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In typical German metal fashion, thrash elder statesmen Sodom released their new EP, Sacred Warpath over a month ago in Europe, but we’re only just now getting the opportunity to blast it in the United States. We’re proud to premiere the title track in the US, and you can stream it below. What’s less typical is for a tenured band to release an EP at all. Brief releases are the stuff of young artists, by and large. When legacy acts such as this release brief recordings, they’re typically collections of unused material from previous albums harvested into stopgap releases.

Stopgap isn’t entirely accurate; appetizer is more apropos, in this case. The portions are small on Sacred Warpath, which contains only a single new song, the title track, as well as three live cuts. What’s here, however, fulfills two purposes. The first is to be a collector’s item—the EP’s pressing is limited to 1000, and its cover is a re-painted piece of cassette demo art.

The second, more interesting, goal is to build anticipation, both for Sodom’s as-yet untitled forthcoming album, as well as their headlining set at this year’s Maryland Deathfest. Keeping that in mind, releasing an EP (and releasing it closer to the festival date in America) seems like a deft move.

Sodom began their career as one of the three most renowned thrash acts in Germany—alongside Kreator and Destruction, they provided an alternative to America’s Californian thrash scene, as well as laid the groundwork for more extreme bands to follow them. However, while Destruction and Kreator have been able to keep up their momentum on these shores (Kreator just opened for Arch Enemy, for example) Sodom has not, even though Tom Angelripper’s got the most consistent discography of the three.

If Sacred Warpath is any indicator, the Sodom camp is hungry for their slice of the pie. The title track we're jamming continues the excellent songwriting evident on their 2013 album, Epitome of Torture, complete with a heightened sense of melody and a long (by Sodom standards) runtime. The standout, however, is the second track, a live version of their tongue-in-cheek cover of The Trashmen’s “Surfin’ Bird” (a choice cut of mine) which transitions on a dime into a savage rendition of fan favorite “The Saw is the Law.” It’s the kind of flavorful gut-punch that you only get on live recordings.

Side note: does anyone think the boys in Whitechapel know that Sodom already wrote this song? Better question: does anyone think they care? Regardless, the remaining two live cuts are equally tight, though less surprising.

Either way, if Sodom’s purpose in releasing this material in this way was to pique my interest in what they’re doing for the remainder of the year, then Sacred Warpath has accomplished its mission.

—Joseph Schafer

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Sacred Warpath is available via SPV/Steamhammer. follow Sodom on Facebook here.

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