Sodom Interview

SPV/Steamhammer Records
SPV/Steamhammer Records

German thrash legends Sodom are back with a new album Decision Day. I caught up with frontman Tom Angelripper, who updates on the new record, tour plans, underrated Sodom albums, the U.S. presidential race and other topics.

Chad Bowar: In the past‭ six‭ ‬years or so you have released numerous studio albums,‭ ‬EPs,‭ ‬splits and compilations.‭ ‬To what do you attribute the band’s current high level of productivity‭?

Tom Angelripper: We still love what we do and we always try to find a creative way to write songs.‭ ‬When we finish an album production we start writing new songs after a short break.‭ ‬We are well attuned to each other since Makka (drums) joined the band.‭ ‬He brings so many positive influences to the band.

Was there anything unique about the songwriting process for Decision Day‭?

We worked the songs out without any pressure and we never talked about a release date with the label until the songs were written.‭ ‬That was a relaxed procedure.‭ ‬We recorded in different studios and rehearsal rooms.‭ ‬Each song was pre-produced and gave us the opportunity to change something if it was necessary.

How did you decide on your Onkel Tom bandmate Corney Rambardt as the album producer‭?

He also produced the last two Onkel Tom albums and some other bands.‭ ‬His studio is located near my hometown.‭ ‬He is also an old school Sodom fan and knows‭ ‬exactly what to do to get the‭ ‬typical‭ ‬organic‭ ‬Sodom sound.‭

What are some of the lyrical topics you cover on Decision Day‭?

The‭ ‬main topic describes the‭ ‬current‭ ‬state of our world.‭ ‬There’s bad news every day, especially when you consider how much the world has changed since our‭ ‬last album.‭ ‬Sectarian killing,‭ ‬cold war,‭ ‬nuclear armament,‭ ‬abolition of democracy in many countries‭,‭ ‬starvation and all the destruction. That inspired my lyrical mindset and fits so perfectly to our music.‭ ‬That is sad but true.‭

Can music play a role in helping solve‭ ‬some of the issues facing the world today,‭ ‬or is it simply a diversion or escape‭?

I am not politically active,‭ ‬but this music gave me the chance to enter the stage and scream it out.‭ ‬That is like  therapy for me.

What have been some of the highlights for you of your summer festival season‭?

Every festival show was great.‭ We played at Obscene Extreme festival in the Czech Republic for the first time.‭ ‬That was awesome.‭ ‬Pure heavy metal.‭ ‬That was like‭ ‬travelling in a time machine‭ going back to the‭ ‘‬80s.‭ ‬We had a lot of fun.

Any chance of a North American tour this album cycle‭?

Nothing planned yet,‭ but we’re trying to find a serious promoter who will help us tour over there.‭ ‬Hope‭ ‬we’ll make it in‭ ‬2017

As a history buff,‭ ‬do you like to take the opportunity to visit historic sites,‭ ‬museums,‭ ‬etc.‭ ‬when you have extra time on tour‭?

I never find time for cultural and historical adventures.‭ ‬That is a shame,‭ ‬but we just see airports,‭ ‬train stations and hotels and are always fighting with tight schedules.

With‭ ‬2016‭ ‬being the‭ ‬30th anniversary of‭ ‬your full-length debut Obsessed By Cruelty,‭ ‬do you plan to do anything to commemorate the milestone‭?

No.‭ ‬Maybe we’ll choose another song‭ ‬for the upcoming set lists.‭ ‬I‭ ‬am also fighting for a re-release here in‭ ‬Europe‭. We’ll see‭.

When you formed Sodom in‭ ‬1982,‭ ‬could you have ever imagined the band would still be around nearly‭ ‬35‭ ‬years later‭?

When we started the‭ ‬band we had no idea that we would still‭ be ‬alive‭ ‬after‭ ‬35‭ ‬years.‭ ‬In the beginning our musical attitudes were just for fun.‭ ‬But we got our first deal in‭ ‘‬84.‭ ‬That was amazing, ‬working in a professional studio for the first time.‭ ‬We were so lucky‭ ‬that Steamhammer believed in us.‭ ‬But being alive after so many years is a result of hard working men and the loyal support of our fans.

The music industry is completely different today than when you started.‭ ‬What have you had to change and adjust on the business side of things over the years to stay afloat as a band‭?

The music scene is getting more obscure and complicated.‭ ‬Hundreds of bands flood into the scene every month, but just a couple of them will get the chance for a‭ ‬deal.‭ ‬Too many record labels,‭ ‬publishers,‭ ‬merch companies and booking agencies skim the market to sign the bigger bands.‭ ‬Smaller underground bands stay on the track and get‭ ‬no chance.‭ It is so important not to get monopolized by them.‭ ‬We do the music‭ be‬cause we love it.‭ ‬We are just metal fans being on the stage for a while and celebrating what we do.‭ ‬

Looking back at your catalog,‭ ‬is there an album that you think was overlooked or underrated when released,‭ ‬but still holds up very well‭?

I think‭ ‘Til Death Do Us Unite (1997)‬ and‭ Masquerade In Blood (1995)‭‬ were underrated.‭ ‬These albums were released in that time ‬when a‭ ‬lot of metal bands changed their musical style to get more commercial‭, ‬but we did the heaviest albums in our career and survived.‭

Vinyl has made a big comeback,‭ ‬and your new album is being released in that format as well.‭ ‬Are you a vinyl collector at all‭?

Not really.‭ ‬I just have a couple of‭ ‬albums in‭ ‬my old‭ ‬’80s collection at home.‭ ‬But I appreciate the fact that vinyl is getting more successful.‭ ‬The vinyl collectors scene is getting bigger.‭ ‬I am so proud that our record label supports us in that way

What is your perspective on America’s presidential race between Donald Trump and Hillary Clinton‭?

Hope that Hillary will make it.‭ ‬My personal democratic attitude will‭ ‬never‭ ‬accept Trump as a president‭.

(interview published August 25, 2016)

Listen To Sodom – “Caligula”

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