When it comes to myopic, diehard heavy metal evangelism, few can compete with Sodom. After four decades of being thrash’s most gnarly figureheads, the German band haven’t come close to running out of steam, and this collection of retrospective re-records is as brutal and bruising as anything in their catalogue.
The novelty here is that Sodom have picked one song from each of their 16 studio albums, and given them all a robust upgrade, albeit retaining the originals’ arrangements to the deafening letter. As a result, 40 Years At War is more an exercise in unearthing overlooked gems than a greatest-hits set.
Pleasingly, the primitive likes of Sepulchral Voice (originally from cult debut In The Sign Of Evil) and After The Deluge (from the German version of 1986’s Obsessed By Cruelty) fit perfectly with rough-cut 90s picks like the amusingly knuckleheaded Jabba The Hut and the death metal-like Body Parts.
Above all, Sodom continue to attack everything they play with levels of eye-popping vehemence that put many of their peers, old and new, to shame. ‘Authorised to kill, fuming with rage!’ the apparently ageless Tom Angelripper screams at the beginning of Electrocution. Fair enough, mate.