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Metal - Released November 27, 2020 | Steamhammer

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Metal - Released February 26, 2010 | SPV

Sodom's fans have argued to the teeth about whether 1987's Persecution Mania or 1989's Agent Orange is the German metal act's definitive record. Both stand right at the devil's crossroads of thrash and death metal, and both are brutally furious assaults on the senses. That said, the case can be made for Agent Orange being slightly superior for two reasons: first, the production on this set is better, hands down, thanks in large part to Harris Johns. The band had a bigger budget and was able to, with him at the helm, use exactly the same elements to make their sound fuller, heavier, and punishing -- especially in the drum mix, which is just sheer blastbeat menace. The second reason is that given that this was the second album by the trio of bassist/vocalist Tom Angelripper, guitarist Frank Blackfire, and drummer Chris Witchhunter, there was a long period of touring between records which cemented their relationship as a band. The songwriting is tighter, the dynamics more elaborate, and everyone carries equal weight -- it would be the very last time this would happen with Sodom on record. Stand-out tracks here include the anti-bullfighting anthem "Exhibition Bout," the in-the-red speed rage of "Incest," and the exquisitely assaultive riffing in "Baptism of Fire." © Thom Jurek /TiVo
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Metal - Released September 1, 2007 | SPV

Sodom's landmark Persecution Mania stands at the very crossroads of thrash and death metal. A virtual tour de force of blinding speed and blunt force, it is also arguably the best album of Sodom's checkered career. Recorded shortly after the arrival of guitarist extraordinaire Frank Blackfire, Persecution Mania took the group's fast-as-can-be, subtlety-free, roast-every-bridge approach to a whole new level of intensity and power. With their brazen ferocity and single-minded velocity, face-ripping moshers like "Nuclear Winter," "Outbreak of Evil," and the title track may have seemed a bit one-dimensional to older metal heads at the time (though these were accorded a fitting cover of Motörhead's seminal "Iron Fist"), but it played right into the hands of the genre's ever-growing contingent of younger, more extreme fans. Even at 13 tracks, the album is so deep that the absolute classic "Sodomy and Lust" only arrives at number 11 -- now that is value for your buck. When combined with similarly audacious and controversial nuggets like "Christ Passion" and "Conjuration," there is little doubt that Persecution Mania would have made the P.M.R.C.'s most-wanted list had it been released a few years earlier. Curiously, much of the music captured here recalls the parallel advancements of fellow proto-deathsters Sepultura, with whom Sodom endured a nervously respectful relationship. So it is interesting to note how the Brazilians used these developments as a springboard to altogether greater achievements, while, for Sodom, this would be its finest hour. An interesting case study of both bands' divergent paths from thrash to death, to be sure, but one that should in no way detract from Sodom's and especially Persecution Mania's crucial contribution to this movement. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Metal - Released October 22, 2001 | SPV

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Metal - Released September 1, 2007 | SPV

For all of their acknowledged contributions to the death metal genre in its late-‘80's infancy, the fact remains that Germany's Sodom were, in essence, a thrash and speed metal band, ever bound to the mindset of an earlier, pre-death generation. So it was surprising, but not altogether shocking, in the wake of their touring humiliation by Brazilian death giants Sepultura, when Sodom attempted to make the transition from thrash to death themselves with 1992's Tapping the Vein. The adoption of bottom-heavy guitars, double kick-drum work, and a throatier delivery from main Tom Angelripper was evident as soon as the manic opening tandem of "Body Parts" and "Skinned Alive" blazed past (also note their horror-based lyrics, typical of death metal). But, although credit must go to Angelripper for at least trying to re-energize his band's diminishing career fortunes, the truth remains that Tapping the Vein is a merely competent, never stunning, ever-tentative death metal album. Occasional standouts like "One Step Over the Line" and "Bullet in the Head" are pretty darn good by most standards of the time, but, like the even more memorable "Hunting Season," which borrows a number of tricks form the above mentioned Sepultura, they're clearly following trends, not setting them like in years before. Any way you slice it, though, Sodom fans could do a lot worse in terms of the group's terribly pot-holed recording output than by picking up Tapping the Vein -- there's definitely something here worth hearing. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Metal - Released November 19, 2010 | SPV

The 13th album by German thrash/death metal institution Sodom deviates not a bit from the pattern established over its dozen predecessors. The group bashes through aggressive, Slayer-esque songs with lyrics about death and war, never letting momentum flag for an instant. Songs like the title track and "Hellfire" could easily be outtakes from the Slayer songbook circa Seasons in the Abyss, and Tom Angelripper's hoarse, shrieking vocals are extremely close in spirit to Slayer frontman Tom Araya's fevered shouting. Even when they offer a slow intro, as on "Through Toxic Veins" or "God Bless You," it soon erupts into another burst of staccato riffing and machine-gun drumming. Sodom are a lot like Motörhead in that you basically know what you're going to get from album to album; it just depends whether the band is particularly "on fire" or not. While this album does nothing to move Sodom's music to the "next level," whatever that might be, it's a strong dose of what fans have been coming to them for since the late '80s. © Phil Freeman /TiVo
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Metal - Released September 1, 2007 | SPV

