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Saturday, August 6, 2011

Sodom - The Saw Is the Law

Released : 1991
Genre : Thrash metal
Length : 11:45
Label : Steamhammer/SPV
Producer : Harris Johns

This is almost as much of a single as it is an EP. Sodom had kind of meandered off in their own direction after Agent Orange. They didn't sell out as the time period demanded, and they certainly didn't up and die either.
The Saw is the Law has an unquestionable magic about it, and since it indeed is a live staple (check out the version on One Night in Bangkok, which is about 28bpm faster), this seems to be confirmed directly by Onkel Tom and co.
The version found here (often referred to as the "Splatting Version") is just a trifle slower than the version found on Better off Dead, with a different intro and a bit quieter overall production (I'll give you a hint about fixing the production problem: If you aren't playing Sodom absurdly loud and proud, then you shouldn't be listening to Sodom at all, and should consider leaving the hall altogether!). This could very well be a pre-production demo of some sort, as seen with some of the bonus tracks from Destruction's Metal Discharge. There seems to be a bit less focus compared to the Better off Dead version, which has a far more driving feel than the version found here. However, this is actually an improvement. While the original is a more fist-pumping, neck-wrecking affair, this version is far more bludgeoning and reckless. The song itself is very simple: some guitar noise, a driving single note bassline intro (with some tasteful guitar wah-wailings) that breaks into the song. And your skull.
The difference in the intro has a lot to do with why the Splatting Version seems so vastly different from the original on the whole. On the original the bass isn't overdriven, and the guitar noise that precedes it resembles, of all things, the beginning of Hendrix's "Foxey Lady". But even more than that, there's the presence of an actual chainsaw that starts up, revs, and growls throughout the intro. Then the break into the main song completely opens up the throttle to accompany Mr. Angelripper officially starting the song with "THEE SAAWWW" (which conveniently has a fresh coat of gargled pain thinner). Just because of an actual saw being featured, this is really the one true version of "The Saw is the Law". There's little doubt that this is something of an overlooked heavy metal anthem. Just look at the title! If chainsaws aren't just as metal as witches at black masses or the mythical creature known as Exciter, then I haven't the slightest idea of what is. And not only is this about a saw, this about the saw being the law of the land. Ah, the subtlety that death metal never had!
The other two songs here don't really matter. Tarred and Feathered is fast and furious, and the Bryan Adams cover is a bit silly, but rocks hard enough with a fun message and doesn't go on for too long. That's not what you came here for though. You came here because you wanted THEE SAAWWW, specifically the version that rises above, capturing the essence of heavy fucking metal. If you don't have this, you're just not heavy enough.


1. The Saw Is the Law
2. Tarred and Feathered
3. The Kids Wanna Rock


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