without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
(I thought I could do better and so I re-wrote it)
This is Sodom’s zenith, their magnum opus, and probably their most definitive album. And one man made that possible. Frank Blackfire. I am of the opinion that without Blackfire, Sodom would still be making primitive and noisy black/thrash and would have never ascended to the level of greatness. Just look at the sudden change that happened when Blackfire joined. Persecution Mania was the band’s first full length release with Blackfire on guitar and according to some sources, he was the man that persuaded Tom Angelripper to focus on political lyrics and better songwriting. Persecution Mania was a huge jump forward from Obsessed By Cruelty, but did Agent Orange make any more progress? The answer is… no. The only real difference between the two is that the songs are longer, they have a bit more variation and the track listing is also better.
As I said before, this album is ALMOST a carbon copy of Persecution Mania. Hell, even the production is the same. Sodom didn’t take a huge leap forward, but instead they solidified all the elements of Persecution Mania. If it isn’t broke, don’t fix it.
One thing to note here is the American thrash influence. A great way to describe this album would be Persecution Mania + Master of Puppets + Some New York thrash. The core component is German thrash, but there are a lot of “foreign” influences here. Most of the songs go into a slightly long and slower section after the second chorus, which is a nod to Metallica’s Master of Puppets. However, unlike Metallica, Sodom manage to keep things interesting in these slower parts. How? The NY thrash metal “thrash break.” And these thrash breaks have some variety too, with my personal favorite being the one in Tired and Red thanks to the NWOBHM flair.
The track listing is excellent. After listening to the first three tracks, one might get a little tired. Just when he/she is about to eject the CD… BOOM! Remember The Fallen starts to play and grabs your attention. Magic Dragon appears to follow the same formula as Remember The Fallen but then suddenly goes into a faster section. In the first three songs, the transition was from fast to slow, but in Magic Dragon it’s the opposite. Five songs, all five are killers, but unfortunately the first filler comes in the form of Exhibition Bout. Nothing special here, so I suggest you just press the skip button. If you do, you will be rewarded with one of Sodom’s most well known songs, Ausgebombt. An awesome track; has a cool Motorhead vibe to it. I suggest you eject the CD after Ausgebombt because even though Baptism of Fire is a decent track, it isn’t anything solid.
Now for the individual performances. The only thing here that stands out is Frank Blackfire, his riffs are catchy and brutal but the most important part about Blackfire was his influence over the direction Sodom would take. He single handedly turned Sodom into legends, in my opinion, and played a part in Angelripper’s sudden change in lyrical themes. Witchhunter’s drumming is awkward at times, and it’s often very poorly timed. It’s still an improvement over Obsessed By Cruelty and Persecution Mania though. Angelripper’s bass is decent, but it’s his vocal performance that stands out. He has a serious, cynical and evil aura around him and it really adds to the overall rating of the album. Even is Ausgebombt, he manages to sound evil, a type of “evil” that only Angelripper knows how to deploy.
Overall, it’s a fucking sweet album. One of the best thrash releases ever. The only downsides here are the drumming and the two boring tracks. Other than that, the good far outweighs the bad. This is one of the few thrash metal albums that truly deserves the “essential” title. Recommended to fans of thrash metal and also people who want to explore the realm of thrash.