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“…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.