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Something strange happened to Sodom. Their sound followed the black metal direction, and their guitar and drumming work was merciless, not to mention the lyrics which were focused on Satan worshiping, blaspheme and other satanic issues. Then, from one day to the other the band decided to fire Grave Violator who was the mastermind behind their black metal stuff, and they hired Frank Blackfire in order to modify the sound and even the image of the band.
After leaving behind the Venom worshiping, they introduced a new speed/thrash sound inspired by Motörhead (as much as their "Iron Fist" cover), thus instead of playing the raw sound of their earlier stuff, they took Motorhead's sound and made something thrashier. Furthermore, the lyrics' topics are more focused on war and its consequences rather than singing satanic lyrics. Also, as part of their Motörhead worshiping, they saved some space for the bass, which is much more audible than in the earlier stuff.
Notwithstading the above, they just kept a little bit of their thrashy rhythm in order to provide an aggressive sound to the album; however, the songs were slightly slowed-down so that they become just as thrashy as needed. On the other hand, the album has a very stressing atmosphere like if the songs were written during the war, and is hard to figure out how hard this may result when mixing the atmosphere with the lyrics describing the moment in which a nuclear bomb exploded, like in "Nuclear Winter". Also, guitar riffs played a role on this atmosphere since they are harsh enough to inspire some stress for the listener.
Furthermore, the songs are more elaborated and the album provides some room for instrumental passages which go very well with the songs, even though they are not too complex, nor so technical, and they work as speed breakers like in many thrash metal songs of other bands. It is clear that they left behind any possibility of using again the primitive and brutal sound of their EP album, except for Angelripper's vocals, which remained as harsh as in such EP.
This album demonstrates that there are many ways to play thrash metal. It is possible to play something more speed metal oriented like Megadeth's debut, but there are also much more bands releasing violent stuff. Of course, this album was made for people who does not agree with the mediocre and overproduced sound of the modern thrash metal releases as they can understand how the thrash metal should sound like.
It’s interesting to see how, despite being a very “conservative” and mostly “immobile” genre, thrash metal can be able to possess different facets and to evoke radically different moods from band to band, from subgenre to subgenre. There is primordial speed/thrash from the early 80s which works perfectly for intense headbanging, there is standard moshable U.S. thrash in the Bay Area vein, there are mad crossover/hardcore hybrids with humorous contents and aesthetics, there is technical/prog thrash for metal nerds, and then there’s even the mercilessly fast and brutal thrash of the European/South American school, which often flirts with black and death metal and in some cases contributed to the development of these genres in the late 80s; well, I happened to fall in love first with the latter category, and still nowadays this is the kind of thrash I like the most - though I’m currently interested in all the genre’s branches.
The band that really made me realize that thrash metal was exactly my thing is the almighty Teutonic war-machine called Sodom. I already was rather familiar with the genre, thanks to Metallica and some other sparse stuff from the “Big 4” (with a discrete predilection for Slayer, which was already prophetic about the future development of my tastes), but no band in the whole extreme metal current influenced me as much as Sodom did: they’re one of the most essential bands in my musical formation. They brought me to have a serious passion and dedication for the genre, even in its most underground forms: few time after having discovered them, my hunger for similar stuff brought me to discover hundreds of other bands, first in thrash metal and classic heavy metal (the latter in order to discover the roots of what I heard), then I even began to discover death and black metal, and then I even went beyond toward more unknown territories such as industrial and other alternative currents. In few words... although I already listened to heavy metal since some time (thanks to big mainstream names such as the almighty Iron Maiden), Sodom were the ones that brought me most of the enthusiasm that still nowadays makes me listen and fully dedicate to metal, and I’ll never thank them enough for this. After all, if it was only for Iron Maiden (which still remain my absolute favourite band anyway), my interest for heavy metal now would be probably more superficial and mainstream-oriented.
In my eyes, Sodom is one of those bands which possess a near-perfect discography: they never really made a properly disappointing record, and I consider most of their albums as masterpieces. However, the greatest opus they ever made in their career (which stands even slightly above the mighty “Agent Orange”, the proto-black rough gems of “In the Sign of Evil” and “Obsessed by Cruelty, or the masterful concept album called “M16”) is “Persecution Mania”. This album represents the absolute zenith of the whole extreme metal current, let alone thrash metal. Everything I could ask from the genre is fully fulfilled on this gem: there is heaviness, there is rawness, there is brutality, there is inspiration, there is creativity, there is skill, there is expressivity, there is passion, there is true anger. This album is self-consciously merciless, brutish and barbaric, yet it’s self-consciously intelligent, competent, cynical and manipulative as well. Unlike on their previous efforts (stellar and masterful, yet still technically sloppy), the band now is completely self-aware of their own capabilities (also thanks to the inclusion of the highly skillful guitarist Frank Blackfire), thus they bring them in the most extreme and destructive direction possible, yet never losing control of their own creature, and maintaining a cold, inscrutable mastery on what they’re doing even during the rawest and loosest parts.
The first element that distinguishes an awesome thrash album from an average one or a bad one is undoubtedly the riff-work, and well, “Persecution Mania” features the most uncompromisingly brutal, yet paradoxically most expressive riff-work you could ever find on a thrash metal album. The most astonishing fact about these riffs is that you can never, NEVER hear something that could be properly defined as an “open melody” (something that even the monolithic “Agent Orange” contains), yet this is still some of the freshest, most inspired and most competent stuff ever heard in heavy metal. I think I’m not exaggerating if I say that an average old school U.S. death metal album usually possesses a major “sense of melody” in comparison to this opus: the mood is absolutely dark, gloomy, tense, nervous, menacing and hostile to the listener’s ear throughout the whole record (the only concession to “open melodies” comes in the form of Frank’s beautiful and polished solos, which are surprisingly never out of place and always fit the catastrophic mood of the songs), but this “unspoken restriction” doesn’t even remotely castrate the band’s creativity; this is exactly what they want to play!
Plus, the great ideas are adequately supported by Harris Johns’ awesome production; this guy, few years before, had already managed to come up with the perfect guitar tone for a heavy/speed metal album (in the first two Grave Digger records), and now he shows us the perfect guitar tone for a thrash metal album. Scott Burns, you’re owned: even your works with Sepultura will never equate this one, though they come close enough. This paragon, by the way, isn’t casual at all: imagine a homogeneous blend of Scott Burns’ clean, punchy, grinding, heavily abrasive and demolitive production of “Beneath the Remains” with a little hint of the raw, filthy, unpolished and unprofessional sound of “Schizophrenia”; yeah, this is pretty much how “Persecution Mania” sounds like. All the instruments are perfectly balanced, with the drums and the vocals in evidence, but never overshadowing the guitars; and, the guitars, oh well... they just possess the perfect killer tone that every “extreme” thrash metal band would surely dream of. Maybe I’m going a bit too far with this one, but I think that even the production work could have some “cynical planning” behind it: this is the album where Sodom’s topics begin to switch toward wars, armed conflicts and catastrophes, and I think it’s no coincidence if these guitars sound exactly like a rain of bombs falling upon your head, without any concession. One of the most exciting things about listening to “Persecution Mania” and “Agent Orange” is the constant feeling of being caught in the middle of a dramatic, catastrophic war, and this is possible thanks both to the absurdly “bombarding” production and, most of all, to the band’s stellar ideas.
