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It could be argued that of all the bands to smash the pillars of conventional wisdom circa 1986 in the thrash world, Sodom sort of missed the boat and was still tightly entrenched in the early 80s speed metal orthodoxy of Venom. “Obsessed By Cruelty” was by no means a lackluster effort in and of itself, but next to the crowning majesty of “Pleasure To Kill” and the somewhat less so but still remarkably intense “Eternal Devastation”, it seemed slightly archaic and a bit less of a trailblazer. But like a fine wine, some vintage takes just a tad bit longer to full ferment, and immediately following the turnover to 1987, something came into play that changed everything.
The name of this particular game changer is Frank Blackfire, and his signature guitar sound basically transformed an otherwise solid slab of evil into an unstoppable wrecking machine. While the battery of Witchhunter and the sepulchral barks of Angelripper should not be underplayed here, it is the nimble yet wicked riff work and superior shred gymnastics of their newly acquired six string sorcerer that really carries their sound. With just the right balance of crunch and punch, and a better organized mixing job to keep the drums and vocals from drowning out the rest, “Expurse Of Sodomy” acts as a brief yet auspicious skirmish before the grand war that would be “Persecution Mania” and the near equally vicious follow up “Agent Orange”.
Each of these 3 morose assaults on all things decent carries with it an eruption of rage and speed fit to challenge the most extreme aspects of Slayer and Kreator, to the point of just barely nudging out “Haunting The Chapel” for my favorite thrash EP from the 80s. The first two of these morbid tales take on the speed and fury of a typical Slayer thrasher, but the character of the riffs are menacing in a different respect, as if merging a twisted harmony of woe into a singular guitar line, most particularly with regard to the principle riff of “Sodomy And Lust”, The last song “My Atonement” starts off in creepy semi-ballad territory, almost as if Testament were more inclined to the occult than politics, and ultimately ends up being a bit slower and heavier.
The pairing of this EP with the full length “Persecution Mania” has given a slight impression of the former being more of an afterthought, when truthfully this is a rather brilliant before-thought where the pieces that would make up the latter’s impeccable brilliance had mostly fallen into place. The is the sort of smaller collection that is best treated as separate, albeit not entirely unrelated offering, and it functions extremely well as its own album. It marks the beginning of a brief, albeit brilliant collaboration that made the late 80s an interesting period for the development of both thrash and death metal, and unfortunately it ended with the demise of said decade.
Something of a crude instrument of torture among a sharpening arsenal of updated tools, it would only be a matter of time before Sodom themselves partook in the evolutionary tactics of ravenous European thrash metal, and the Expurse of Sodomy EP marks that turning point. As vicious and tangible as anything they've issued in their career, it's comprised of three fairly remarkable tracks which still rank among their best, and it also heralds the incorporation of Frank Blackfire to the lineup, the band's third guitarist in three releases, and clearly the most impressive to that point, a blocky thrash and chugger with superior tone and skills in both the riffing and solos, the former lacking from Sodom's previously releases, which got by on their rugged, disgusting charisma over songwriting.
Expurse of Sodomy is basically the Sodom that I have always known and loved and looked forward to hearing more of, and it opens with a bang, almost literally: "Sodomy & Lust" features frenzied streams of delicious speed mutes, honed in with deadly accuracy, especially below its predictable but perfect chorus, wherein it becomes clear that even Tom's vocals have improved, or at the least are far less sloppy. "The Conqueror" functions with a similar forward thrust, the verse vocal patterns reminiscent of something you'd find on the first two Kreator records, the wild and unkempt solo here being particularly excellent, the guitar riffs slightly more epic and gladiatorial. "My Atonement" actually breaks the pace, beginning with a delightful acoustic guitar atmosphere, something you couldn't have expected before, and then building a mantra into a shit kicking mid-paced chugging rhythm. It's my least favorite of the three, but only by a slight margin, and it in no way drags down the effort.
The EP has been re-issued with the Persecution Mania by now, and that is the form in which many will digest its contents, but unlike many tack-on short players, Expurse of Sodomy still stands on its own, so much that if it was severed from that package, it would still be worth paying money for. Along Slayer's excellent Haunting the Chapel, this has to be one of the greatest triple threat trackers in all of thrash/speed metal, and the content is well produced and timeless. I've had a love/hate (okay, love/'meh') relationship through most of Sodom's career, never quite ranking them on the same level as Destruction and Kreator, even despite the low points those bands would often hit in the 90s, but as of 1987-89, the trio was easily on fire and worthy of their spot at the forefront of the German battalion.
For me, this EP came with the Steamhammer/SPV re-release of Persecution Mania. This is a good example of how an EP should be; a good taste of what is to come with a follow-up.
All 3 songs on this are some of Sodom's best in my opinion.
