Sodom - Tapping The Vein
Thrash Metal
11 songs (46:01)
Release year: 1992
Sodom, Steamhammer/SPV
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

Tapping The Vein is an oxymoron of sorts. "What you say bout my mother?" Woa, hold on bro. What I mean is that Tapping The Vein is not emblazoned on shirts, songs don't pepper the live setlist, it came out in the dreaded nineties, it was in between two albums that are decidedly NOT like this one, but, BUT, this is seen as one of Sodom's best ragers by pretty much most every fan out there. While this sounds like a cheap cop out, I would say that Tapping The Vein's closest point of comparison would be the boner inducing classic, Reign In Blood. This however, is a little over fifteen minutes longer than the SLLLLLAAAYYYYEERRR classic, but that's due to a couple actual mid tempo songs and one long epic. The feel however is the same.

Detour into rantland: What makes Tapping The Vein so intense is that this is a prime example of a band that is playing to the absolute limits of their abilities. When it comes to violent, aggressive music, the human element that makes this come to life is the feeling of actual humans performing at peak ability. You can hear that slight strain, the fleeting hint of a sense of tiredness despite the musicians being obvious masters in their respective roles. It's like, if they recorded this album a month later, it would be juuuust slightly faster, but still would have that manic intensity that comes from being pushed. So, this human element is vital in terms of imparting "heaviness" to the listener. When a cpu is playing drums and everything sounds like it was played in some RAM bot's sleep, that element is missing. The feeling of someone being pushed to their breaking point but maintaining at that precipice is gone.

I've done a pretty recent ramble fest on the power of real drums played by a human, and Tapping The Vein is one of the brightest examples of stellar, hard hitting drums on par with Dave Lombardo and Gene Hoglan. Other than three midtempo tracks (one of them, Wachturn, is a rousing punk song that's sung in German), this album is set to full on balls to the wall attack mode. The ferocity of the drums being hit brings to mind someone being beaten to death by a heavy wrench, or a solid stick, and the feeling of pushing through the arm fatigue to deliver more disfiguring and displacing blows. It's intense. Body Parts sets the tone from the get go, which is fast and violent. Surprisingly, the first vocals from Tom are deep guttural barks, not unlike death metal. Would this be their Demonic? Not quite. That was a Testament reference btw. Here's another one. Tapping The Vein isn't even a mix of death and "normal" vocals ala The Gathering. In fact, during the course of Body Parts, Tom slowly begins to come back to his "regular" menacing rasp. Skinned Alive has an uncomfortable sounding, chromatic melody that slinks up and down in a manic, crazy sounding way. The feeling of being strapped in and about to get Bobby Flayed is real. Then the chorus seems to switch perspective and sounds oddly, triumphant? as the POV switches to the guy skinning away. Deadline is a personal fav, and this is a rather straightforward number. Drums are a huge highlight here. It sounds like buildings are crashing down. Hunting Season, the sequel to Good Will Hunting as seen in Jay And Bob, is the last full out, maniacally fast song on this exhausting album. The snare rolls here are so important in conveying the feeling of being on the hunt. The hunt for Man. The mid tempo songs on the album are beyond decent and decidedly above average. But, just like with Reign In Blood, Tapping The Vein fills a certain mood for yours truly. Mid tempo songs just get in the way.

The reason for reviewing these old albums is because there really aren't than many reviews out there for said albums. Especially those that were released before the advent of ye olde internets. Plus, it's somewhat interesting to compare an album to today's standards as to those of yesteryear's. In that case, Tapping The Vein stands tall above much of the output released in the same time frame from other thrash contemporaries. Also, being that 1992 was nearing the end of the glory days of thrash and the middle of the rise of Floridian Death Metal, Sodom were more than able to keep up with the rest of the pack. In fact, Sodom were putting on a clinic on how to keep it real.

Killing Songs :
Body Parts, Deadline, Skinned Alive, Hunting Season, Bullet In The Head, Back To War
Ben quoted 90 / 100
Other albums by Sodom that we have reviewed:
Sodom - Get What You Deserve reviewed by Ben and quoted 73 / 100
Sodom - Persecution Mania reviewed by Ben and quoted 80 / 100
Sodom - Bombenhagel reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
Sodom - Sacred Warpath reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Sodom - Epitome of Torture reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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