The opener “Nuclear Winter” strikes you with an absurdly sharp, tense and remarkable riff that brings the exact stench of a nuclear disaster to your senses and makes you understand from the start what the album is gonna be about; then, it launches into a relentless thrash attack that gets faster, darker and more furious as the track progresses (probably peaking with the insane warlike riff at 2:41, which is a perfect example of the “feeling of bombardment” that I mentioned before). Songs like “Electrocution” and “Enchanted Land” are other perfect examples of the paroxysmal savageness that permeates this record from start to finish: Witchhunter’s intense and relentless drumming knows no obstacles and bashes your head over and over with hyper-raw and hyper-fast up-tempos (which, despite seeming apparently a bit sloppy, are often enriched by very competent fills that manage to add some variety), and Frank’s riffing is always original, skilled, distinct from other bands, dramatically expressive, insanely fast, ripping, breath-taking, dark and absurdly filthy, seeming almost to come out from the coal mines where Tom used to work at the time: in few words, these riffs sound blacker and dirtier than sulfur. Many riff-sequences (including those of the aforementioned two songs) are also enriched by melodic variations played in tremolo picking, which often work as increasers of tension in each riff-cycle, but still keeping faith to the uncompromisingly “uncatchy” nature of the music: “aggression” is what matters here, and even a straightforward “Motorhead-like” tune such as “Conjuration” demonstrates the band’s warlike purpose without compromises, and features also a slightly sinister vibe (mostly due to the tremolo riffs).
However, slower sections aren’t inferior to the faster ones: even a relentless track like “Enchanted Land” contains a mid-paced break, with some riffs that show the band’s taste for fat and powerful grooves (still staying stuck in the thrash environment, of course). Sometimes, the mid-paced riffs are some of the greatest reinforcements to the album’s “black-as-pitch” vibe, even in the relatively catchiest sequences; moreover, these are the moments where Tom’s barbaric and evil vocals manage to shine the most, giving justice to his deep, rough tone that has improved a lot in comparison to “Obsessed by Cruelty” and even to the “Expurse of Sodomy” EP, and now dominates the atmosphere a lot more than before. However, paradoxically, the darkest episode of the whole album is the instrumental track: “Procession to Golgatha” is a unique piece in Sodom’s repertory, being a doomy dirge-like march that evokes an incredibly gloomy and hopeless atmosphere even for the album’s standards; you can almost see the three condemned men carrying their crosses toward the mountain’s peak, where a miserable death awaits them.
In addition, the band’s improvement in the songwriting department works at the service of more ambitious song-structures in comparison to the previous albums (with few exceptions like “Deathlike Silence”, “Obsessed by Cruelty” or “My Atonement”), with the insertion of abrupt, yet incredibly well-placed breaks, “stop-and-go” parts and tempo changes which make these songs often unpredictable. Sometimes, Frank likes to fuck around with random dissonant shredding and other interesting tricks that manage to increase the intensity of tracks like “Electrocution”, still with no signs of redundancy.
However, the band’s biggest triumphs in terms of songwriting come in the form of other two massive tracks. “Nuclear Winter”, in fact, doesn’t only feature bestial fast sections as I said before, but it even manages to connect them with slower and more atmospheric sections in a coherent, flawless way; in this manner, the song turns out to be a majestic display of the dramas of a nuclear attack, featuring both sides of the coin: the moment of absolute destruction and the deflagrated, harmless remains. “Christ Passion”, instead, is a last sign of the band’s past anti-christian lyrics, but this time, religion is analyzed in a more accurate manner: these lyrics deal with every aspect of Christianity, from every point of view, but still concluding in a repulsed way and defining this miserable cult with the very appropriate definition of ”defecation of human nature”. The music beneath does an excellent job at manifesting the argument’s numerous sides, thanks to a very complex and shifting structure: after a filthy mid-paced intro (a probable sign of Tom’s NWOBHM roots), the song builds up with a galloping riff upon which Tom introduces the religious topic, and the more his lyrics get scornful, the more the tension increases; then, the track explodes in one of the fastest, rawest and most relentless section of the whole album, with some very sharp and remarkable riffage accompanied by Tom’s sinister and pissed off vocals which continue to vomit upon the christian cult and repeat the chorus with an almost possessed tone. The faster parts are interspersed by a very dark and cadenced mid-paced section, which possesses one of the most memorable lines of Sodom’s history, sung by Tom with an awesome deep growl that represents one of his greatest performances of all time:
”Mortal way of life,
rapture of the Earth...
lift up your heads,
in the day... OF HIS WRATH!!!”
Even when the album doesn’t shine for complexity, it always does for expressivity and emotional involvement: the best example of that would be the title-track, whose construction isn’t particularly complex, yet manages to evoke a pathos and a sense of continuity which I’ve rarely seen in music; this is why still nowadays, every time I listen to this song, I always remain stunned by its awesome construction and its emotional nature which makes me feel part of the described scenery (which, by the way, constitutes also the first gaze of the band into the Vietnam war topic). The intro galloping riff already evokes a sinister feeling of tension and danger, and when the song launches itself into the void with another uncontrolled up-tempo, those few power chords (whose sequence is gonna be imitated by thousands of bands), blended with Tom’s hideous and frustrated vocals, increase the feeling of danger to dramatic levels, with a level of fury that knows no equal; then, the pace switches to another cavalcade with a high-pitched, almost death metal-like riff that builds up again some tension and pathos, before launching into the relentless chorus, where Tom’s vocals make you almost feel the same fear that the soldier who narrates the lyrics does feel. After the refrain, Frank Blackfire leaves his definite footprint between the greatest metal legends, thanks to one of the most astonishing solos I’ve ever heard: long, complex and articulated, with tragic and extremely emotional melodies which fit flawlessly the pathos of this awesome track. Then, the intro cavalcade riff comes back and the song ends abruptly with another memorable, sinister vocal line provided by Tom:
circles... in... THE AIR!!!”
Apart from the tensest and darkest episodes, the album’s flow is “altered” by a couple of “atypical” tracks which, incredibly, don’t clash with the rest and result surprisingly appropriate in the context, maybe as a fitting break between the most “serious” tracks. There is a Motorhead cover, “Iron Fist”, which is adapted to the band’s raw, thrashy sound: truth be told, as much as I love Motorhead, I still have to admit that Sodom knocked them out with their reinterpretation of this tune, thanks to a more “muscular” performance and a better, catchier rendition of its well-known chorus. The album concludes with another “odd” track, “Bombenhagel”, which managed to instantly catch my attention right from the first time I heard it: actually, thanks to Tom’s memorable bass lines and Frank’s intense, penetrating, thrashy riffs, this is surely the catchiest track you can find on here. Though still featuring Witchhunter’s typical relentless paces, this song is definitely more akin to the most “ordinary” form of thrash, rather than Sodom’s more “blackened” kind; however, it’s still as awesome as the rest, and the “German hymn” solo coronates it.
