|Classic Review: Sodom - Better Off Dead|
|Better Off Dead|
Year released: 1990
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: May 29, 2004
Reviewed by: 4th Horseman
for:Better Off Dead
"Oh great God, If you really exist
For many years, I am asking you why?
Why are the innocent dead, and the guilty alive?
Where is justice? Where is punishment?"
And so begins Sodom's cleanest and most accessible album to date. If you are one of those people who never got into Sodom's music because it was never catchy enough for you, then "Better Off Dead" may be the cure to that illness.
We finally get to hear Tom Angelripper (Thomas Such is his real name by the way) deliver clear vocals on this one. And man do the vocals kick ass! The only way I can describe the sound is like this – James Hetfield meets Tom Araya at their peak. Imagine if those two somehow had a kid, well this is the voice of that kid! This is the most melodic Sodom release to date, with catchy, sing-along choruses and grooves throughout. On more than one occasion, I have heard comparisons being made between this album and Metallica's self titled 1991 release ("Black Album"). There are certain similarities, however, this is still much harsher and faster than anything Metallica released after RTL.
The sound is somewhat of a departure from the traditional Sodom sound of "Persecution Mania" and "Agent Orange", however this is far from a sell-out album. This album slaughters the listener in a whole different way, something Metallica probably tried (in addition to the $$$) with the "Black Album" but failed. This album is everything the "Black Album" should have been. Only that it is better and faster. Just listen to the awesome track "The Saw Is The Law" and tell me that James Hetfield is not trying to do the same thing on the verses of "Enter Sandman."
The album opener "An Eye For An Eye" is a fast paced, angry song with great lyrics and speed. The chorus in addition to Tom's bad-ass German accent makes this is an instant hook song to pound you into the album. The first half of the CD is more groove oriented and much catchier than the second half, which primarily consist of full speed thrash assaults somewhat reminiscent of Sodom's previous works. Somewhat.
No album would be a Sodom album unless it contained at least one song that gets you wondering "what the hell is this doing on this CD?" That song here is the Thin Lizzy cover "Cold Sweat." Which is still a killer track, much better than the original, but it sounds a little out of place on this disc; a little too melodic, even for this album. "Resurrection" too sounds out of place, and is probably the weakest song on the disc. It would sound out of place on any thrash album for that matter.
Best tracks include "An Eye For An Eye", "The Saw Is The Law", "Capture The Flag" and "Stalinorgel." The last track could very well have been on "Agent Orange." This is not a thrash classic, but a great album nonetheless. "Better Off Dead" may serve as a good gateway album to discovering the power and joining the ranks of "Sodomaniacs." Go get it.
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