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Interview

Sodom Frontman Tom Angelripper Discusses New Album And U.S. Tour Plans

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Band Photo: Sodom (?)

Who'd be a metal journalist? You get to see some of your favourite bands, often meet them and hear all about their plans first. Oh well, there's always someone worse off I suppose! Sarcasm aside, last week in London I was treated to the Headbanger's Ball tour, a thrash metal extravaganza headlined by Exodus (see interview here) and also featuring Death Angel and Suicidal Angels, along with one of Germany's most beloved bands Sodom. Having seen and met Kreator and Destruction earlier this year, it was a real treat to complete the trilogy so to speak and sit down with Sodom frontman Tom Angelripper to discuss the new EP, "Partisan," progress on the new album and whether or not fans in the U.S.A. and Canada can expect to see them across the Atlantic any time soon. You can watch the interview in full below.

Diamond Oz: We're here with Mr. Tom Angelripper and for those of you that weren't here, they've just put on an amazing show.

Tom Angelripper: The crowd was brilliant. This is the first time we've played here at The Electric Ballroom. Years ago we played a couple of shows at The Underworld. It was the same crowd, a lot of punks, it was really sweaty, not a big stage but I like it like that because there's a lot of contact with fans and when people spit at me I can spit back.

Oz: Well of course one of the places to start with is "Partisan," which is out now, finally. You played the two new songs tonight which were both excellent, especially the title track.

Tom: Yeah that was a big question, if we would play the new songs or not, but we want to show the people what we're going to do next and the direction of the next album. It's always hard to choose songs for a one hour setlist.

Oz: Of course and then you have to miss out some people's favourites like "Napalm In The Morning" for example.

Tom: I know, I know, there's so much material. We want to change the setlist from time to time. We played in Russia a few weeks ago and it was a two hour show so we were able to fit everything in but if you're on a tour like this one, which is a great tour, you only get one hour, which is still eleven songs.

Oz: Yeah, so you still get a good mixture in and I think the new songs work excellently alongside the classics.

Tom: These are our two favourite songs from the new ones. There's something special behind them, Frank Blackfire has his stamp on "Partisan" and "Conflagration" is Yorck's song and more crust punk. It works, you know? And my vocals come over the same.

Oz: Well, "Partisan" in particular I'm very interested by because I was wondering if it was directly inspired by the Partisans from the Second World War, which I know is something you're interested, in particular the Partisans from Yugoslavia and Greece.

Tom: I think it's more about the Partisan fighters in general you know? Where they couldn't fight against a regime, it's a government for their own rights against an official military... Ah there's so many details! The whole world is getting out of control and that's what I wrote down. Sometimes, I get up in the night and I've got to write something down. I hate the situation we're in and I'm scared about it. I'm not scared about myself, I'm scared about my kids and the next generation. There is no message but being a singer in a band, you get the chance to scream it out.

Oz: Like you say, it's kind of a preview for the next album, which I believe you're hoping to release by Winter next year?

Tom: No. We've started writing the new songs but we have no release date confirmed with the record label. I said to the label, "I don't want to work with all this pressure. We've just started writing the songs and when the songs are arranged, we can talk about it." So it could be the end of next year, maybe beginning of 2020.

Oz: Ultimately, you can't put a time limit on art so it'll be ready when it's ready.

Tom: Exactly. I can't work with a date. If you say, "We want a release next year," the record company will say, "We need the mastering in August or September." That's the deal and the record company phoned me to say, "OK, you get your time, start writing new songs and then we'll see you."

Oz: I found the Sodom documentary, "Lords Of Depravity" a little while ago on YouTube and I was wondering if you're going to follow that up at any point because so much has happened with the band since, it would be great to hear more and why not have another three hours of Sodom?

Tom: I think the first one was the more spectacular because of all the lineup changes and all the ex members that took part. We've thought about doing more of a tour story, maybe bringing the camera to Brazil and South America, doing something special. But you can't repeat the eighties. We've also thought about doing a live album or live DVD but I don't want to record a live album at Wacken for example, we're looking for a special place. Maybe somewhere we've never played before, that would be really special. That's my opinion. But I never think about doing a "Lords Of Depravity" part 3. What can we tell the people? There's nothing except for a few lineup changes, maybe people are interested in Blackfire coming back but the story is very short.

Oz: Well of course, next month you're off to the States to do 70000 Tons Of Metal. Have you played there before?

Tom: I've been there a couple of times. We played 70000 Tons Of Metal, Barge To Hell, which I don't know why they don't do anymore. Our drummer, "Husky" said that it's "Not metal." I said, "Why not? I want to be together with some bands, some boys from the old days, spend some time relaxing and we'll have to work anyway, do two shows and do our job.

Oz: It's great for the fans and I can imagine it's great for the bands as well, but will you being playing some more shows in America while you're over there?

Tom: No, we need to think about a North American tour because it's a long time since we've been there and the time's right. We always have problems getting a licence, papers and all this shit. The thing is we have to find a serious promoter. Sometimes a promoter will tell us we can go to North America as tourists but we can't. What if there's a metal festival happening near and we're at the border? They'll know that we're in a band. So we want to find a serious promoter in North America, who will help us do a good job and then we'll go. It works in South America, in Australia, in Russia, it never works in America, I don't know why! So we're sitting at home and when we get good offers, we'll go.

Oz: I was just looking at your Venom shirt there. I know you're a big fan of the New Wave Of British Heavy Metal and bands like Tank and Raven, so I was wondering if being in the U.K. is something special for you?

Tom: The U.K. is a special place. All the bands I love come from the U.K, well most bands. It's like Tank, I met Cliff Evans in the afternoon and John Gallagher (Raven) is a good friend of mine and tomorrow we'll be playing the Ruhrpott Metal Meeting and Venom is headlining. I'm really looking forward to seeing the show and maybe talk to Chronos. But I think all the British bands are my biggest inspirations, especially the power trio of Raven or Motorhead or Venom.

Oz: I think it's kind of gone the other way now and a lot of British bands look up to the German bands such as yourself, Destruction and Kreator, as well the more industrial stuff. I think Germany's the place for metal now, as well as Scandinavia.

Tom: Yeah. I also think that the new generation of metal fans are more interested in the old school bands. That's what we thought about when we brought a second guitarist into the band, it's maybe not so "cult" or people get annoyed because Sodom is no longer a power trio but we get a chance to do a better setlist, better guitars, better songs, you know?

Diamond Oz's avatar

Ollie Hynes has been a writer for Metal Underground.com for four years and has been a metal fan for ten years, going so far as to travel abroad for metal shows.

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