All these elements mixed together (with the allegation of the equally awesome “Expurse of Sodomy” EP in the CD edition) constitute a very developed, yet ultimately cohesive album, and make of “Persecution Mania” the absolute epitome of thrash metal, directly followed by “Agent Orange” as second-prize winner. Even more well-known names like Slayer or faster and rawer bands such as Schizo, Sarcofago, Necrodeath and Merciless cannot compete with what Sodom has achieved in the late 80s: none of these names, though being some of my favourite bands as well, ever managed to craft something that evokes the same fury, the same intensity, the same heaviness and the same passion of “Persecution Mania”. Despite not being properly considerable as a part of the 80’s “proto-black/proto-death metal” wave, this album has even been a huge source of inspiration for both genres (especially for black metal: just think about the t-shirt often worn by Dead, which certainly showed a huge appreciation towards this record).
In the end, you can’t claim to know what extreme metal is, if you have never listened to “Persecution Mania”: this opus embodies the truest, most primitive soul of the whole genre (which nowadays has been unfortunately lost among many circles), but behind it there is a highly competent and passionate band that manages to shine flawlessly in terms of quality and professionalism, in a cohesive mix that reaches absolute perfection. Listen to this album, or die trying!
This album made a difference from every other thrash record of that time. With this classic release, Sodom became, with all honors, one of the greatest and most respected German metal groups. They joined the first division of Teutonic thrash, moving away from their noisy humble (but amusing) beginnings to become more convincing and professional. They reached a higher level, ready to score success and reach recognition among the rich European underground metal scene, which at that time, was plenty of young promising bands. If they wanted to survive and compete with the big of the subgenre, they should find their own sound, refusing to get stagnant in predictable clichés. That’s what they did! Saying Angelripper:
“To me this is the first real Sodom album, we were really happy with the whole production which Harris Johns did. It was a milestone for me. It was a steppingstone into the international Metal scene. The album went through the roof! In America, in Europe...released worldwide”.
Sodom’s music evolved and developed into something more elaborated, thoughtful and tangled, compared to their primitive sound on the legendary, unsophisticated In The Sign Of Evil EP and their tacky debut Obsessed By Cruelty . The significant changes on the now more insightful arrangements, lengthier instrumental passages and more cogent riffs provided their sound of substantial thickness. Even though song-structures are not incredibly complex by any means, as each composition avoids conveniently to focus on technicality excessively still; yet the huge improvement as far as arranging and envision is concerned is notable. Sodom didn’t betray their ever-elusive sonic hostility and harshness in favor of this burgeoning improvement though, particularly Blackfire’s riffs and hooks are uncompromisingly bellicose and punkish. There’s a flamboyance to the straight-up, proudly minimalistic guitar lines on cuts like “Nuclear Winter” or “Conjuration”, after all, despite their compulsive, offhand conception – contrasted with a few more carefully-written, which vary and progress during the more flexible song-structures, so there’s no real absence of continuity or complacent laziness. Angelripper and co. are putting bigger emphasis on transitions, as well as on the primordial arrangements a compelling thrash record couldn’t do without (think of the elemental pace shifts, song-body switching and tone divergence); everything the result of a more prepared, proficient song-writing process and hours of practice onstage. Take now “Electrocution” or “Christ Passion”, which proof Sodom’s bigger ambition and better-focused mindset to leave scandalous simplicity and incongruence behind. They even attempted to increase the punch and power on these numbers by including more rabid, brash tempos, which are defined decently by Witchhunter’s raging double bass-drum kicks. Speed is constant, a nearly untouched characteristic on their new philosophy, setting the basis for enthusiastically-sequenced riffing on songs like “Bombenhagel” or “Enchanted Land”. Frantic velocity, instrumental progression and more attentively-conceived riff patterns – that was the combination that couldn’t fail. Tom declared:
“For the first time in our history we had a really good guitarist, which wasn’t exactly the case with Destructor or Grave Violator. We also wanted to get away from the satanic image a la Obsessed By Cruelty or In The Sign Of Evil – wanted to do something different. And Frank had the technical know-how, the potential, to write good songs”.
As for that particular classic song, namely “Bombenhagel”, the band responded to the controversy it kicked over the years. Angelripper saying:
““Bombenhagel” was written in the rehearsal room. We said we wanted to make the song a bit more punky (…). Ok, there were problems with “Bombenhagel”. Many people say that it is right-wing. The lyrics, the German national anthem, the battle cry “Bombenhagel”! Many people still don't get it. If you translate the lyrics to German, you will see that it is an anti-war song. I can remember many people calling us Nazis after “Bombenhagel”.
Someone who thinks the German anthem shouldn’t be in there sees it different than I do. We're not right wing extremist. We are Germans and that's our anthem. Today “Bombenhagel” is and will always be the highlight at the end of very live show”.
It’s a pretty consistent song-list, whose tunes however are punctuating some clumsy moments, regardless of the higher expertise displayed overall. It’s not that these guys aren’t putting their hearts and souls on their job, it’s just that they’re not great musicians with the necessary skills to accomplish their occasionally-anxious ideas – unavoidably limited by their humble, unprofessional musical vocabulary and savvy. The absence of experience, technicality and ability is indelibly-marked. Want a proof, take Frank’s soloing on the title-track, which may be the sloppiest, more lumbering he ever perpetrated – messing with his whammy-bar and effect pedals too much. Drums rolls from Chris sound out of tempo, too disjointed pretty often, while Tom’s incohesive bass lines on “Iron Fist” make Lemmy’s originals sound supreme. But apart from those few handicaps, this album offers a compelling instrumental display, according to their low-key standards. As for the lyrics as well, we’re having some more mature issues, another transcendental element making Sodom’s intentions more adult, forgetting about the evil imagery and sloppiness of the past, knocking-out something more believable, preaching about war, politics, anti-religion...So music and words went to another level, but what about production? For a low-budget demo, In The Sign Of Evil sounded actually pretty tightened, much better than other mid-80’s thrash records, so we may expected a similar, decent sound engineering job on this release. Blackfire recalls:
“We went to Harris Johns again, to Berlin and recorded Persecution Mania. We had more time in the studio; the record company invested a bit more in the band. We were taken serious a bit more”.
Unfortunately, the production here is disastrous and totally weak, with guitars fading away, getting disconcertingly distant in the mix, virtually unlistenable when the whole group attacks together. Even bass sounds louder than the 6-string section at times, but pretty pin-down, while drums expose the dreadful sonic imbalance between instrument tracks. What if this one had a real production? Although none other than Harris Johns feels so proud about it:
“It was a factory floor in Kreuzberg with a 24-track tape recorder and lots of things you don't have any more today. The band had already evolved and the album was received very well. I was able to get into the sound of the band and nail it down”.