As was the case with their very uneven career, Sodom's two-disc greatest-hitsset, Ten Black Years: The Best of Sodom, is not the sort of collection one can easily appreciate when heard from start to finish. Strewn across its whopping 36 tracks and two-hour-plus running time, are equal amounts of Teutonic speed metal landmarks ("Outbreak of Evil," "Nuclear Winter," "Agent Orange," "Sodomy and Lust," etc.), and well-intentioned, but generally failed stabs at modern death metal ("Masquerade in Blood," "Unwanted Youth," etc.). The embarrassing commercial sellout that was career low "Resurrection" has no place in this, or any other anthology, and whether or not Sodom's spirited Motörhead and Venom covers should have made the cut is also subject to debate. But, most disappointing of all is the collection's distinct and ill-advised lean toward Sodom's hit-and-miss latter-day material (particularly the excessive submissions from 1994's poorly produced Get What You Deserve LP) at the expense of those rough-necked, but twice as seminal early favorites. Including only "Outbreak of Evil" from the debut EP is almost excusable, but picking not a single submission from first album Obsessed by Cruelty is just unforgivable. Purists may also take issue with the fact that a number of tracks ("Remember the Fallen," "Bombenhagel," the aforementioned "Sodomy and Lust") come in the shape of live versions, rather than studio originals. But at least in the latter's case, the alternate is too damn good to complain about -- plus, you should own the original album, Persecution Mania, anyway. Finally, the absence of any liner notes to explain the various premiere tracks on offer here -- not to mention the mislabeled song list on the inlay -- leaves little doubt that Steamhammer were mostly looking to screw their former charges for splitting to another label with this set. Now that's class! In the end, although Ten Black Years visits virtually every facet of Sodom's long run, one is probably better-served with individual studio albums like Persecution Mania or Agent Orange. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Metal - Released August 26, 2016 | Steamhammer

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Metal - Released October 1, 1990 | SPV

Taking into account Sodom's dwindling career prospects at the time of its release (among other problems, longtime guitar slinger Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik had only recently defected to superior competitors Kreator), Better Off Dead was a title so un-ironic, so deliciously apropos, that it left one wondering just who was in on the joke...or, what exactly was the joke...oh, never mind. Who's to say what was going through bassist/singer Tom Angelripper's mind just then, but there's no question that, when they cobbled together this LP, Sodom were swimming against a powerful current, inexorably pushing them toward terminal obscurity. And it shows, since, on the one hand, reliable thrashers like "An Eye for an Eye," "Bloodtrails," and the quite good "Shellfire Defense" stayed true to (even though falling short of) old glories; while on the other, abnormally melodic experiments like "Turn Your Head Around" and the absolutely painful "Resurrection" invaded unprecedented realms of standard rock & roll and very questionable pop-metal, respectively. (One could also question the validity of Sodom performing a surprisingly accurate cover of Thin Lizzy's "Cold Sweat," but hey, ain't nothing wrong with a little Lizzy now and then!) Amid this head-spinning mélange (and for old-school fans, even such cautious diversity smelled pretty fishy), confused purists looking for signs of their old friends Sodom gladly dug their teeth into the far more familiar moshing mania of "Tarred & Feathered," or the solid, mid-paced head-banger "The Saw Is the Law." All combine to make Better Off Dead a decidedly patchy, but far from terrible outing for the Germans -- far worse was yet to come.... © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Metal - Released October 30, 2020 | Steamhammer

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Metal - Released November 22, 2019 | Steamhammer

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Metal - Released November 2, 2018 | Steamhammer

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Metal - Released January 11, 1994 | SPV

Come 1994's rather dreadful Get What You Deserve album, Germany's Sodom weren't just treading creative water, they seemed to be taking a piss! Seriously, or are we to take clever ditties like "Jabba the Hutt" and "Tribute to Moby Dick" with anything but an industrial-sized, proverbial grain of salt? Except for the mildly interesting title track, and the almost convincing "Silence Is Consent," it was abundantly clear that lone remaining founding member Tom Angelripper was running through the motions on this L.P. Making matters worse, any leftover pretense of selling Sodom as a true "band," had been rendered moot by the faceless yabbos that surrounded him, this anonymous pair owning about as much on-stage charisma (never mind contributing songwriting talent) as a pack of cliff-bound lemmings. The bottom line is that Sodom had ceased having anything worth saying in the extreme metal universe at least a half-a-decade prior, making this particular release the sort of stuff for blind idolaters and soft-hearted thrash metal martyrs. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Metal - Released April 21, 2006 | SPV

