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.

Sign of Evil Sodom - In the Sign of Evil/Obsessed by Cruelty (Steamhammer/SPV) 1986

In the Sign of Evil
1. "Outbreak of Evil" (4:43)
2. "Sepulchral Voice" (4:27)
3. "Blasphemer" (2:59)
4. "Witching Metal" (3:10)
5. "Burst Command 'til War" (3:30)
Obsessed by Cruelty
6. "Deathlike Silence" (6:59)
7. "Brandish the Sceptre" (2:56)
8. "Proselytism Real" (3:31)
9. "Equinox" (3:32)
10. "Volcanic Slut" (3:21)
11. "Obsessed by Cruelty" (5:47)
12. "Fall of Majesty Town" (4:01)
13. "Nuctemeron" (3:00)
14. "Pretenders to the Throne" (2:39)
15. "Witchhammer" (2:02)

"Obsessed by Cruelty" LP

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.

Persecution Mania Sodom - Persecution Mania (SPV) 1987

1. "Nuclear Winter" (5:22)
2. "Electrocution" (3:11)
3. "Iron Fist" (2:42)
4. "Persecution Mania" (3:36)
5. "Enchanted Land" (3:56)
6. "Procession to Golgotha" [instrumental] (2:00)
7. "Christ Passion" (6:10)
8. "Conjuration" (3:40)
9. "Bombenhagel" (5:04)
10. "Outbreak of Evil" (3:29)
11. "Sodomy and Lust" (5:10)
12. "Conqueror" (3:28)
13. "My Atonement" (6:01)

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!

Agent Orange Sodom - Agent Orange (RC/Roadrunner) 1989

1. "Agent Orange" (6:04)
2. "Tired And Red" (5:26)
3. "Incest" (4:40)
4. "Remember The Fallen" (4:21)
5. "Magic Dragon" (6:00 )
6. "Exhibition Bout" (3:36)
7. "Ausgebombt" (3:05)
8. "Baptism Of Fire" (4:04)
9. "Don't Walk Away" (2:56)

"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.

Better off Dead Sodom - Better Off Dead (Steamhammer/SPV) 1990

1. "intro" (:49)
2. "An Eye For An Eye" (3:55)
3. "Shellfire Defense" (3:32)
4. "The Saw Is The Law" (3:55)
5. "Turn Your Head Around" (2:45)
6. "Capture The Flag" (2:51)
7. "Cold Sweat" (2:50)
8. "Bloodtrails" (4:17)
9. "Never Healing Wound" (4:22)
10. "Better Off Dead" (3:13)
11. "Resurrection" (2:34)
12. "Tarred And Fathered" (3:19)
13. "Stalinorgel" (2:08)

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.

The Saw is the Law Sodom - The Saw Is The Law EP (Steamhammer/SPV) 1991

1. "The Saw Is The Law" [Splatting Version] (5:48)
2. "Tarred And Feathered" (2:59)
3. "The Kids Wanna Rock" (2:47)

I really like the title track to this EP, it was immediately a favorite off of "Better off Dead." This particular version is even better than the album version. The addition of the chainsaw in the mix is very cool. "Tarred and Feathered" is an unmistakable Sodom-thrash metal song from "Better Off Dead". "The Kids Wanna Rock" is a bizzare choice for a cover song but is Bryan Adams song.

Tapping the Vein Sodom - Tapping The Vein (Steamhammer/SPV) 1992

1. "Body Parts" (3:02)
2. "Skinned Alive" (2:27)
3. "One Step Over The Line" (5:06)
4. "Deadline" (3:51)
5. "Bullet In The Head" (3:01)
6. "The Crippler" (4:09)
7. "Wachturm" (3:46)
8. "Tapping The Vein" (5:10)
9. "Back To War" (3:13)]
10. "Hunting Season" (4:27)
11. "Reincarnation" (7:49)

