Year of release: 2020
Released by: Steamhammer
Rating: 7 / 10
16th - just think! - SODOM album. This in itself means something. SODOM are probably the last real grandfathers from the golden era of Thrash Metal, who are still in the ranks, and not just pulling the strap. In 2 years, the group will turn 40, and yet it never disappointed. And "Genesis XIX" also did not become a disappointment (although it's not particularly good either).
"Genesis XIX" was originally a very intriguing news. After all, in 2018, the legendary Frank Blackfire returned to the group, another new guitarist came with him, and a new drummer arrived to record the album. The pen samples in the form of the EP "Out of the Frontline Trench" and "Partisan" did not show any breakthrough tendencies, but they were all so different from the previous SODOM material, although I cannot say that they were definitely the better. Finally, “Genesis XIX” came out ... and it turned out to be the same SODOM that we have been listening to since “Epitome of Torture”. It's not bad in itself, it just gets boring. Unfortunately, the Germans have found their own formula, from which they are not going to retreat. We are offered a whole 55 minutes of sprightly action songs about war, social discord and sodomy, written according to a standard recipe. Yes, this recipe works flawlessly, and once again we get a dose of aggressive, proper Thrash. But the riffs, frankly, are not so tenacious anymore, which is surprising. After all, Blackfire, author of “Agent Orange” and “Persecution Mania”, is playing here! But no, Frank's recognizable style is only felt occasionally - for example, on “Glock‘ n ’Roll” and in solos. Bernemann could have played almost everything else just as well. There is also little change on the drums, except for the blast-beat fragments that SODOM did not allow themselves before. In general, the attempt to refresh the lineup failed. The musical effect of all perturbations is practically zero.
But to hell with refreshments; anyway, the songs work, there is no shit on the album. But something urgently needs to be done with the sound. The same production on the latest releases has already gone awry, and it doesn't matter that they use different studios and producers every time. The result has almost the same disadvantages. They get a typical modern sound, to which all the sacred epithets of sound engineering are applicable: “bright”, “powerful”, “heavy”, and especially “balanced”, “dense” and “solid”. It is balanced in such a way that all tracks are aligned in the mix at one point (hooray, equality!), and the ruthless filling of all empty spaces provides "density". The final mix looks like a solid, perfectly straight line drawn by a bold marker. A 7-year long line is overkill. The compression is not as monstrous as on the 2006 self-titled LP, but still completely redundant.
The design of the release maintains the aesthetics of its predecessor in all aspects. Thematic, bright and beautiful. Again, the album was released in a large folding digipak with a poster. Thick booklet has loads of photos. Details on a video. Overall, the album is very solid and SODOM fans should definitely take it. But at the same time "Genesis XIX" symbolizes a creative stagnation, which may be final. We have to be ready for this.