SODOM
"Sacred Warpath EP"

(Steamhammer/SPV)

01. Sacred Warpath
02. The Saw is the Law (live)
03. City of God (live)
04. Stigmatized (live)

RATING: 8/10

"And now listen to my unmistakable demand upon this world: turn back on your sacred warpath and find the path of peace before it's too late. Our music will help you!"

So decreed by Tom Angelripper of SODOM. While some may seek to dissect and even scrutinize this statement as farce, those who have been following this act throughout their decades-long history will agree Angelripper's in earnest. For a band making its name off of death metal and once churning out songs called "Volcanic Slut" and "Witching Metal" plus having its cover art banned for a gratuitous orgy scene (including bestiality), SODOM is at-heart, a protest band. By now it's hardly a secret.

Targeting their venom against war, politics and hate mongers, the trio issues "Sacred Warpath", a four-track EP including one new cut and three live tracks. "Sacred Warpath" was intended for SODOM's upcoming full-length, but Tom Angelripper and the band decided to issue it alone with cover art Angelripper did back in the Eighties for a demo, now given an oil paint upgrade by Christian Emmel.

Thus the intent of "Sacred Warpath" is to go old school, much as SODOM did with the rebranded overhaul "The Final Sign of Evil" album and its successor, "In War and Pieces". The good news for SODOM fans is that "Sacred Warpath" is a hell of a song and well-worth the grab.

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The 5:47 track sounds like KREATOR and SLAYER and, of course, SODOM themselves. "Sacred Warpath" seldom hits thrash speed, but from the scorching intro yell of Tom Angelripper to the steady, banging clout from Markus "Makka" Freiwald, the dirty choke of the song feels cooked upon the same embers as "Persecution Mania", but with more of the explorative progressions of "Agent Orange". All while keeping an intentionally raw feel and sicko screeches from Angelripper tapped out of the "Obsessed by Cruelty" days. When SODOM accelerates the tempo on the choruses, Angelripper hits an undeniable impression of Tom Araya. Bernd "Bernemann" Kost, who has been doing this band honor since the mid-Nineties, is a one-man clean-up crew as his tight riffs and superb guitar solo keep the song's ire from exploding.

There's so much going on in this song you'll want to back it up a few times before letting the live tracks "The Saw is the Law", "City of God" and "Stigmatized" roll out. This is no longer a Tom Angelripper who wants to masturbate so hard as to kill himself, but that vicious, sinewy slaver from long ago makes its return here and "Sacred Warpath" is a monster cut. Lick your chops, fans. If this is any indication of what's coming next from SODOM, it could get deadly. The vinyl edition is limited to a thousand copies. Snag it while you can.

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