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Review of the Album "Better Off Dead" by German Thrash Metal Band Sodom

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

The Musical Style of the Album Better Off Dead

For all the attention that their previous album Agent Orange gets, German thrash metal band Sodom entered the decade of the 1990s releasing their 4th studio album called Better Off Dead. This one was released in 1990, a year that saw a few very famous releases by metal bands such as the albums Seasons in the Abyss, Rust in Peace, and Cowboys From Hell. However, Better Off Dead isn’t groovy thrash metal nor is it an album that dominates in the speed category. The thing is that there certainly is a thrash metal feel in this album too but it is not like a Reign in Blood type record where every song is 100 miles an hour. We will see touches of the change in direction though it is slight in this album. Lyrically, Sodom was not yet at the point where every song had a theme about warfare. By this point in time, they had totally abandoned their lyrical themes about Satanism and they were transformed into a thrash metal group. There are two cover songs performed on this album and as per the strategy, we will not be discussing those in favor of giving more attention to the songs actually written by Sodom.

How Does the Album Better Off Dead Begin?

“An Eye for an Eye” begins this album as the song gradually builds up into a song that lyrically questions the morality of the legal system. The question that is being asked in this song is that why the innocent people are dead and the guilty are still alive? It makes you think that there is no sufficient justice and it sometimes seems that way. With the release of this album, Sodom would release three albums in a four year period and they did well, not really rushing into things after their black metal inspired debut album.

Final Thoughts About Sodom's 4th Studio Album

This album is more of a collaborative effort as the songs by Sodom had the creative input of all the members. However, that does not mean that they did not have songs about political themes and warfare because songs such as Bloodtrails and Capture the Flag are about the mentioned subjects. Better Off Dead is the first album to not have Frank “Blackfire” playing alongside Tom Angelripper and there is a possibility that this may have been one of the reasons why this album is weaker than Agent Orange or Persecution Mania but don’t worry. This 4th effort by one of the best German metal bands in the world is still a decent album. The song “Resurrection” is dedicated to Tom Angelripper’s late father and it is a sort of blues metal kind of song. Lyrically, the song is trying to tell us that the afterlife is paradise and it represents eternal life for humans. For what it is worth, this 4th album by Sodom is a good sort of transitional album that sees the band make some musical changes while still retaining a semblance of thrash metal.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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