REVIEW: SODOM – “Partisan” [EP]
Earlier this year German thrash metal veterans Sodom caught many by surprise when bass guitarist and frontman Thomas “Angelripper” Such officially announced that the band was parting ways with drummer Markus “Makka” Freiwald and lead guitarist of almost twenty years Bernd “Bernemann” Kost. The exodus was rather sketchy with the now ex-members citing how they were fired over Whatsapp without as much as an ear lent to their newly written material. This change affected touring schedules too as the band had pulled out of February 2018’s Full Metal Mountain festival because of short notice for the new line-up. What we do know is that the now 4-piece band introduces Frank “Blackfire” Gosdzik & Yorck Segatz on guitars and Stefan “Husky” Huskens replacing Makka behind the drumkit.
The artwork is carrying the signature style the group has followed for years, however has a monochromatic approach with only the title in red. This is not a full-length studio album and comprises a total of three tracks only, Title song ‘Partisan’, ‘Conflagration’ and a live recording of ‘Tired & Red’ originally from 1989’s Agent Orange album, played at this year’s Rock Hard Festival. Regarding the other two tracks it has the essence of classic Teutonic thrash metal the band has been recognized for. Tom rips out some good vocals along with that massive bellowing bass we are familiar with.
Blackfire and Yorck deliver on the guitars too with interestingly well written guitar pieces introducing a new musical angle yet managing to retain most of the feel and essence of Sodom’s sound forged by its previous guitarist. The fact that the band has two guitarists now translates to a fuller sound especially in the live track. The second guitar fills up the spaces during solo sections and adding more layers to the sound. Husky manages to stay true to the ‘Tired & Red’ experience however the two new tracks on the EP follow fairly simple drumming patterns, so we are yet to see him strut his stuff. The band also uses some clean passages as heard in the second half of the title track and occasionally feels like a continuation of 2016’s ‘Decision Day’.
The record is available for pre-order and becomes available from 23rd of November 2018 via clear vinyl, CD, or digital download and comes courtesy SPV/Steamhammer label. I like that it is well produced and not over-produced with excessive compression as a result the guitars sound clean yet retain an organic tone in the mix. Though it is an EP that celebrates a new beginning of this legendary band and an exhibition to what they will sound like going forward, with approximately seventeen minutes of playtime, it is quite short for the eight (or fourteen) Euros you spend on it. Also, one out of the three tracks is already available on YouTube along with the rest of their show at the Rock Hard Festival leaving you with two tracks which sound generically Sodom, which could work against this EP and I fear that it will be forgotten sooner than I would like it to be.
‘Partisan’ celebrates a new beginning for this legendary band and an exhibition to what they will sound like going forward. However its lack of runtime and tracks that feel like an extension of the previous record may wear it out faster than expected.