The first song, Sodomy and Lust is an absolute classic and many would be familiar with it now. Really fast throughout with a cool solo about 3:15 into the song. It also has a great catchy chorus. Very good!
Conquerer starts off with a speedy riff and once again, is very fast through the whole song with another awesome solo, its actually a little like the song before it but even better, although the best is yet to come, this is a very underrated song.
Now the best is last with the monstrous "My Atonement", with a dark and foreboding intro with various religious chants thrown in as well, this is an epic thrash number here. Starts of mid-paced with a brutal riff and then speeds up, usually the standard Sodom formula. Another awesome fast solo towards the end. This really is an underrated song and one of the best Sodom songs around. Why this isn't in their set-lists anymore, I don't know.
This is pretty much thrash bliss here, a great sign of change from In The Sign Of Evil and Obsessed By Cruelty and it sets the formula for the fantastic follow up "Persecution Mania", which is probably Sodom's best in my opinion.
This is without a doubt one of the best, if not the best EP I've heard, and I've been a metal fan for years. I don't know how easy this is to find now but it comes with the re-release of Persecution Mania, which isn't difficult to look for. The only thing that separates this from 100% is its length, which isn't long at all, though I have said quality, not quantity, earlier so that is the only minor flaw. If this was 3 songs longer this would be even better, but thats not really important.
The second half of the 80s was time for big changes for Sodom; changes that involved mostly the sound that was far more structured and mature than in the recent past. Already from Obsessed By Cruelty, we saw that change from black/thrash to a more thrash metal attitude and sound but with this Expurse Of Sodomy the whole matter now seems more compact and definite. The production now is more clear-cut and the riffs are more precise.
Tom’s vocals are always vicious but less screamed, to become harsher and thrasher. The riffs that come from thrash metal now are more preponderant and massive with a restless guitar work by the mythical Blackfire. The opener is the famous “Sodomy And Lust” that features up tempo to begin, to turn in some mid paced parts. They are really well done, especially during the drums stomps in the middle. Now the group has new skills; also the technique has improved a lot and you can really hear it from the faster, precise riffage and the songwriting.
The bass is pounding behind the whirlwind created by the mix of drums and guitars. This EP doesn’t have the same power of the following album talking about the production, but it’s a quite big step ahead for this band in a so short period of time. “The Conqueror” is my favourite one here with that simple but catchy structure that support headbanging tempos and the fast, essential refrain. This song is total speed without a moment to unwind a bit or rest. Total thrash up tempo. “My Atonement” is a bit different, showing a sad arpeggio by the beginning. The rest of the song is so similar to a march in the darkness, because the tempo is really slow, murky and obsessive to turn faster by the middle.
All in all, another step further for Sodom: a band that has improved a lot since the early days without forgetting how to play brutal stuff, this time with a more mature basis and less extreme metal influences. A sign of how the future would have been.
Imagine being a kid again in the 80's era. I'm talking about a young kid like around 12 or 13 and experimenting with new music. You go to the tape store (yes, I said tape), and you come across this discount priced E.P. by German metal legends Sodom. You pick it up because you've heard good things and you're looking for a heavy fix. Well you pop this sucker in and the crust build-up you've had going for years will start to bleed clean. This is the classic old school metal that transcends genre classification.
This mini album has a very dark and obscure feel to it like there's evil within the actual recording. This sound experience is the equivalent to watching an old technicolor zombie flick on vhs tape instead of dvd format. Nothing these days no matter how it's tried, can reproduce this kind of atmosphere within the musicl ever again. This is somewhat black metal because of the overall feel of the music. This can also be classified as early death metal because of the low, gutteral styled croak of the vocalist. It's also thrash metal because it's got some groovy moments but nothing up-beat or happy that I assure you.
When I first heard this E.P. I couldn't believe the speed of it. I heard this in the late 80's right before Morbid Angel hit the scene in a big way and set new standards for speed in extreme metal. But this, is definitely faster than say, Slayer but maybe not quite as fast as Dark Angel's fastest moments like on their Leave Scars L.P. for example.
I would reccomend this recording to those types of metal fans that don't need everything all shiny and new all the time and would like to visit one of the darker moments in metal's back catalog. Experience what was quite a life changing moment for a metalhead back then and what just might be one for you as well. My only complaint is that it's not a full length and that's why I took away one point. The full length album that came out right after this called Persecution Mania, was basically a continuation of this style but nothing ever quite recaptured the foul darkness of this thing.
