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Sodom - Noch lange nicht Ausgebombt
On the day that I would receive a call by Sodom’s Tom Angelripper, I was totally exhausted. The weekend had killed me due to an anniversary and the vinyl and cd market in Utrecht. However, I bought ‘Agent Orange’, the absolute killer album by Sodom and while listening to their latest album I wondered whether the band would be ausgebombt by now.
 
Hi, this is Siem from metalrage.
 
Hello, this is Tom Angelripper. Where are you from?
 
I’m from Maastricht, that’s close to the German border.
 
Ah, so können wir das Interview auf Deutsch machen?
 
Ah, mene Deutsche sprache ist sehr slecht, so could we speak in English then?
 
That’s ok.
 
Well, first question then. The new album will be released on the 24th of April, five years after M-16. What took you so long?
 
Yes I know it was a long time ago, but we did not do totally nothing in the mean time. Of course there was the live album ‘One Night in Bangkok’ and the DVD ‘Lords of Depravity part I’ so we did had a couple of releases. And we were also busy recording this material but the record company told us to wait a little bit longer.
 
But still, you recorded the album in June?
 
Well, first we recorded the drum parts in a studio in Köln and than we had a break. Afterwards we were looking for a place to record the other parts and a friend of us helped us out. So we only did the bass and the vocals then so we could release the record pretty fast after that.
 
The new songs seem to have more melodies than before and are less straight to the point. Do you agree?
 
Yes, and the most important change is the use of the guitars. I think a lot of thrash fans will agree with that. With this album, the guitar is more melodic and the range of the songs is also different. And as a result of this the choruses are better. I think that is important especially because we now have better chorus lines that will stick in your head. The rest has been the same, the brutality, the thrash, the cover artwork.
 
And it actually names just ‘Sodom’.
 
Yes, it refers to our band name. I think that there comes a time in every band’s life in which there will be an album released that is self-titled. In my opinion, the time for Sodom is right to do that right now and the music feels like it should be a good representation of what we’re about.
 
But there is a story behind the artwork isn’t it?
 
Haha, yeah there is. The story about it is just Sodom you know. The first cover with the soldier and a machine gun and a chain saw was too brutal for the record company so they replaced it with a black picture and just the machine gun and the chain saw for the stores.
But I really like the original just like all the artwork for Sodom. Especially on ‘Mortal Way of Life’ which is my favorite album cover there is also some bizarre things on it. To ban it is not my decision but still I feel artistically free and that is very important to me.
 
Maybe it is about the fact that parents don’t want to reveal these pictures next to the Robbie Williams cover in store?
 
Could be. But Sodom is now stable for ten years and we will continue doing it our way. The fans get everything though. If they see the album in store, it’s with the new cover but there will be an original cover in it and a poster with the picture in the jewel case. So, for the outside world it seems like a banned cover, but for the fans and for us it isn’t.
 
When I saw your DVD, you talked about Venom like they were your personal heroes. But just recently you talked very severe about their new work that it would be only about making money. Why did you feel like speaking in that way?
 
You saw the DVD so you know that Venom was a band who’s very close to me. But they are a band that will be always successful. And when I listened to the new record it just didn’t have the spirit. ‘Metal Black’ is in no way ‘Black Metal’ and to me it seemed that they really lost something.
Maybe, after so many years you risk a lot by doing such a reunion. And do not get me wrong, I think Chronos may be the best singing bass player in the world so no offense. And it wasn’t about making money
 
How do you react to the new Venom album as a fan?
 
Like I said, it has lost its spirit. Sodom will never change in that way, just like Slayer. When I put someone out of the band I put in somebody new and we go further with some refreshments and interesting ideas.
 
Do you think people will react towards the Sodom album in the same way, because it is something different than before?
 
Well, it could happen to anyone else. We will always be on the road as long as we’re able to and do the new Sodom album. Right now, I’m living my life the way I’m doing it and I like it, it is the way I want it to be.
We’re now in the strongest line-up ever for ten years. That’s something that had never happened before. When the situation gets severe like when Witchhunter got drunk all the time and said: ‘No, I don’t accept you being leader of the band’ we couldn’t work together anymore. With the new line-up, everyone is supporting each other, there are no financial struggles; it’s all working out very smoothly and easy. It almost feels like a family and after ten years we are still alive. I don’t kick someone out of the band just because I don’t like him, so I would say it won’t happen to Sodom, not now.
 
About the DVD. Will there be a Lords of Depravity part II?
 
There are serious plans of releasing a second part and probably at the end of this year we will release the second part. But first we will go on a small tour and then I have a small Onkel Tom tour.
 
And what material will be appearing on the DVD?
 
The complete history of the band from 1995. There will be behind the scenes movies and more video clips than the first time. Not just the backstage stuff but something special. Just like the first DVD came out to be a historical piece instead of a clean description of the band, we want to make something special. This time, there will be more material and I always have my camera with me to shoot.
 
You have a lot of fans in the Eastern European countries? Can you explain that?
 
Well, we will be on tour in the Eastern European countries but we haven’t been there before that much. It is actually the first time we will go to Tallin and afterwards we will do a small tour. And after that there will be a big European Tour and a lot of festivals. We want to do a classical thrash party because we’ve been on the road since 1980.
 
Do you feel a kind of connection between yourself and those people? Your lyrics have a political meaning of how governments oppress their citizens.
 
No, I wouldn’t say that there is special connection. You know, these people are really hungry and visiting those countries is like traveling in a time machine. Metal is really big in those countries you know. It’s a special experience.
 
But your lyrics are pretty political. Especially the sentence ‘We should be proud of our glory because of our past’ from ‘Axis of Evil I found interesting.
 
That’s the song were president George W. Bush comes in. When September 11th happened it gave me a lot of inspiration. As a singer of a thrash metal band, I think it is really good to be busy and interested in such kinds of matters.
I know I can’t oppress the USA with my lyrics but I know what happened and I feel like I should express the way I feel about it in the songs. It’s up to the rest to think something about it or not. But it’s not only about the situation in the states. Also the Israel-Palestina case is a very bad situation with a lot of complexity. I think that because I’m in a metal band I should write about this stuff.
 
Well, you’ve made a point there. Especially heavy music will fit with those kinds of lyrics.
 
Yes and thrash metal is heavy music.
 
That was my last question. Thank you for your time and do you think you will be coming to Holland this year.
 
Yes, we will do a European tour this summer with a couple of shows in Holland so I might see you there.
 
Thank you and good luck with the release of the Sodom album.
 
Ok. Goodbye.