We got here a memorable thrash work, despite not being perfect, regardless of being brutally unpolished and dreadfully produced...But if you ignore the weak spots and focus on the memorable energy, attitude and passion to these 9 fierce tunes, then there’s no way you won’t enjoy them. With appealing stuff like this album in their discography catalog, it makes us wonder why all recognition, credits and appreciation go to modern, pedestrian Sodom albums that can’t hardly match the crispness and endurance of the good old times. Such a big difference of popularity between the feeble latest and compelling earliest material from this band among the fans, are we crazy or what. Whatever, for those who live in the past, for those old-school romantics that can’t find any pleasure on modern shitty thrash, here you got a treasure.
The second album from German thrashers Sodom, “Persecution Mania,” is really the focal point of their whole career as it manages to incorporate so many of the traditional elements found within their sound into a package for the first time, and as such stands tall as one of their more timeless classics.
At first, the one point that sticks out about their music is the fact that this is a streamlined form of their previous material, which isn’t too far off the mark at all. Still packing their rather furious blend of riffing that contains an aggressive streak courtesy of punk with a technicality afforded by its’ thrash leanings, especially in the latter half of the material, two important differences are found that seem to define the bands’ sound to come get first placement here. The major improvement is the near-elimination of the chaotic vibe and energy that was found on the first record in exchange for a tight, controlled burst of aggression that permeates these songs. No longer flailing about in wild, frantic patterns but instead keeping the songs tight and lean, allowing the drums to drive the tempo along rather than the riff-work produces a simply devastating result that gives the songs impeccable speed with a devastation not afforded to in their previous works. This is a style that continues on from their point forward and is found here, as well as another rather impressive feat that was carried on from this record. Since the songs’ riffing is so tight and controlled, this forces them to release their energy in the form of lengthy, instrumental pieces within the song itself that simply relies on repeating their devastating riff-work in a continuous manner, producing an intense thrashing section that’s enormously infectious and works quite well to distinguish the band from its peers quite easily.
These two marks aside, the album is pretty typical of what one would find in a Sodom record. Along with the aggressive and intense guitar-riffing brought over from the first album, another strong element at play for the band is the explosive drumming which seems to alternate between a blasting form of thrash complete with the appropriate double-bass fills that simply propel the songs forward quite heavily to a sort of pedal-less hyper-speed blast that feels more like the drumming style found in black metal where it sounds like all that’s going on is trying to see how many times they can get hit in a minute without the use of the double-bass. While this generates an extra intensity to the music, it feels out-of-place in many songs as the timing of the rhythms seems to indicate more of a traditional drumming approach rather than this new style, but in any event they’re loud, up-front and steal the show on many songs as they’re mixed so high they come through with clarity and devastation. Also found here is some fine bass-work that mixes quite well with the drums in creating a dark atmosphere that was prevalent on the first record, and with those dirty vocals that tend to recall early black metal at times with that type of screech and cavernous effect they’re recorded with, this makes a completely devastating record.
Between the two halves, there’s hardly any real stylistic difference. The first half does seem a little more concerned with the intense thrashing and blasting that was being introduced into their sound, almost as if it were trying to gauge interest right away with the lengthier compositions right away than wait until the second half to try and experiment. There’s nothing but a savage onslaught of tight riffing, pounding devastating drumming and ferocious bass-work that has come to define the band as a whole. If anything, the second half is a bit experimental in the sense of trying to incorporate more of a punk-like influence from the first record, mostly in the drum-patterns but the occasional riff here and there does give off a punk vibe as well, and tries to meld this with the more traditional thrash elements found within their sound that comes off either hit or miss at times, hitting more often than not. This is also where they utilize some more down-tempo material that isn’t as full-on intense or to incorporate doom-like dirges where it’s atmospheric rather than thrashing away, all of which is quite fine and definitely adds a few twists and turns into an otherwise straightforward effort.
There’s plenty to like with the songs on here as there’s some fine material on display. Opener ‘Nuclear Winter’ features a war-drum like opening with a thrashing pace, furious riffing, dirty vocals and atmospheric bass touches as it rolls along with different tempo shifts and lengthy rhythm interludes, instilling itself as the direction the band is to follow for the albums to come as well as being an all-time classic in its own right. ‘Electrocution’ works well with its thrashing intro with intense riffing and pounding drums that segues into a rocking mid-section break before going back to thrashing intensity for another outstanding effort. The cover of the Motörhead classic ‘Iron Fist’ is actually above-average with its rocking and infectious punk-like energy found within, as the riffing completely fits within their sound but the bass-work doesn’t give it the evil quality of their originals. The title track gets back to business with pounding drum-work filled with thrashing riff-work, and is mostly noteworthy among the album where it drops the traditional thrash approach in favor of a blasting drumming approach that reins in the energy and intensity, making for a stellar start to the album as it’s filled with classic tracks throughout.
Even if the second half of the album is where it gets experimental by the standards found throughout, it’s still not nearly enough to deter the fine amount of stellar work here. The blazing ‘Enchanted Land’ carries on the tradition of tight riff-work with plenty of aggressive riffing, lengthy mid-tempo sections of restrained riffing with a return to intense thrashing at the end, making for another highlight. The first minor experimentation comes from the blazing instrumental ‘Procession to Golgatha,’ with its atmospheric intro and dirge-like riffing with down-tuned tempo it creates a massive, near-doom-like feeling for an appropriate break in the midst of all the thrashing around it. Picking back up again is ‘Christ Passion’ with an interesting guitar-based build-up that leads into mid-tempo chug with blasting drumming that sinks and rises in mix as the music blasts away, creating one more stellar highlight track. A return to the experimental side coincides with ‘Conjuration,’ which mixes a punk-like drumming intro that gives way to groovy bass-lead riffing that generates more speed and intensity during the solo breaks as bass-work takes lead with atmospheric twangs during blast parts with the most black-metal like vocals on the whole album, creating one of the more interesting and enjoyable tracks on the album. It all ends with the classic ‘Bombenhagel,’ with another truly pounding intro with mid-tempo riff-work that shifts back and forth between mid-range and up-tempo blasting with tight drumming and fine mid-range breaks and occasional punk-tinges, finally ending the beating in fine fashion.
As one of the more important records in the bands’ discography that features some truly impressive work for one of the most important bands in the genre. At the forefront of their honing and refining of the trademark sound they will employ from this record on, it’s a remarkable achievement the band was able to do this one only album number two, as they must’ve rightly observed how punishing and pummeling the sound was and decided to employ that in the future for it seems to combine nearly all the influences from the past with the mere tightening and refining of the work into a blasting, coherent whole that remains one of the genre’s defining records, but thrash as well. Highly recommended to thrash enthusiasts of all kinds as well as aficionados of the German thrash scene as well.
