support Die Hard
author EW date 06/02/11 venue Underworld, London, UK

It took me years to see Sodom before I finally did at Wacken 07 when their performance left me in a disappointed state of boredom; a subsequent show at Bloodstock 09 has entirely escaped my consciousness (we can thus assume it too wasn't great, and also that I was rather drunk); but with a club gig as 3rd time lucky it has turned out that Sodom have, at last, impressed me live.

Die Hard

Aside from that Bloodstock gig it has been a long time since the German thrash legends had graced UK shores, let alone for an intimate club performance of the kind one is guaranteed at the Underworld and as such it was no surprise this show was sold out some days in advance. However before the main event we had the previously unknown package of Swedish black/thrash/deathsters Die Hard to decimate our eardrums with. A pre-gig Myspace listen, to these ears, sounded solid if unspectacular, extreme metal of the kind every metalhead like myself can get along with when the wish is for music of a greater enthusiasm than technical or songwriting grandeur. Essentially Die Hard's live performance replicated this assessment, yet with a pleasant emphasis on the passion bred into all those sworn to the darkside. All three band members upfront gave enough to satiate the attention of the eyes while the Swedes' set of thrashing blackened numbers did not need any further encouragement to get the sweaty throngs bobbing their heads in unison, recalling the 80's spirit of the respective genres from which they plunder, when pure dedication was apparent from every band on the scene. Frankly I felt Die Hard's music was doing enough alone to pass the muster as support band before a closing Venom cover, something it seemed everyone was happy to witness, sealed the deal on 40 minutes that convinced all Die Hard will be needing further consideration in the future.



Worthy of mention alongside Kreator and Destruction for their 80's output, Sodom have also in my eyes held up better than their Teutonic counterparts through into the 21st Century, allowing bassist/vocalist Tom Angelripper & his cohorts to bring forth such a varied setlist of songs culled from across a discography stretching little less than 30 years. From "Blasphemer" to "Agent Winter", "Nuclear Winter" to "The Saw Is The Law", "Ausgebombt" to "Bombenhagel", "M-16" to "In War And Pieces" Sodom have enough songs to play a different show every night of the tour, many of them top-notch thrash classics of the kind most modern-day thrash bands can only dream of. With just the one guitarist Sodom's sound is less cluttered than the usual, aiding a more respectful rendition of those tunes we all know so well from record and in the process enhancing the enjoyability factor such a show can bring. Even in an Underworld where the temperature was surely hot enough to fry an egg on the band's amps by the close of the set, the power trio finally made up for the previous disappointments I had suffered in their live presence, suggesting that if you want to catch these guys in their element, the club, and not the festival, is the place to be. Finally, something to match the years of loving I have given to their albums.

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