the Demons, Into the Skies of War). One of my main problems with Epitome of Torture was not the fact it did not bludgeon enough, but the impression Sodom had a certain number of great-to-cool riffs to work with, and they had to use them judiciously, to open up the song in an awesome fashion (title cut, Shoot Today – Kill Tomorrow), but ultimately not to sustain it throughout. Perhaps, the best example of this is Katjuscha, the song dedicated to the Soviet rocket launcher credited with delving the Germans a lot of hard blows during WWII. The song was originally composed by the Soviet composer Matvei Blanter and to Sodom’s credit they mention it in the liner notes. Katjuscha opens up with the original Blanter melody, and sadly, this is the best moment in the song, some Soviet Jew Blanter proving to be a better composer than Angelripper.

To partially compensate for the lack of memorable moments, the sound of Epitome of Torture is balanced to perfection. In the end, we have a solid, but ultimately not rousing, album from the venerable veterans, and let thrash aficionados call it differently.

Killing Songs :
My Final Bullet, Stigmatized, Invocating the Demons, Katjuscha
Alex quoted 75 / 100
Other albums by Sodom that we have reviewed:
Sodom - Sacred Warpath reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Sodom - In War And Pieces reviewed by Kyle and quoted 81 / 100
Sodom - Sodom reviewed by Alex and quoted 81 / 100
Sodom - Agent Orange reviewed by Cody and quoted 95 / 100
Sodom - M16 reviewed by Paul and quoted 97 / 100
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