Persecution Mania is Sodom's transitional album from their early black metal material to their later thrash metal output (even though it certainly is more thrash metal-oriented, it still emanates a dark and macabre aura). This record shows a drastic change in Sodom's sound due to Frank Blackfire's influence on Tom Angelripper's conception of music. Blackfire had already shown us his musical abilities on Sodom's previous EP with intense and memorable tracks such as 'Sodomy And Lust', 'My Atonement', and 'The Conqueror', and it was clear that these sodomaniacs were serious about composing great thrash metal. Enough background, let's start with the album review.
An example of what I previously mentioned is the first track, 'Nuclear Winter', a song of relative technical complexity (definitely harder to execute than anything Metallica have ever done), in which Angelripper and Witchhunter demonstrate their musical improvement in order to keep up with Blackfire's guitar work. The considerable quantity of catchy, yet powerful, riffs, the brilliant solo at the middle of the song, the deep and elaborate lyrics, and the tight drumming are some of the reasons why this song deserves to be considered a classic. The rest of the songs also contain lots of great riffs, such as the main riffs in 'Persecution Mania', 'Christ Passion', or 'Enchanted Land', however they also show an increase in speed and intensity (the kinds of songs that make you want to thrash the fuck out of everything). Another highlight of the album are the vocal effects used in some segments of songs like 'Electrocution', which make the line "pathological satisfaction" sound really twisted and sinister (hence the album's thrash/black essence).
Throughout the whole album, Tom Angelripper delights us with his raspy, German-accented vocals and his ever-present thick bass tone. In my opinion, those two elements are the backbone of Sodom's style (try to imagine Sodom with Tom Araya as the vocalist/bassist; it just wouldn't work). Another feature present on this album which would become a trademark in their following records is the typical cover made by Sodom, in this case a Motörhead cover. 'Iron Fist', even though it doesn't really fit the album's atmosphere, is nicely covered by this competent German trio because they manage to give it a thrash metal tone and still make you want to sing the chorus (I wish I could say the same about Kreator's failed attempt at covering 'The Number Of The Beast').
It also contains some odd, yet good tracks. For example, 'Bombenhagel' is a punk-ish track, that includes a part of the German national anthem and somehow it really works! 'Procession To Golgotha' is a slow and intense instrumental in which Blackfire is the center of attention (his soloing is amazing). 'Conjuration' first debuted under the name of 'Satan's Conjuration', and sadly I must say it is not that great. Unlike the rest of the songs, it doesn't really have any interesting riffs (it worked for Sodom's second demo, but I think it's out of place on Persecution Mania). Despite this "negative" element present in the album, it's one of my personal favorites (actually, it's the album that got me into Sodom) and I highly recommend listening to it at least once.
In conclusion, if you are into thrash metal and the FWOBM, get this album immediately.
Sodom did not have us waiting for long after the excellent Expurse of Sodomy EP, just two months would pass and it was time for Persecution Mania. And whereas "Sodomy and Lust" was like the debutante arriving at the ball and throwing her shoes in the face of the vanity parade, this was like having a squadron of dependable, well trained soldiers arrive to gas and grenade everyone else in attendance. The band's gas mask toting gunner mascot had arrived, and their obsession with warfare (only hinted at on prior releases) was in full swing, a motif they'd carry through many albums. The riot patrol that was career prime Sodom was now in session, and living prisoners were unlikely.
Obviously, the centerpiece here is "Nuclear Winter", one of the band's all time classics, which follows a similar course to "Sodomy and Lust" with rip shit, hyper muted guitars and Tom's disgusting, reverberating vocal splatter that placed him in league with the other greats (Schmier, Petrozza, Sabina, Daxx, etc.) Sure, the chorus is predictable, but the riffs that it flows over are like incendiary kisses to the buttocks, and the breakdown was undeniably mosh worthy, despite its lazy gait. "Electrocution" is very similar, aggressive and fast paced with some great vox and an even greater, death metal riffing bridge between the verses. After this, the band include a quality cover of Motörhead's "Iron Fist", which strangely fits into the original content, but also establishes a minor problem I have with Persecution Mania (more on this later).
Speaking of which, the title track represents a slightly more subdued, but still excellent spin on the formula thus far on the disc; "Enchanted Land" might have an offsetting title, but I assure you it's fucking barbaric; and the slow, drudging instrumental "Procession to Golgotha" drifts into another blaze of ballistic frustration, the "Christ Passion", which is merely a variation on "Nuclear Winter" or "Electrocution". "Conjuration" seeks to further the band's punk influence, and it's largely composed of aggressive rock riffing with Lemmy-like bass presence, saved only by Tom's gritty and repulsive vocals. Unfortunately, I don't feel as strongly for "Bombenhagel", which is basically a thrash/punk piece with some bland notation.
Sodom would do a lot of this in their career, which is understandable since they obviously have a huge influence through classic dirty rock and punk, but sadly it's just nowhere near as interesting as their more metallic compositions, and this holds true on future full-lengths. The solo is decent, but the guitars are otherwise really dull, and it does put a slight stamp of regret on the album. If you've got one of the CD releases of Persecution Mania, then you're probably also treated to the Expurse of Sodomy EP, with is an excellent value, and the band also include a re-recording of "Outbreak of Evil", which sounds audibly superior to the original, but it's also got that punkish fuel to it. Still, I'd take it any day over "Bombenhagel", which is just the one song I don't like that holds the whole package back.
Regardless, Persecution Mania is the 'best' Sodom full-length album, followed closely by Agent Orange. Some will cite the sloppier, earlier recordings as their favorite, but as charming as they were, they are no replacement for the structure and potential on exhibit here. With this lineup (Angelripper, Blackfire and Witchhunter), the band did a great job of tightening their reins on composition without sacrificing the 'loose ends' of their shoddy, sadistic past. The lyrics are also quite good. It doesn't give me the same missile erection as a Terrible Certainty, Finished With the Dogs, Sentence of Death or The Morning After, but it's quite damn good, and easily belongs among the classics of the 80s in this genre. I've caught hell in the past for holding the band below the others of the 'Big Three' in quality, but that's simply the reality of what I'm hearing. Write it off to the apples and oranges, but what is not in question is that this is sure footed, militaristic, and brutal: an onslaught worth anyone's investment.
Sodom’s full-length debut, Obsessed by Cruelty, was a bit of a disappointment to both fans of today and yesterday. Although the songwriting was (mostly) solid, the production was a quite horrid, muddied sound, and the listening experience was relegated from the “Grand Assripping Supremator of Unholy Black Metal” status of their previous release, the five song EP In the Sign of Evil, to the unfortunate realm of “Personal Favorite.” The departure of Sodom’s previous guitarist, one Mr. “Destructor,” signaled the arrival of what may be the second most important man to Sodom’s musical legacy and classic sound: Frank ‘Blackfire’ Gosdzik. The addition of Blackfire as the lone guitarist solidified all remaining patches in the band’s songwriting, and their second studio LP, Persecution Mania, is the exact point in which this band became the thrash monsterbeast they are known as today. This album is archetypical of the German method of playing thrash metal, and is rightfully considered a slightly overlooked classic of European heavy metal.
