Sound — 7
Sodom's fifth album is essentially death metal or to be more precise it's more death than thrash for the better part of the album. Tapping the Vein comes in a time when most thrash metal bands, both American and German started to experiment with their sound. Kreator did the Renewal which was a industrial styled album and Destruction did a series of EPs which were at best mediocre. Sodom did something else, their first album in the "new style" is brutally fast and aggressive even more so when compared to their earlier material. There is still some of the older thrash sound on songs like "Back To War" but beyond that this album is dominated by dirty and grueling riffs. Sodom made only one album in this style but still this direction should not be ignored. Tapping the Vein's aggressive and vile nature is further increased by its crude production and Tom "Angelripper" Such's thunderous bass. Honestly it's Sodom's worst sounding production.
Lyrics — 8
The lyrics have also changed, there's little of that "marines marching into certain death" style show on the band classic "Agent Orange". The lyrics on Tapping the Vein deal with gore and social subjects like prostitution, drug abuse, vanity and pressure. Angelripper used two main vocal types on this album, a sharp almost guttural one and a much cleaner one similar to the one on M16, though he does not actually use growls the vocals are very close to that. The vocals as well as the lyrics are more abrasive and on this album and you will struggle to understand them for most of the time.
Overall Impression — 8
In many ways Tapping the Vein is M16's older brother, both have more or less the same balance in tempo, performance and talent in their respective line ups. But where M16 focuses on psychological effects of war and violence Tapping the Vein focuses on violence itself. The bad production can be overlooked since this is great thrash(with a serious dose of death metal)in the 90s a decade not best know for great thrash albums.