Thursday, February 23, 2012

Forgotten Albums: Sodom - Tapping the Vein

With this post, we're gonna begin a new feature called Forgotten Albums, where we take a look at some of the more overlooked works of major artists' discographies. To fire it up, I'm gonna take a quick look at my favorite Sodom album ever: "Tapping the Vein."



Released in 1992, "Tapping the Vein" came out at a time when thrash was basically disappearing left and right in favor of either death metal or "groove metal" (I've always preferred the term post-thrash.) In the early '90s, there was a prevailing sense that every thrash band had to go SOMEWHERE; there were a few stalwarts who decided to stay the course and did all right, a lot who stagnated, and a lot more who wandered off into more experimental territory with varying degrees of success. Of the Teutonic trinity, both Kreator and Destruction ended up dicking around with pretty awful bids at mainstream success, but Sodom ended up doing really well for themselves by doing what seemingly no other thrash band decided to do (apart from, oddly enough, Testament years later): get more extreme than ever before.

"Tapping the Vein" is an unbelievably fucking brutal album. It's not unreasonable to call it a full-fledged death/thrash album, but rather than getting to death metal via actual death metal riffs or blast beats, Sodom takes the Demolition Hammer approach of simply playing thrash so heavy, fast, and extreme that it basically borders on death metal simply due to sheer ferocity. Tom Angelripper's vocals are a full-throated death growl, easily the most extreme he ever performed in the band's history, and the guitar and drum presence of newcomer Andy Brings and Chris Witchhunter is razor-sharp and rhythmically convulsive. There's an incredible sense of speed and tense, gnashing energy behind the songs on this album; the palm-muted tremolo riffs and hyperspeed skank beats give this stuff a feeling of claustrophobia and and dark energy that most full-fledged death metal can't even match. This stuff's definitely cut from the mold of "Darkness Descends," another thrash album that seems intrinsically designed for death metal fans, and both should be heard by such listeners.

I've never been particularly big on thrash, but "Tapping the Vein" represents a sort of ideal form of the style to me: it manages to be incredibly brutal and stack up against even modern death metal in sheer barbarism, but never sacrifices anything about its intrinsic nature as a thrash record to achieve those heights. It's unfortunate that it gets passed over so often in favor of Sodom's more formative works, but it's definitely worth more attention than it's received so far.

11 comments:

  1. Yeah I prefer everything up until Agent Orange like most people, but this one's not too bad. The band's latent ferocity is wasted on all their Motorhead-ish later stuff.

    P.S. nigger penis

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  2. what is a "skank beat" that sounds inappropriate

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    1. hardcore punk drumming or, in metal, "the slayer beat." snare-kick snare-kick snare-kick snare-kick. it feels faster than anything else, like a headlong charge... and it makes you circle pit, which usually involves a kind of aggressive skanking.

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  3. Great feature! I'm definitely going to start doing this. and HOLY SHIT does this track rip. I am downloading the album this instant. i've sampled a fair amount of Sodom and this is the first shit of theirs I've been really into. hard not to hear this as the fulfillment of what they were doing all along.

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  4. I actually prefer this album to anything prior to it. I enjoy them, but this one...whew.

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  5. You should do more thrash posts, you probably know about lots of late 80's/early 90's extreme thrash albums that most of us haven't heard of.

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  6. The only "extreme thrash albums" that I can think of at the moment besides Tapping The Vein are Incubus' Serpent Temptation and Sindrome's Vault Of Inner Conscious.

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  7. Metallica's St. Anger is some pretty extreme thrash. Just because it doesn't aspire to be the ring cycle doesn't mean it isn't awesome, HEH. See, you gotta look at things with context. P.S. Emmure rulze

    -nokturn

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    1. that album does have the sickest drumming of any metallica material, for sure

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  8. I appreciate your post as this is indeed an underappreciated classic by Sodom. It's my second favorite in their illustrious catalog, after Agent Orange. The guitars and overall tempo are just incredible.

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  9. I agree with you. TAPPING IN THE VEIN is the most brutal album from thrash metal and from SODOM, guttural vocals, low tuning, agressive and brutal riffs. o like darkness descends too that share with tapping in the vein the top of all brutality in thrash metal. the best from SODOM.

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