Persecution Mania breaks little new ground for metal in general, but it is a big step from the dirty black metal Sodom was previously known for playing. Here, Sodom begins to write pure, unadulterated thrash metal, with stellar results. Each song moves along at a fast tempo, usually utilizing tremolo-based riffs interchanging with those of a more stuttering, jagged nature. The riffs are heavily accented by the album’s sharp, vicious guitar tone; the general production is a massive improvement from both two previous LPs. Not only does the guitar have much more power over the listener, but Tom Angelripper’s bass comes out clear, heavy and glassy, all at the same time, while his vocals are placed perfectly in the production’s sonic figure: clear and audible, but not overpowering any of the instruments. Chris Witchhunter’s pulls out his most solid drum performance yet, managing to sound neither sloppy nor untrained (as he did on all previous releases). Witness the drum intro to the simple and catchy track “Conjuration” as a perfect demonstration of his newly honed skills. Combined with the awesome and unique tone of his drums, one can see why Witchhunter’s death in 2008 was rightfully mourned.
But the true apex of Persecution Mania is the newest additions to the songwriting process: Blackfire’s stellar guitar solos and thrash breaks. Few bands have mastered the art of slowing to half-time in the midst of speed metal madness to the level Sodom has. Songs like “Electrocution,” “Bombenhagel” and the crippling opener “Nuclear Winter” feature monster midpaced riffs that accentuate the “ready, set, MOSH” structure of thrash metal to the status of fine art. Just listen to the thrash break at 1:35 of “Nuclear Winter,” and hear how the riff introduces the perfect headbanging tempo, then gaining a bit of speed as the riff subtly progresses into a slightly different one, and then the song regains its original faster-than-Satan speed. After another set of slower, crunchy moments that follow, we are introduced to Blackfire’s first true guitar solo of the album, and by God this man is a 100% classic heavy metal facemelter. Gone are the days of rather worthless, warbled, Slayer-esque cat-in-a-blender guitar solos, and in are lightning fast, yet magically precise neck-scaling acrobatics of Frankie. Each solo manages to be exciting and excessive in the way loud and proud metal should be, yet somehow restrained and controlled enough to avoid irritating the listener. Blackfire would remain for the following Sodom album, the rightfully acclaimed Agent Orange, before a brief stint with fellow German thrash metal compatriots Kreator, on their melodic yet overwhelmingly powerful album Coma of Souls. As the 90’s went on, the man more or less disappeared from the music scene, so his excellent accomplishments on these three albums are not taken lightly.
Songwise, Persecution Mania doesn’t really differentiate from track to track, although with repeated listens, each song can be easily recognized from the next. The description of “Nuclear Winter” can apply to the majority of songs on here: fast tremolo riffs, fast verses with fast, ferocious vocals, very overt thrash break, fast solos, perhaps another thrash break, more fast solos, more fast verses, and then the songs ends. Yet this album is not dragged down due to unoriginality or “over-consistency,” because the simple formula works so well in the first place. It doesn’t matter if they more or less wrote the same song some odd five or six times, because that one song fucking rules. If it ain’t broke, don’t fix it. But then again, there are some more notable and unique moments on the album. “Enchanted Land” has a particularly morbid and evil sounding break at 1:08, which is used to full effect until Blackfire adds a gallop to the riff, cementing it as one of the most memorable parts of the album. “Conjuration” and “Iron Fist” are short and simple speed metal songs, which is to be expected, considering the latter is a (rather excellent) Motorhead cover. “Procession to Golgatha” is a short, doomy two-minute interlude with loads of atmosphere due to some sparse keyboard work and Blackfire’s shrill, tense leads. The following “Christ Passion” is one of my personal favorite picks of the album, because it opens with slow, simple, yet intense riffage, shortly followed by, you guessed it, fast verses and a thrash break that could stop the world from turning.
With their second studio album, Tom Angelripper and pals released a magnificent example of how thrash metal should be played: with riffs, solos, more riffs, attitude, and goddamnit, more riffs. Every song on Persecution Mania is enjoyable in some way, from the catchy and effective title track to the epic yet concise album closer “Bombenhagel,” which wins Blackfire even more brownie points for playing the German national anthem “Das Deutschlandlies” as the last guitar solo of the album. Most rereleases of the album feature a rerecorded version of the early Sodom classic “Outbreak of Evil,” as well as all three tracks from the excellent EP Expurse of Sodomy. These extra four songs, all recorded in the same fashion and with the same production as Persecution Mania, only add the charm of the original release, and add even more incentive to own the album. Oh, and rather arbitrarily, the album artwork totally rules as well; a shirt featuring that cover would sell like hotcakes!
"Make us die slowy, Nuclear winter, Clouds of dust will hide the sun forever, celebrate Nuclear winter". How can you not be hooked when first listening to "Nuclear winter"? From the ever-recognizable bass intro to the furious verse riff, the catchy as radiations chorus, the two solos or the crushing mid-paced moments, Sodom don't wait long to show off their stellar songwriting in their newly refined thrash sound. Imagine experiencing your very first Sodom (and thrash) song with "Nuclear winter", because it was really a particular experience hearing this killer classic as an appetizer, it was nothing else than love at first sight; I was sold to Sodom and even more when I got my hands on "Persecution Mania" - hell, only the cover and back cover gave me shivers.
It's the first appearance of Knarrenheinz on a Sodom cover. I'm not sure if the cross behind him has some significance, but at the back there are what seem to be buildings with dense smoke all around, I think it was inspired by "Nuclear Winter". Still, it's a badass cover and represents pretty well the overall atmosphere of the album; it's dark and tense.
Let's get this straight, Persecution Mania is a thrash classic and one that if any avowed thrash fan doesn't already own should run to the nearest nuclear shelter. It's that good, as mentionned earlier the songwriting is elaborate, not your typical one-dimensional, A to B thrash album; if there's no real evolution like in "Nuclear Winter" or those memorable breakdowns like in "Enchanted Land" and "Christ Passion", the songs are extremely well crafted and have THESE solos courtesy of shredder Frank Blackfire.
Speaking of members, besides Blackfire's headbang inducing and moody riffs, and memorable solos, commander Tom Angelripper and skinsmen Chris Withhunter (RIP) are as worthy of mention. Angelripper's menacing snarl is recognizable from viet jungles and with his big german accent, besides being more badass, fits appropriately the war and religion theme expressed throughout the album. You notice his bass from the get go in the opener's intro and realize he's not giving an ordinary performance where the bassist is playing the same riff as the rhythm guitar and being drowned by the latter. Witchhunter's performance isn't the best or tightest in thrash but has this particular style and attitude that constitute a solid backbone for the cause. They all contribute to make that thick, tense and unsettling atmosphere that again compliments really well the lyrics.
