Friday, March 4, 2011

Sodom - One Night in Bangkok (2003)

With Destruction having staged their comeback live recording one year earlier (the Japan-only Alive Devastation), it was only a matter of time before the other major players of German thrash would follow suit, as the style was coming back to full, bloody bloom in the early 21st century. Now, having already acquired the two previous Sodom live offerings, I was not exactly revved up for One Night in Bangkok. Frankly, Mortal Way of Live covers just about all my needs for live Angelripper and crew, but there are a number of things working in favor of this: two discs of material clocking in at over 90 minutes length, the first live album with Bernemann on guitar, and some bonus material like the video clip for "Among the Weirdcong". Not to mention the exotic location in which it was recorded.

The set list is extensive, but it covers a huge range of the band's career. The latest album M-16 was given quite a showing here: "Among the Weirdcong", "Napalm in the Morning", "I Am the War", and "M-16" itself are all present, while Code Red also given some representation in "Code Red", "Tombstone" and "The Vice of Killing" (strange that most of the better songs from that album were not deemed worthy of a Sodom set). The band's 90s punk years are not ignored, with "Fuck the Police" ('Til Death Do Us Unite), "Masquerade in Blood" (Masquerade in Blood), "Sodomized", "Eat Me!" and "Die Stumme Ursel" (Get What You Deserve). Most importantly, they host a veritable array of classics here from the 80s: "Remember the Fallen", "Outbreak of Evil", "Agent Orange", "Sodomy & Lust", "Ausgebombt", "Witching Metal", and "Blasphemer". Rounding out the selection are "Stalinhagel" (a medley of "Bombenhagel" and "Stalinorgel"), "Der Wachturm" from Tapping the Vein, a cover of "Ace of Spades" and one new track "The Enemy Inside" which wouldn't be officially released in its studio incarnation until the 2006 s/t.

The live mix is quite solid here, about as functional as a three piece is going to get in this setting, with the rhythms cutting out for leads, but Tom compensating with the copious, distorted bass lines, but my biggest complaint would just have to be with the set list. There are a number of classics left out here, most notably "Nuclear Winter", and the band seems to have a poor choice of what to incorporate from almost any individual album. Why is "Der Wachturm" here when there were such better selections from that album? Or some of the less exciting tracks from the punk/thrash years? The set just doesn't add up, and I'd probably shear about half of it off to get to the more exciting bits. And since the track list suffers, thus does the excitement of listening through it.

I know for sure that if I was a Sodom fan in Thailand, crawling out to experience one of my favorite German bands, most likely for the first time, I'd want to damn well thrash for a few hours! Aside from a few of the givens, there's just a lot of filler padding the choices. On the whole, One Night in Bangkok is no more valuable than Marooned Live, a solid if less than enthusiastic offering which in no way is worth listening to over about 90% of the band's studio offerings. As far as their live albums go, Mortal Way of Live still reigns supreme, though even this pales to similar efforts from other bands like Destruction or Iron Maiden. I wouldn't bother with this unless you are dead set on purchasing everything in this band's catalog.

Verdict: Indifference [6/10]

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