Sodom were formed by Thomas Such (v/b), Christian Dudeck (dr) and Frank Testegen (g) in 1980 in the Western German industrial town of Gelsenkirchen. Better known by their pseudonyms Angelripper, Witchhunter and Agressor, these guys were heavily influenced by bands like Motörhead, Tank, Raven, Judas Priest and Venom.
Two releases on one CD. This disc features the "In the Sign of Evil" mini LP and the "Obsessed by Cruelty" album. Thankfully I discovered Sodom many years AFTER these two releases, otherwise I might have ignored them completely based on this noisy, chaotic thrash metal. The production is aweful. The guitars and bass are muffled, and the vocals are barely recognizable. Cranking it up doesn't help either. I swore the first time I played this disc that my speaker must be blown, however, it wasn't my speakers but the recording. The band is loose and sloppy. The drums in particular seems like they could have been helped quite a bit by the use of a click track. The songwriting is pure Venom worship. Even the vocals and lyrical themes have a quality that reminds me of Venom.
Despite all this, these two albums captures a young band full of energy and ready to conquer the metal masses. Sodom were raw, energetic and noisy. One of the ugliest bands on the planet in 1984. That alone seems to give them their credentials among the metal minions. Many metal fans even consider these two released to be "thrash classics". Regardless of anyone's opinion of these two albums, the fact is that they helped to propel Sodom and to make them one of the leaders of German thrash metal. However, Sodom would get better and better over time.
The SPV CD re-issue has the cover art for "In the Sign of Evil". The "Obsessed by Cruelty" cover art is used for the back tray insert. I also own "Obsessed by Cruelty" on vinyl.
Sodom - Persecution Mania (SPV) 1987
1. "Nuclear Winter"
A more focused, technically proficient, and biting Sodom release that either "Obsessed by Cruelty" or the "In the Sign of Evil" EP. This would also begin Sodom's obsession with war and the military, as opposed to the "look how evil we are" lyrics of the band's debut. "Nuclear Winter" is perhaps one of the band's best moments. This track, which reminds me slightly of Slayer's "Angel of Death", is just down right fast and punishing. The mid-paced break in the middle of the song is cool as well. Excellent choice of a cover in Motorhead's "Iron Fist". "Electrocution" and "Persecution Mania" are also highlights of an overall solid slab of speedy, German thrash. While I could go into a song by song description, it is sufficient enough to know that Sodom have been one of the most respected thrash bands for decades, and "Persecution Mania" is one of their best releases. The European CD release has "Outbreak of Evil" and the "Expurse of Sodomy" EP as bonus tracks. Sweet!
Sodom - Agent Orange (RC/Roadrunner) 1989
1. "Agent Orange"
"Agent Orange" is considered by many to be Sodom's finest hour, and by many others it is considered to be one of the finest thrash metal platters to come out of the 80's. I would certainly agree that this was one of Sodom's finest outputs, however, to say it's their best ever is to ignore the brilliance of albums to come like "Code Red" and "M-16". This CD is chock full of blazing thrash riffs, speedy drumming and razor-gargling vocals, that border on death vox. However, this one also features a bit more variation than the albums that proceeded it, with a little acoustic guitar in "Tired And Red" and some Lemmy-like, cleaner vocals. However, the album for the most part is still a continuation of the bands Motörhead/Venom sound. The production is as crystal clear as you can get with this type orf thrash polka, without losing even an ounce of edge. The guitar tones are beefier than on previous releases, the drums are evenly mixed, and the bass can actually be heard throughout. The title track is perhaps the most punishing song here. This song starts off with a mid-paced grind before going into some of the most fierce German thrash riffing ever. However, this is not the only highlight on the disc. "Tired and Red", "Remember The Fallen", "Magic Dragon" and "Incest" with it's disturbing lyrics are also choice cuts. "Don't Walk Away" is a Tank cover.
Sodom - Better Off Dead (Steamhammer/SPV) 1990
1. "intro" (:49)
You'd think, having been a fan of thrash metal since it's inception in the mid-80's that I would have heard Sodom before the year 2003. While I may have heard a song or two, I hadn't really given them a really good listen until then. Why? I have no freakin' idea. Perhaps I didn't like their name or something, I really don't know. However, in a search for some more thrash metal I finally gained an interest in these guys. I started a topic on Sodom on a couple of metal chat rooms I frequent. Many, knowing my affection for speed and thrash metal jumped at the opportunity to suggest many from this band's catalogue. However, one big Sodom fan told me to avoid "Better off Dead" as it was the band's "most boring" disc. Well, if that be true, then I can't wait to get some more. Sodom are a full throttle thrash metal assault. Classic German thrash metal with some similarities to Motörhead. I can't believe it took me so long to finally acquire some of their music. Some of the choice cuts from this disc are "An Eye For An Eye"k and "The Saw Is The Law" (a song about Leatherface, the main character in the 'Texas Chainsaw Massacre' movies) and of course the Thin Lizzy cover "Cold Sweat." "Turn Your Head Around" is a rendition of an old Tank tune.
