Friday, April 12, 2013

Penetration - Return To Sodom


What did he just say? So were the thoughts after hearing Penetration's live rendition of their sure to be breakout hit, "Women are Cunts." You don't get thrash this serious anymore. Not that this is serious in any real way but Penetration make it serious through sheer force of will. I saw Penetration with Evoken (always awesome live), Black Anvil and a handful of other bands. Penetration was the highlight of the night for me other than Evoken. Some specific memories: Guitarist / Vocalist Jesse Bartlett is the sweatiest man alive, who is this drummer!? and why have I not heard of these guys. It turns out that drummer Dave Tedesco I had seen a while back at the Meatlocker with his band NJDOTS. That show I remember being about as violent as you could get. I still have no idea where a wooden chair and table came from at the time but before the end of the night, they were destroyed utterly and laying in pieces on the floor. I'm sure someone had splinters in their arm as well.

Tedesco is from New Jersey while Bartlett resides

in the norther part of New York near Buffalo.              
The whole presentation of the band points way way back to the mid 90's when thrash bands had awful painted covers, were lifting lyrical inspiration from satanic black metal and war metal bands and when you had no idea that a thrash band even existed of any real quality. Penetration's cover isn't at all awful - I actually like it a lot - but it's not as sharp as you would have found in the 80's. The inner foldout of the four page booklet has some black and white art including a cool comic-drawn piece featuring creatures possibly stolen Wizards, one of my all time favorite movies. Oh and the lyrics, a vat of incredible linguistic gems worth recanting at your next family function. Nothing is sure to rouse the spirits of those around you like "Dump your load for explosive penetration; Die!" or perhaps "I search for a bride; I'll fuck her cunt." Everyone's favorite grandmother would love to join in a cheerful group chorus of "Submit to the new sensation; Fornication; Spread your legs for fucking; Penetration!." When all is said and done, you can end the night sipping cordials and reciting, "We quench our thirst with wind; and fornicate with animals." In fact, I was slightly upset that "Forced March," doesn't contain the word penetration anywhere in it's lyrics. I guess five out of six ain't bad though.

But this is an awesome six tracks of furious thrash similar to Demolition Hammer and, obviously, early Sodom and Kreator. Right from the start of first track "Air Penetration Raid," we are granted a militant thrashing march that never lets up throughout the release. Out of control leads are all over the place and the whole release sounds like it is about to cave in on itself. In contrast to Penetration's previous 2008 release, Victory or Death, Bartlett's vocals are far better mixed on this release and it really solves a major problem I had with that release. He does not sound out of place on this release with deep growls instead opting for a much scratchier and forward vocal style. "Ritual Decapitation," highlights what this album does incredibly well: welding loaded bombs full of riffs onto brackets of atypical drum patterns. Multiple places of two-step blasts occupy large chunks of this particular track, separating it from others. "Neverending" has a strong marching, persistent feel once again accompanied by excellent drumming.

"Neverending" and "Forced March" do little for me other than create a worthy background for headbanging and folding my laundry however I find it extremely difficult to sort my whites through "Women are Cunts" and "Return to Sodom," a track that is as much Carnivore as it is Sodom. With "Women..." the main intro riff is just so harsh and abrasive it might make some women agree with the sentiment. The song is a beast regardless of it's lyrical content which I'm sure some may find offensive. Other attributes of Return to Sodom worth mentioning are the incredibly beefy, yet natural drum tone done absolutely perfectly and engineered by drummer Tedesco himself as well as the thick, massive guitar tone that would make most thrash bands fall onto their knees and prepare for penetration. I think all that can be said about this is that Penetration are a band to check out if you've been dying for some relentless, brutal and memorable thrash. Mission accomplished.

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