"Persecution Mania" is a varied and elaboratted piece of art which contains no filler and has a good progression from the beginning to the end. Starting with the thrash anthem "Nucleat Winter", it breaks into the short and fast "Electrocution". I really got to love this song after a couple of listens as it was a little too much straightforward and chaotic at first but soon became an important part of the album to me. Then comes the oddity "Iron Fist", a MotÃ¶rhead cover as the third track. This one too took me some time to appreciate as it's a cover and is placed at the beginning of the record. I tought it broke the flow though I understood its relevance as MotÃ¶rhead is one of their main influences. The performance is great, they managed to appropriate themselves the song to be an integral part of the album. Follows the title track - this is what I meant by unsettling. It has its share of tremolo riffs which really helps building the atmosphere to the very end, as the lyrics about the Vietnam War. And with Tom's voice more menacing than ever; "Something fierce, Something evil, Circles in the air".
"Enchanted Land" is repetitive for the most part but when it slows down and the mid-paced section starts, you know it's one of Persecution Mania's highlight moments. And the follower, "Procession to Golgatha" really compliments it, it's a slow, moody and atmospheric instrumental. It's only building for the past 6 minutes mark "Christ Passion", another high point of the album - as if there was any low point - which again showcase Tom's excellent use of his bass guitar. "Conjuration" is a reworked version of "Satan's Conjuration" from the Victims of Death demo in which their Venom/MotÃ¶rhead influence is more prominent, it's more rockish. And then the mighty closer, "Bombenhagel", the first of 3 punkish Sodom classic and finishes with the German anthem played with guitars.
Persecution Mania is Sodom first album of full-fledged thrash, and so without any half measures. It's not anything groundbreaking but they have their own style and play it masterfully. Here they really found their sound with their lyrical theme around war. To me this album constitute the first part of their, I dare to say, "classic trilogy", the other two being Agent Orange and Better Off Dead. They all talk about war, have a more or less similar sound, have a punkish standout (Bombenhagel, Ausbeboumbt and Stalinhorgel) and of course the first three albums to feature Knarrenheinz on the cover, So after this one comes their milestone Agent Orange which continues in the same vein but is less moody and talks about war in a more direct way.
This is the album where Sodom REALLY got their shit together. What we have here is just about all-out thrash mania! From the opening riff of the mighty "Nuclear Winter" to the ending of "Bombenhagel," this album is full-blown thrash and leaves little room for you to catch up.
Right, Persecution Mania features the 'classic' line-up of Angelripper, Blackfire and Witchhunter. Blackfire, who would later join Kreator, has some very fine leads here and his riffing is damn near impeccable. I mean just listen to "Nuclear Winter!" That, my friends, is pure German thrash! But wait, there's more! "Nuclear Winter" also has an absolutely monstrous thrash break that you can't listen to without banging your head to it. Blackfire's solo in this one is absolutely delicious, plus one of the licks in the solo is used again on "Agent Orange." A+ Angelripper and pals, A bloody +!
The production here is also much better than Obsessed by Cruelty (MUCH better if you have the CD edition.) The guitar tone is much better than the one in Obsessed by Cruelty. The drums are mixed just right and the snare doesn't have that annoying echo anymore. Best part? You can listen to Angelripper's BASS! Yessirs, and he can actually PLAY bass although he's not the best bassist in the world, he gets points for trying.
The actual songs are great, only one absolutely useless track here ("Procession to Golgotha".) Sodom also covered Motorhead's "Iron Fist," and it's a very good cover at that. The highlights on this album are the aforementioned "Nuclear Winter," "Persecution Mania" and "BOMBENHAGEL!!!" The last one has Sodom unleashing their inner patriot with that "Das Lied der Deutschen" end solo. "Electrocution" and "Christ Passion" are quite good, though not spectacular. "Conjuration" and "Enchanted Land" may be the low points of the album but they're passable.
The CD version comes with the re-recorded "Outbreak of Evil" from their In the Sign of Evil debut EP as well as the full Expurse of Sodomy EP for good measure.
Should you get it? Yep, this marks the true start of perhaps the most rewarding German thrash band.
With this new album, finally Sodom find their definitive dimension that is all about thrash metal. The black/death influences now are far less present and rooted in their always primordial and violent sound. Everything now sounds really German in style and attitude, contributing in spreading this kind of thrash metal around the world. The production is easily the best Sodom ever had in all those years because it’s pounding and massive, more or less like the one on the following Agent Orange.
Persecution Mania marks the definitive maturity of a band that made the sheer frontal assault the best weapon to conquer the throne as one of the most famous thrash metal band worldwide. Tom’s vocals remain the most extreme thing here I believe, because they’re always so brutal and nasty with that smoker-whisky addicted tonality. The guitars patterns are more or less like the ones we found in the previous EP Expurse Of Sodom, but far better recorded with a crunchy and quite heavy sound.
The first track is huge in impact and violence and it’s called “Nuclear Winter”. The up tempo are perfectly mixed with the new technique that the group possesses in thrash metal, filling it with slow parts and fast restarts. The bass sound is terribly raspy and pounding. The following “Electrocution” is fucking fast while the Motorhead cover “Iron Fist” is so good and similar to the original…even the solos are perfect! This is one of the best homage to the roots that I’ve ever heard by a band. The title track is famous for the pure destruction feeling it has in the vicious riffage made of open chords and tremolo picking supported by always fast drums.
If you really want to experience the guitars tone power on this CD listen to the massive “Enchanted Land” where you can find a perfect mix of fast palm muting riffs or Godzilla style mid tempos. The main important thing anyway, are the fucking guitars. After a short intro, “Christ Passion” is another great song, that features galloping guitars riffs and a compact structure without being excessively fast during the first part, to continue on up tempo. “Conjuration” is punkish but nothing if compared to the last, awesome “Bombenhagel”. This song is pure thrash/punk hellish madness! The band is incredibly fast.
All in all, another confirm by a band that’s living the best period in their career. Now they had the maturity and the songwriting is a bit more complex, structured and accurate. Recommended to German thrash metal fans.
There are various reasons why I consider this to be – by far – the best Sodom album ever. First of all because it musically hovers between their earlier ‘evil’ style of thrash and their later well produced modern thrash. Still fast, still filthy but already with mature thrash metal compositions.
Opening track ‘Nuclear Winter’ simply is the best Sodom song ever written. This composition comes close to perfection. The threatening into riff emphasised by the supporting distorted bass guitar, followed by an up tempo verse and chorus and a eerie mid paced middle section. The dynamics presented here are mind blowing and the song never loses its tension.
Another thrashing highlight is ‘Christ Passion’ on which Angelripper sounds best with his raspy voice. Definitely a second place song. Also ‘Electrocution’, ‘Conjuration’ and ‘Persecution Mania’ are three thrashers worthy of mentioning individually. Strong, fast, catchy and filled with great riffs, breaks and lyrics. The Motorhead cover ‘Iron Fist’ isn’t bad actually and doesn’t feel odd when surrounded by all these thrashers.
