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Blistering German Thrash - 93%

radiohater, December 1st, 2003

The Scene

Sodom went into the studio to produce the followup to 1987's Persecution Mania, a blistering piece of thrash that spawned one of thrash's classics Nuclear Winter.

The Result

This is Sodom's finest hour. It is chock full of blazing tremolo-picked riffs, fast drumming and gurgling vocals, but also features a small amount of variation, with a little acoustic guitar in Tired And Red and some Lemmy-esque 'clean' vocals. However, the album for the most part is still a continuation of the bands Motorhead/Venom sound.

The Cast

Tom Angelripper (a.k.a. Thomas Such, Onkel Tom) (vocals, bass) - Onkel Tom's bass seems less prominent in this release thanin previous releases, assisting the guitar and making the riffs seem heavier. Tom still dishes out his trademark growl, but throws in some more clean vocals along the lines of Lemmy in Remember The Fallen, Augstebombt, some areas of Baptism Of Fire and in the Tank cover Don't Walk Away.

Frank Blackfire (a.k.a. Frank Gosdzik) (guitars) - On his second album with Sodom, Frank lends this album blazingly fast tremolo-picking and some melodic (and sometimes chaotic) leadwork.

Chris Witchhunter (a.k.a Chris Dudek) (drums) - Chris for the most part plays on one speed, FAST. He isn't a fill-happy drummer, but does pull out some good fills, especially one in Tired And Red.

The Sound

The production, handled by Harris Johns, is as crystal clear as you can get without getting sterile. The guitar tones are much beefier than on previous releases, the drums are evenly mixed, and the bass has a nice presence underneath it all.

Choice Cuts

Agent Orange - Starting off with a punishing slice of German thrash, this song begins mid-paced before morphing into a full scale speed assault. Contains a nice slower section in the middle, before returning to warp speed with a chaotic lead from Blackfire.

Tired And Red - Starts off with a simple menacing tremolo-picked riff, this song doesn't let up the pace until it fades out. Then we hear a small acoustic interlude (on a Sodom album? You're pulling my leg!) that would make Opeth jealous, before heading into a midpaced section with an extended lead from Blackfire, then returning to the warp speed of the beginning.

Incest - Replete with disturbing lyrics, Incest is fast and punishing all the way through, even that slow prowling riff in the middle that is harmonised for a more menacing sound.

Remember The Fallen - A nice slower cut similar to For Whom The Bell Tolls in a way. Some gravelly clean vocals from Tom, and some nice leads from Blackfire.

Magic Dragon - Starts off with a slow riff until about a minute in, and then all hell breaks loose, with a couple of nice leads from Blackfire. The best part is that murderous galloping riff towards the end. Bang that head!

Off Cuts

Don't Walk Away - Although a well-executed Tank cover with some funny lyrics, it seems a bit out of place given the other cuts on the album.

Raw Sewage

NONE

Pros

- Great work from Frank Blackfire
- Fast and ripping
- Clear and heavy production

Cons

- Little in the way of variety

Closing Comments

One of the defining moments of thrash metal and Sodom's finest hour. Every serious thrash metaller should have this album.