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Interview with Tom Angelripper (Sodom)


Last Updated on 11:47 AM by Giorgos Tsekas

The lineup changes, the albums released since the last time we talked and the modern dystopia we live in were some of the topics we covered in our new discussion with Tom Angelripper. Ready, steady, go…

After a long course of being just three in command, how does it feel to be a four-piece band again and what has been different since.

Years ago I came up with the idea to recruit a second axeman when Bernemann was still in the band. But he seems not very interested and I thought that he never accepts a second guitarist by his side.  Later, we started rehearsing sessions with Frank for the first time after he left the band. And now songs like Nuclear winter, Sodomy & Lust, and Christ passion sounded so amazing and authentic. I was so astonished that the guitar sound is exactly the same like on persecution mania or Agent Orange album. Now, we are able to reproduce the songs in an original way during the live sets. Yorck as well is a big Sodom fan, so he came up with a lot of ideas for new songs and upcoming setlists. With two guitarists we are able to perform songs which are not working with just one. Even my bass can`t replace a second guitar. The live sound is getting more brutal and dynamic.

Sodom has been one of the most active bands in Thrash Metal, with quite a lot of releases.  What keeps your engines fueled? What keeps you going?

That’s right, nobody has released more records like us. There is no end in sight, we still have enough ideas for new projects and are still creative. This music is my life and I don’t even think about listening. But all success is based on hard and focused work and artistic skills. In this business, of course, you have to find a balance and face all resistance.

Why did you choose to revisit “Bombenhagel”? My guess goes with Blackfire’s return but I got a feeling that’s more than that.

We just wanted to hammer in our old classic with the new line-up. And BH is our most famous song. We want to show that we haven’t changed and that we have stayed true to our style. Here and there we changed a little and arranged the anthem into three different parts. That was a lot of fun. Thanks to Toni, we finally have a version that was played on point.

The fact that Harris Johns is also featured in “Bombenhangel” is brilliant; how easy was it for him to join you? Was he excited with your proposal?

Harris is still a good colleague of mine and we have always been in contact with him. When I asked him if he wanted to play the solo, he was absolutely thrilled and immediately accepted. He’s still a great guitarist too. We owe him a lot. Without him, our career would probably have been very different.

By listening to the “Bombenhangel” EP I got the feeling that some things have shifted, like Frank’s songwriting; maybe he’s trying some new things (?) – Is this EP a herald of what’s to come?

Yorck and I wrote the new songs on the EP. But we don’t have a direction for the tracks on the upcoming album. We always start writing and never compare songs from different records. We continue to develop but keep the typical style

“Coup De Grace” probably engulfs everything that’s wrong with this world with its lyrics. Do you feel we’ve reached a point of no return as a society? Will there ever be a light at the end of this horrible tunnel?

This song describes the current state of our earth, with all its climatic and political problems. Everything seems to be out of control to me right now. Human greed is destroying our planet and our livelihoods. The next generations will have to pay for it. That’s a shame. We give ourselves the death blow.

Other than the aforementioned, a re-occurring theme in your lyrics is war and battlefield. Why do you feel the need to speak about the World War 1, let’s say? What that thing that fascinates you?

A couple of years ago I got some photos and letters of my grandfather, handed down by my aunt. So, all the recollections, my grandfather told me about his fighting and living in trenches in WW1 came back. So I start looking documentaries and reading books about that. But, please don’t misunderstand me, war was always a big theme for all the Sodom lyrics the last three decades and always will be. But these lyrics also reflect the present time. I believe that we are on the brink of a new world war again. There is a fire everywhere

Sodom has been equated with frequent and intense live shows. Lately I think you made a live comeback at some festival. How did you feel? What was the attendee’s energy?

So far we only had three shows with the new line-up. But it was great to be on stage again. We missed that very much. Unfortunately, the already confirmed shows will be canceled or postponed to the next year. We don’t know what happens next, but we’re already working on new songs and projects. We will not give up and persevere

Extending the previous question, Greeks have always been of your most loyal disciples. Will the shows in Greece actually take place in November? What’s your info on that?

No, unfortunately I don’t think so. We are currently in contact with the organizer. The Corona requirements are constantly changing and we cannot plan. This is a very bad situation for us, but also for concert organizers and promoters.

Sodom this year mark their 40-year presence in the music industry; any special shows, anniversary releases or new merch in mind?

Of course, we have something planned. But let’s be honest, for me this is just a number and just a station in life. But of course I am very proud of myself and my many colleagues to have come so far. All of this without ever changing the music. We owe that to our loyal fans who appreciate real and authentic metal music.

Everything has changed so much in recent years, especially in music. What would be that piece of advice you’d give to new bands that want to be like Sodom?

Young bands should always try to create something new and stand out from the crowd of other bands. I know that it is very difficult to found and establish a band these days. Hundreds of new bands join the scene every month. Young musicians shouldn’t give up their work or studies just to make music. The business has become very tough now. Only when you have success with music and get a lot of gigs booked  you`ll make a living from it

As long as we’re on the subject, four decades of Thrash Metal can be intimidating for a new band in terms of composition. How do bands like you produce new music? What’s the procedure you’re following?

We’re still very creative and still enjoy the things we do. It is important for us to stay the way we are. We don’t want to disappoint our fans in the future either. We meet three times a week in our rehearsal room to compose. It is very important that the entire band is involved in the creation process. That makes the music a lot more honest and authentic. Of course, we very much hope that we will all stay healthy and creative and be able to make music for a few more years…

Thanx TOM…

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