"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)
2. "Outbreak Of Evil" (3:02)
3. "Jabba The Hut" (2:18)
4. "Agent Orange" (5:14)
5. "Jesus Screamer" (1:36)
6. "Ausgebombt" (2:47)
7. 'Tarred And Feathered" (2:43)
8. "Abuse" (1:31)
9. "Remember The Fallen" (4:38)
10. "An Eye For An Eye" (3:27)
11. "Tired And Red" (4:46)
12. "Eat Me!" (2:45)
13. "Die Stumme Ursel" (3:12)
14. "Sodomized" (2:36)
15. "Gomorrah" (1:55)
16. "One Step Over The Line" (4:13)
17. "Freaks Of Nature" (1:52)
18. "Aber Bitte Mit Sahne" (4:49)
19. "Silence In Consent" (2:38)
20. "Wachturm Erwachet" (4:01)
21. "Stalinghagel" (6:32)
22. "Fratricide" [studio] (2:50)
23. "Gone to Glory" [studio] (1:59)

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.

Code Red Sodom - Code Red (Pavement) 1999

1. "Intro" (:48)
2. "Code Red" (3:55)
3. "What Hell Can Create" (3:31)
4. "Tombstone" (3:55)
5. "Liquidation" (2:44)
6. "Spiritual Domise" (2:51)
7. "Warlike Conspiracy" (2:49)
8. "Cowardice" (4:16)
9. "The Vice of Killing" (4:21)
10. "Visual Buggery" (3:13)
11. "Book Burning" (2:34)
12. "The Wolf & The Lamb" (3:18)
13. "Addicted to Abstinence" (2:08)

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.

M-16 Sodom - M-16 (SPV/Steamhammer) 2001

1. "Among The Weirdkong" (5:07)
2. "I Am The War" (4:06)
3. "Lead Injection" (6:21)
4. "Little Boy" (4:00)
5. "M-16" (4:47)
6. "Minejumper" (3:09)
7. "Napalm In The Morning" (5:55)
8. "Marines" (3:52)
9. "Genocide" (4:47)
10. "Cannon Fodder" (3:50)
11. "Surfin' Bird" (2:37)

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 Sodom Sodom (SPV/Steamhammer) 2006

1. "Blood On Your Lips" (4:43)
2. "Wanted Dead" (3:57)
3. "Buried In The Justice Ground)
4. "City Of God" (4:36)
5. "Bibles And Guns" (3:31)
6. "Axis Of Evil" (4:35)
7. "Lords Of Depravity" (2:48)
8. "No Captures" (4:47)
9. "Lay Down The La" (3:56)
10. "Nothing To Regret" (2:53)
11. "The Enemy Inside" (4:06)

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.

Final Sign of Evil Sodom - The Final Sign of Evil (SPV) 2007

1. The Sin of Sodom (5:41)
2. Blasphemer (3:20)
3. Bloody Corpse (3:56)
4. Witching Metal (3:38)
5. Sons of Hell (4:22)
6. Burst Command 'Til War (2:29)
7. Where Angels Die (4:47)
8. Sepulchral Voice (4:36)
9. Hatred of The Gods (3:14)
10. Ashes To Ashes (4:22)
11. Outbreak of Evil (3:22)
12. Defloration (3:52)

Re-recording older recordings seems to be a bit of a trend in recent years. You would think that Sodom reuniting their original Sodom line-up and re-recording their 1984, five track EP "In The Sign Of Evil" would be something that would appeal to longtime fans. On top of the original five songs, seven additional songs from that era were as well. These song include The Sin Of Sodom, Bloody Corpse, Sons Of Hell, Where Angels Die, Hatred Of The Gods, Ashes To Ashes, and Defloration. A quick scan of the internet revealed a lot of negative reviews from fans. I suppose people were expecting something different than what was delivered. What we do have is twelve tracks of raw, primitive, German thrash metal. The production doesn't sound overly modern, but frankly had this album had an Andy Sneap production, it wouldn't have retained that raw, aggressive, primitive thrash sound. Frankly, I think that's exactly what the band were going for. Some fans are saying that the new songs lack the aggression of the original five songs. I don't agree with that whatsoever. Original drummer Chris "Witchhunter" Dudeck does seem to struggle a bit throughout this release, as if he's not really been playing this fast style of thrash for a while. The sloppy drum performance isn't horrible though. It's just sort of adds to that raw, primitive feel. (Christian Dudeck passed away on 7th September 2008.) Grave Violator (Josef "Peppi" Dominic) isn't the most technical guitar player in the world either, but it's not about precision. It's about attitude and "thrash for thrash sake". That's exactly what he delivers. Tom Angelripper hasn't sounded this raw in years. He surely gargled with razorblades before barking out this recording. Frankly I'm not sure what fans were looking for here. This sounds like classic Sodom to me.