Sodom - Tapping The Vein (Steamhammer/SPV) 1992
"Tapping the Vein" is a good thrash album. There are plenty of fast drum beats and killer thrash riffs that will have you head banging instantly. At points, some of this CD is so heavy it borders on death metal. Even the vocals border on death metal here and there. The Crippler, Body Parts, One Step Over the Line all have a growly death metal vocal sound. However, other songs like Deadline and Bullet in the Head have a straight up thrash vocals similar in style to fellow German thrashers Kreator. Wachturm is an interesting song as the lyrics are all sung in German (at least I think it's German). My favorite song on this CD is the title track. This song simply shreds and stick to your brain like glue. Overall the lyrics are of a brutal nature for the most part focusing on atrocities and death. "The Crippler" on the other hand is a tale of a fictitious beast reminiscent of Judas Priest's "Painkiller".
Sodom - Marooned Live (SPV) 1994
1. "Intro" (:36)
Smokin' live set from German thrash trio Sodom. "Marooned Live" captures all the live fury. The songs are delivered with an almost punk, furious delivery which makes some of the songs a bit loose, but in some cases heavier and thicker than the original studio version. In some cases the production here is actually better than the original studio recordings. There is not even an ounce of pop here. Rather Sodom deliver a raw, fast, angry thrash metal platter. The CD also includes two unreleased studio tracks.
Sodom - Code Red (Pavement) 1999
1. "Intro" (:48)
My jaw literally dropped open upon hearing this CD. I mean, I had only ever heard one other Sodom CD before this one and while that one ("Better Off Dead") was good, this one is AWESOME! There really hasn't been a thrash CD released that is this good in a long time. Buzz saw guitar tones, fast and furious riffs, memorable refrains, shredding guitar solos. Code Red is chock full of fast, full throttle thrash metal feasts like "Code Red" and "What Hell Can Create" as well as a few more groove oriented, mid-paced speed metal songs like "Tombstone" and "Cowardice". What else could a metalhead possibly need. "Code Red" has it all. I can't imagine any fan of heavy metal not instantaneously banging their head when listening to riffs like that on "What Hell Can Create," "Tombstone" or "Spiritual Demise" If you are reading this, are a thrash metal fan and don't own this CD, you are simply missing out. One warning though, beware of playing this one in your car as it will tend to have you pushing the pedal to the metal.
Sodom - M-16 (SPV/Steamhammer) 2001
1. "Among The Weirdkong"
Second stunning release in a row for Sodom, pushing them far ahead of contemporaries like Destruction and putting them on the same pedistal I put Kreator on. Sodom continues walking the metallic road that they thrashed out with "Agent Orange" in the late eighties, both musically and lyrically. "M-16" is even a slight bit better than "Code Red" which I list among my favorites as well. Simply a stunning thrash album from beginning to the funny surf song cover.
Sodom (SPV/Steamhammer) 2006
1. "Blood On Your
Wow!!! Sodom are back with yet another vicious assault to the ears. Their first album in five years is self titled and features a blistering assault of German thrash metal. The CD starts off with what could very well be one of the band's finest songs ever in "Blood on Your Lips". The song starts off with an almost ominous tone before bursting into some signature, wall-of-sound, guitar crunch. "Wanted Dead" picks up the speed a bit. Sodom know how to write intense, high energy, speed without forsaking memorability. They also aren't afraid to vary the tempo within a song, which proves very successful in songs like "Wanted Dead". "Burdied in the Justice Ground" slows things down slightly with a more mid-paced groove, yet without letting up the intensity level one bit. This is the case with the entire CD right through the vehement album closer "The Enemy Inside". Each and every song is packed full of energy and intensity. Tom Angelripper's trademark high-pitched shrieks are still in place, as are the manditory gang vocals. Their lyrics tackle serious social and political issues. I can't say I always agree with their ideas, but can appreciate that they aren't afraid to take a stand.
Sodom - The Final Sign of Evil (SPV) 2007
Sodom - War and Pieces (SPV) 2011