German stalwart thrash metal act Sodom has released it’s latest, a four-song EP titled Sacred Warpath, in 2014 through SPV/Steamhammer. Tom “Angelripper” and his cronies knew as far back as 1982 how to thrash an audience, and they still seem to have that black magic spark. Sodom has a formulaic and consistent output, something that’s helped propel it to the upper ranks of “Teutonic Terror” thrash, for good reason.
Sacred Warpath seems to be a tide-over release to keep fans appeased prior to a full-length, because there’s only one “new, studio” track. This is borne out in Tom’s commentary: “”Sacred Warpath” was originally written for our upcoming album, but we feel it’s a good idea to release it now as an appetizer for future Sodom tracks.” “Sacred Warpath”, the studio-polished, torch-bearing loner, is a good one: it’s jammed to the hilt with distinct, evil, heavy-hitting verses and pummeling choruses.
Unfortunately, the EP suffers from two serious flaws: first, the audio mix on two of the three live tracks is “like what you’d hear from the floor” as if you were a fan at the show – all vocals and kick drum. While the recording doesn’t misrepresent itself like “all Sodom shows sound pristine with a perfect balance”, to have half of an EP for sale sound like “potato recording” is… a stretch. Asking fans to pay for sub-par audio, when there are pro-shot, broadcast-quality, free, current live streams available online? Well, the hardcore collector fans who have all the live shows, and vinyls – and this is also available as a vinyl 10″ single – will love it! All three live tracks are clear – a couple are just unbalanced. “Sacred Warpath” and “City of God” have nicer mixes, with “Sacred Warpath” being the nicest, of course. The second flaw is that live audio these days isn’t as convincing to a more “picky” listener, without accompanying video, due to the popularity of studio overdubbing. So, if the lead guitar track on “City of God” is original, awesome. If it’s an overdub, awesome. To really “sell” this to a fan other then a die-hard collector, a DVD option with accompanying video would be more Buy-button alluring. It would be nice to know which concert dates these recordings are from. (If the retail packaging has this information, please ignore this peanut-gallery reviewer-with-promo-copy comment.)
Overall, Sacred Warpath is really thrashy. The riff on “The Saw is the Law” is an absolute beast of a neck-breaker, one of those rare riffs you can point out and reference half a genre. If you’re looking for a quick Sodom fix while waiting for their next full-length, and you want to hear at least one track featuring the most current lineup, pick this up.
The Saw is the Law (live)
City of God (live)
Tom “Angelripper” Such – Vocals/Bass Guitar
Bernemann Kost – Guitar
Markus “Makka” Freiwald – Drums