Not many bands manage to endure for over 20 years -- least of all a band whose name would normally draw perfectly blank (and possibly mildly offended) expressions from your average human being, as might Germany's Sodom. But, believe it or not, this eponymous effort from 2006 is something like the 12th studio album released by the ubiquitous Tom "Angelripper" Such and his latest interchangeable henchmen. Sodom's music, too, is a matter of curious interest, since, from the group's very inception, it has represented a rare intersection of styles that experts would normally separate into thrash, speed, death, and black metal (and, depending on how rarely they get laid, even more subdivisions). One listen to Sodom is enough to ascertain that little has changed; most of its songs tend toward the frenetic, dirt-encrusted ends of the extreme metal spectrum, their lyrics wavering between sociopolitical observations ("Wanted Dead," "Axis of Evil," etc.) and anti-establishment diatribes ("Bibles and Guns," "Lords of Depravity," etc.). At the same time, look beyond its uncompromising delivery and "Buried in the Justice Ground" could very well be a pretty accessible hard rock tune (much as many Motörhead tunes might be). Likewise, additional retro-thrashing highlights such as the aforementioned "Axis of Evil" and "No Captures" display an uncommon immediacy that latter-day extreme metal bands would not dare touch for fear of coming across soft. It's their loss, since Sodom have parlayed this unselfconscious strategy into a distinguishing strength from day one, and it's why this effort provides a welcome extension of the band's 20-plus-year legacy for tried and true fans to enjoy -- even if modern listeners fail to get the point. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Metal - Released September 1, 2007 | SPV

Back when live albums were fixtures of rock & roll discographies, common practice dictated that a band should accumulate...oh, about four studio long-players' worth of material before even considering itself deserving of releasing such a "career-crowning" document. Of course "common practices" never applied to metallic trio Sodom, one of three legendary German thrash bands (along with Destruction and Kreator) to steamroll through the 1980s and help pave the way for virtually all European extreme bands that followed. Believe it or not, to many of these, 1988's Mortal Way of Live was as influential and thrilling a live album as Deep Purple's Made in Japan had been to previous generations. Recorded during the band's triumphant "Sodomania Tour" (and simultaneously released on VHS, if you'd care to look for that), Mortal Way of Live captures Tom Angelripper and company as they charged through frequently frantic fan favorites ("Persecution Mania," "Nuclear Winter," "Sodomy and Lust," etc.) with such improbable stores of energy that it's actually a good thing that feedback, mistakes, and other sonic imperfections were left intact so none could doubt the group's combustible on-stage ferocity. No, Mortal Way of Live probably didn't need to be a double-vinyl offering, since only the most rabid of fans will feel the need for live versions of Sodom's at-times overlong thrashers ("Blasphemer," "Christ Passion," "My Atonement" -- never their strong suit), nor the mostly distracting (but probably necessary so their bandmates could rest up) drum and guitar solos from Chris Witchhunter and Frank Blackfire (where he gets all Van Halen-like). Still, for modern listeners looking to experience the manic energy and barely controlled chaos of '80s extreme metal, Sodom's Mortal Way of Live offers about as honest and ideal a view as any other live album. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Metal - Released January 6, 1988 | SPV

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Metal - Released July 28, 2003 | SPV

The world needs another Sodom live album like it needs a proverbial hole in the head -- and one bearing the tongue-in-cheek title of One Night in Bangkok is almost too much to bear. Especially when its contents generally comprise far from top-notch material culled from the band's forgettable late-'90s and early 2000's releases. Yes, it features two whole discs and was recorded in Thailand, but that's about as exotic as the band's visibly tired, post-thrash metal outbursts get these days. For Sodom completists only. . .(are you out there?) © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Metal - Released June 1, 1995 | SPV

Following upon a string of underachieving albums, 1995's Masquerade in Blood was, at the time of its release, considered something of a return to form for Teutonic speed metal pioneers Sodom. Sadly, hindsight reveals that such enthusiasm was rather exaggerated, but then, those had been some pretty abysmal albums. Anyway, more than anything, Masquerade in Blood ushers in yet another attempt to modernize Sodom's post-thrash/pre-death style for the mid-1990s -- and a successful update it is, in style if not quite substance. Surely boasting the heaviest guitar crunch of Sodom's long career, the opening title track mows down eardrums with the efficiency of one of those invisible hedge-cutters (yes, that's a very silly analogy, but you get the picture). So what if frontman Tom Angelripper's vocals are generally buried in the mix because of this? Despite their fairly ambitious-sounding titles, "Fields of Honour" and the same-period Kreator-esque "Gathering of Minds" hardly reveal him as some kind of extreme metal poet ("Sodomy and Lust," anyone?). But getting back to the music (and given this reviewer's inability to analyze German-sung numbers like "Verrecke!" and "Mantelmann" for their wording, its high time we do), Sodom continually deliver trusty, if hardly overwhelming death metal in subsequent songs like "Shadow of Damnation" and "Peacemaker's Law." And the highlight, "Unwanted Youth," definitely stands out thanks to a decidedly punk rock-inspired chorus break. Sticking with the punk theme, the album concludes with a welcome cover of the Anti-Nowhere League gem "Let's Break the Law," a perfect auf wiedersehen to send the kids home with a smile. They really deserve it after withstanding such a dire listening experience. © Eduardo Rivadavia /TiVo
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Metal - Released April 26, 2013 | SPV

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Metal - Released November 23, 2018 | Steamhammer