If I had a complaint it would be that I am actually one that would have loved to have heard the current line-up with Berneman and Bobby Schottkowski re-record those old tracks. The new line-up is tighter for sure. As well, I wouldn't have minded a more modern production like on "Sodom" and "M-16". Those albums annihilate and those old songs, despite the trite "evil" lyrics, would have annihilated as well with that chainsaw guitar sound and spectacular drumming. As it stands however, I still fined "The Final Sign of Evil" to be an interesting project. Whether or not they made the right choice to polish up the sound is a matter of opinion. However, since those songs were written over, there is nothing wrong with making them sound like they were recorded that long ago as well.

War & Pieces Sodom - War and Pieces (SPV) 2011

1.   In War And Pieces (4:11)
2.   Hellfire (3:07)
3.   Through Toxic Veins  (4:43)
4.   Nothing Counts More Than Blood (3:48)
5.   Storm Raging Up (5:08)
6.   Feigned Death Throes (3:59)
7.   Soul Contraband (3:50)
8.   God Bless You (5:10)
9.   The Art Of Killing Poetry (4:38)
10. Knarrenheinz (3:17)
11. Styptic Parasite (5:13)

DISC TWO (Live At Wacken 2007)
12. Blood On Your Lips (4:54)
13. City Of God (5:22)
14. Proselytism Real (4:42)
15. Christ Passion (6:38)
16. One Step Over The Line (5:15)
17. Abuse (2:14)
18. Sodomy And Lust (5:11)
19. Ausgebombt (3:15)
20. The Saw Is The Law (5:59)
21. Outbreak Of Evil (3:29)

Back during the rising of the German trilogy of thrash, Destruction, Kreator & Sodom, I always felt that Kreator was the best of the bunch. As time went on, Sodom quickly caught up and became as great, if not better. Sodom can be relied upon to deliver excellent thrash metal time and time again, yet they still sound fresh and not like a band trying to just live off it's past glories. Sodom were the thrash band that were always proud to be a thrash band, even when thrash was considered uncool in the mid-1990's. Other bands went off experimenting. Many American thrash bands went for a commercial radio style. But Sodom remained true to their sound. Sodom are Sodom and the saw is still the law, ripping holes in our eardrums.

"In War and Pieces" is the thirteenth album by German thrash metal legends Sodom. The album opens with the title track, which is a vicious, balls-to-the-wall, metal assault. The follow-up song, "Hellfire" is more straight ahead, bulldozer thrash metal that is sure to get any self-respecting metalhead's head to banging and fist pumping. This stuff is tailor made for mosh pits or air guitars. "Storm Raging On" features some killer solo work. Sodom does add in some other elements to their thrash metal sound. "The Art of Killing Poetry", for example, alternates between blistering thrash metal and a more melodic style. "Feigned Death Throws" is a slow and sludgy track in which Tom Angelripper's snarl sounds particularly menacing. "Soul Contraband" is a more mid-paced, crushingly heavy number that reminded me of "Tombstone" from "Code Red" (1999). "Knarrenheinz " is sung in the band's native German language. The production is outstanding as well. The songs are raw, heavy and bludgeoning, yet each instrument, including the bass guitar, are clearly heard. This certainly cannot be said of the band's early catalog.

As would be expected, the war, pain and violence themes are still the main topic, but then what else would anyone expect from this band? The cover art featuring a tank, the traditional gas mask and a  blood-drenched chainsaw sums up the music rather nicely. All in all, the saw is still the law.

The limited edition digi-pak includes a bonus live CD including 10 tracks  from the infamous Wacken 25th Anniversary show in 2007. I'm glad the band saw fit to release these songs on a CD, rather than in DVD format. I much prefer listening to music, and rarely watch it. As such, the bonus disc on this particular release is well worth owning.

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