If Tom Angelripper is the pulsating black heart that propels German metal institution Sodom ever further into the abyss, then it’s undoubtedly Frank Blackfire that provides the blood for Onkel Tom to pump; It’s no surprise that Blackfire’s return to the recording fold on the band’s new album Genesis XIX sees the record being heralded as a return to the band’s late eighties best.

Slayer may provide the focus and inspiration for unreconstructed thrashers like Glock n’Roll and The Harpooneer, but for the most part this is undeniably the Sodom of Persecution Mania and Agent Orange delivered with a modern veneer– and that’s a joy to report.

Angelripper has undoubtedly been fired by the return of his old sparring partner, but the contributions of new members Yorck Segatz (grr) and Toni Merkel (drr) shouldn’t be underestimated; this new, quartet-sized Sodom hits the ground running on opening track Sodom & Gomorrah and doesn’t stop until the closing notes of Friendly Fire finally exit the brain. So, whilst the decision to go back to the past with Blackfire has undoubtedly been a success, so too has the ground-breaking decision that the band should move forward as a four-piece for the first time in it’s career. Hail to the old and welcome to the new indeed.

I seriously can’t recall being as excited by new Sodom music in many a year; the power unleashed on thrash metal stompers like Dehumanized and the absolutely superb Indoctrination, which sounds like a fabulous mashup of The Dead Boys and old Destruction, is not only a surprise but also a joy to behold. For too long the bulk of a Sodom album has been able to be consigned to the ‘meh’ folder almost immediately – that’s simply not the case on Genesis XIX.

Of course, Angelripper’s predilection for hiring and firing means that this lineup might not be around to celebrate the fruits of its labours for very long, but for now that doesn’t matter. Simply whack this album on/in to which ever delivery device you favour and prepare to wallow in some of the best old-school thrash metal you’ll have heard in years…

Genesis XIX releases on November 27th.