Code Red


Pavement Music, 1999

REVIEW BY: Christopher Thelen


Ever since I discovered groups like Anthrax and Slayer, I have been rather partial to speed metal. I love the reckless energy and the hummingbird-after-three-espressos beats of the songs. Maybe it was a guy - check that, teenage guy - thing, but such music provided me with a release.

Germany's Sodom remind me a lot of bands like Slayer in their musical approach, as heard on their 1999 release my_heart_sings_the_harmony_web_ad_alt_250 Code Red. However, if there is one word I would ask Tom Angelripper and crew to utilize, it's one I never thought I'd use with a metal act: restraint.

The band - bassist/vocalist Angelripper, guitarist Bernemann and drummer Bobby - are an incredibly tight outfit, and both the lyrics and the songwriting are of very high caliber. (They should be; this band has been slugging it out now for some time.) Angelripper's vocals come through very clearly in this mix, something I'm not particularly used to in a lot of today's metal.

When it comes to intensity, Code Red absolutely oozes it. For a three-piece band (assisted on "The Wolf And The Lamb" by guitarist Harris Jones), Sodom creates a sound that makes it feel like you're listening to a larger ensemble. And if the brutal chords on tracks like "Tombstone," "Spiritual Demise" or "The Vice Of Killing" don't do a Texas two-step on your spine, the powerful lyrics will crush whatever is left. Brutal? Sure, but I've heard worse. That might not be enough to calm the nerves of Tipper Gore, but it will have to do.

So why am I talking about restraint when it comes to Sodom? It's a minor point, but one worth noting: the band plows through the songs on Code Red so quickly, it almost feels like you're not being allowed to come up for air, even for one second. I understand the desire to keep the energy and aggression levels high with this music, but even the briefest of pauses between the tracks - namely, something noticeable - would be appreciated.

Still, this is not an issue that would sink Code Red, and the album stands strong as one of Sodom's best works ever. No need to sound the alarm here; Code Red is very much worthy of your time and money.

Rating: B+

User Rating: Not Yet Rated



© 2000 Christopher Thelen and The Daily Vault. All rights reserved. Review or any portion may not be reproduced without written permission. Cover art is the intellectual property of Pavement Music, and is used for informational purposes only.