“…behold the flame that burns in every heart of man…”
Having mercy on us, the tearer of angels and his crew (with new guitarist Frank Blackfire usurping Destructor a.k.a Wulf, their third guitarist in as many releases) didn’t wait two years to send out Sodom’s next poisonous spore, a small but moiling triangle of tracks that do more than merely forge a ramp to the next full-lengther. From their debut demo onward, Sodom were silently gracing their releases with the power of flight, the strength of navigation that, though artless in itself, would levitate the band’s sound out of the last mud bucket and into one a little less bespattered and fly-ridden. Gradual it was as two disfigured demos trudged in out of the rain and dried themselves off to the ‘sparkling’ sheen of In the Sign of Evil. The ep wiped the sludge from its eyes and recognized pace changes, arrangement dramatization, a hunky slow part or ten, and Obsessed by Cruelty. Expurse of Sodomy sees the band that were known as musical simpletons having almost learned to read without moving its lips, penning a handful of tunes less disorienting in their disheveled upheaval, yet manage to accomplish this without lowering the boom on Sodom’s terrifying insurgence that had built whatever following they had. The next step had fallen.
Of course hiring Harris Johns to help the production find the bathroom and teach it the splendor of wiping didn’t discourage EOS’s ascent toward the more highbrowed complexion of Persecution Mania, nor did it dry up the band’s song-spitting fervor.
“Sodomy and Lust” and “The Conqueror” are parents to the yet unborn tracks on Persecution Mania, their fresher din sounding less timeworn than warmongers on Obsessed by Cruelty and more up to speed (not literally) to the year this found daylight. Though the riffs aren’t the most imaginative around, it’s easy to hear the band’s egress from their mid-‘80s production-bound dourness.
The former is paced with mobile, brewing peril as if climbing horizontally to something that’s moments away from exploding, which in this case is an upturned chorus that at its end takes cues from landmates Destruction (“Bestial Invasion”) and Necronomicon (“Possessed by Evil”) with Angel Ripper’s guttural eruption of the title against a background of silence. “The Conqueror” is a little more nose-to-the-grindstone in its destiny, to the knifepoint and with no breakdowns to speak of.
These two contusions of melody are braced by the band’s first transcendence from their usual abominable selves. “My Atonement” is an odd creature. It’s sworn to life by lightly thunderous thrums, airy keys, chants of a Gregorian kind, and electrical acoustic-like fingerwork, grumbling along, advancing in speed little by little but never coming to a full charge, actually rather tedious and seemingly circulated only by Tom’s rhapsodized, throat-scarred vocals. They’re atoning for something here, but like the preacher who’s lost his faith, I’d rather not hear it, and is the main reason for a score of this caliber.
With side one’s more vascular muscle than previously flexed and side two’s unexpected gambit, it’s my pleasure to recommend EOS as the trio’s turning point without being fully fledged, the precursor to Persecution Mania.
If you’re bored and happen to have the album, crank it down to 33rpm for rhythms that’re slo-mo grime with vocals harking a more vampiric, stoneground drawl like those of Johan Larsson from Séance. Pretty cool for a little while anyway.
For only three tunes, you get your money's worth, which is every penny in this case. A well-produced EP with good, solid tunes that is NOT a throwaway in any sense of the word, that is.
The guitar sound is good for the time, and Frank Blackfire shreds his brains out all over the tunes on display here. The bass, as always, is buried to the point of inaudibility like most every damn metal album out there from this time period. The drums are too distant-sounding in the mix for my taste, and Chris Witchhunter was never the tightest drummer in the world anyway (in fact, he's pretty weak in that department). But I forgive him this once, as this only marginally affects the badassness of this EP.
"Sodomy & Lust" opens up with a storming riff that leads into the customary scalding thrash metal Sodom became known for, its immediacy rendering it a right ass-kicker. Tom's vocals are good and strong, and with his thick German accent, he sounds pretty damn menacing. No subtlety, no BS, just straightahead power and might. Frank's solo is impressive and dramatic--he was easily the best guitarist they'd had at the time. A good opener!
"Conqueror" is even more intense and aggressive than the first song, with more a classic pedal point riff opening it up a la Slayer in the minor pentatonic scale. When the drums blast off in this tune, they drag your ass into a maelstrom of raging metal where the riffs pound away at you like the weakling you are and Tom simply spits out "CONQUEROR!!! CONQUEROR!!! CONQUEROR!!! UGH!!!" to make his point abundantly clear. Simple and direct is the best way to make a point, after all. Another cooking solo from Frank tops this off very nicely.
"My Atonement" is atypical in that it starts off slow and grinding with creeping riffs that sneak up on you until the song explodes about halfway through into speed and fury again. Some very Crowleyan lyrics that in fact quote more or less directly from his "Book of The Law" adorn this tune--makes you wonder about Olde Tom, eh. No Satanic crap on this EP lyrically, in fact, which makes me think this was the first incidence of their changing lyrical direction before they went from Satanic to war-oriented themes.
Get this, because it will compress your spine into a small grey column of muck like you deserve and loooove so much! Classic Deutsch thrash is a beautiful thing, what can I say.