Lastly, Persecution Mania introduced this new kind of punky-Motorheadish thrash song, the very simplistic but enjoyable ‘Bombenhagel’. They would later write similar songs on the next albums (Ausgebombt, Stalinorgel)
No, I like a lot of material Sodom wrote after this album but I never enjoyed any of their albums from start to finish as much as I did Persecution Mania.
Tom Angelripper may have worked in a coal mine but he struck gold with band Sodom!
After 3 crushing excursions in metal; In The Sign of Evil, Obsessed by Cruelty and Expurse of Sodomy (just prior to EoS guitarist Frank Blackfire would join the band and have a huge impact on their sound) the children of the 80’s were exposed to Sodom’s grandest work, a blackened thrash metal masterpiece called Persecution Mania. Riffs that methodically worked their way into a thrashing frenzy - each song accompanied with chugging, fist banging interludes guaranteed to drive the crowd wild plus chaotic guitar solos that retained their melody and structure.
While blasphemy was no longer the main agenda, a dark, meancing atmosphere still pervaded the overall feeling of PM and received full license to roam on the classic Procession to Golgotha – full of doom and despair, carving a black path into the track Christ Passion. I don’t intend on going into full details about each particular song; each contains something that will keep you coming back for more. Thus PM is the center-piece of perfection for Sodom; tight, relentless, manic thrash yet full of catchy breaks, thunderous drums and spiteful vocal deliveries. Enchanted Lands is a great example of the infectious nature of Sodom when Angelripper snarls in his gruff German accent “when the few who remain will battle to the last for the enchanted lands” you’re completely swept up in the moment of uncontrollable headbanging mania and beer is getting spilt! Sporting such gems as Nuclear Winter, Electrocution and the insane thrasher Bombenhagel it’s worth every cent. Included also is the brilliant Expurse of Sodomy (maxi), along with the track Outbreak of Evil. If you don’t own this already and love to bang your head, you better hunt it down now. Persecution Mania will possess your soul…
You can't get much krieger than Sodom. For fuck's sake, they sing about krieg (war) the whole time, how could they not be krieg. OK, enough of my silly little word games. This is the second album of German thrash legends, Sodom. They are sometimes labeled as black/thrash, but this is really straightforward thrash. It sounds a bit underdeveloped next to Agent Orange, but there's really not anything wrong with this one. The riff fest is here, the jawdropping breaks are here, Tom barks away with his awesome accent and the great lyrics are still here.
Songs are memorable, but mostly for verses and choruses - the riffs tend to be a bit simmilar to each other. The song structure is basically standard Sodom: fast intro riff, super fast verse part, then slow down to midtempo break, then chorus, a super fast solo and then the verse and chorus part again. And yeah, this record is a fucking pile of awesome thrash breaks. It's like: NUCLEAR WINTER!!! STOP! BREAK! BANG!
Since Sodom are kind of a evil thrash twin of Motörhead, and they are a three piece band, bass plays an important role here. It's like a second guitar, Tom even has that cool bass break on Bombenhagel. The guitars are satisfying, riffage is very good. Solos are fast and not really technical, but they do their job. God, I love Õnkel Tom's voice. Especially the accent. You can't have a German thrash band without the accent. Vocals themselves are also good, I wouldn't say that they're growly but they do sometimes slighty wander into that direction. Drumming is nicely executed, but there is really nothing new here.
The best songs on here are probably Nuclear Winter and Bombenhagel. Former starts off really fast and has a massive thrash break at around 1:30. The chorus is really memorable (well, even the biggest dumbass would remember to shout NUCLEAR WINTER by two listenings - not that that's a bad thing). Oh yeah, there's ANOTHER BREAK at around 3:15. Two breaks, ladies and gents. 2. Not to mention the one at 4:20, which isn't really a thrash break in the true meaning of the word.
Bombenhagel starts with a bass riff, simmilar to the one on Ausgebomt. The same riff also serves for a bass break at 1:30, 2:50 and somewhere around 4:00, I think. That was a great idea, Tom. The solo is somewhat fammiliar, but I can't remember why. I think it's the German anthem. Well, it doesn't really fit it, but it's funny.
Iron Fist, the Motörhead cover is nicely executed, but it has a simmilar effect that Ausgebomt on Agent Orange, it's a bit to ''happy'' for the mood of the album. Don't get me wrong, Ausgebomt is my favourite Sodom song and Iron Fist is great, but they don't fit in the mood. On the other hand, it's alway good to have some contrasts on the record. Other songs are all good, with Electrocution being ''the best of the rest'' and Procession To Golgatha being a filler.
However, I haven’t heard a lot of things that really stand out from this band. Perhaps it’s due to the fact that I’m not a hardcore thrash fan, but so far this is the only Sodom album I’ve been able to tolerate. My favorite track is probably “Nuclear Winter,” from everything I’ve heard on this album. Nuclear Winter is a nice solid track to start off a fairly solid album. I find that this is probably the best Sodom album I’ve heard so far (after hearing “Till Death Do Us Unite,” this is music to my ears).
The guitar riffs get very repetitive and annoying over time, almost so much that it gets overly consistent. On this album I do like the guitar tone (sounds a little like Sepultura) and the more consistent riff changes than on some of their other albums. Sodom also manages to have good intro guitar riffs on this album, much better and more interesting than I’ve previously heard. The speedy riffs are kind of catchy at times, but in some songs (Conjuration) they run kind of flat and become boring. The bass especially gets repetitive and offers little variation.
I think the germen accent is great and gives them a bit of diversity among other thrash bands, but not that much of a diversity advantage. The guitar intro to Christ Passion is my favorite one. It’s smooth, and flows into the song nice and easy, instead of just going crazy and shredding from the start. The drum intro in Conjuration interests me, followed by the guitars, but then the song just drags on and on with little riff change. Conjuration could have been a good song, but it was way too short and became dull after the first few minutes.
Persecution Mania isn’t a bad song either for most part. The variety on bass is a relief but again, the song is too short. Around the 1:30 mark the guitar riffs sound pretty cool with melody and tone variety, but it’s only bitter sweet...it doesn’t last long enough. Enchanted Land is nothing special; it sounds like the rest of the more repetitive songs on the album. I think the best part of Sodom are the solos; they have some of the best solos I‘ve heard recently.
The solos are fast, long, more original sounding than their main riffs and are excellent, but it doesn’t really save the songs that happen to go nowhere. They sound kind of like a Sepultura/Slayer combo, except to a lesser extent. So far, my opinion is that they’re a good band, they write good music, but they need something more that stands out about them and separates them from other thrash bands. They have the ability to be original, they just need to mobilize themselves to sound that way.
My second favorite Sodom album of all time. Persecution Mania is a piece of art. I guarantee you will headbang through the whole album. This album is probably the fastest metal album ever. Starting off with Nuclear Winter and ending with My Atonement, the album blazes.
The guitars on this album are superior to any thrash album. This is definitely speed/ thrash metal at its best. A lot of the songs sound the same, but one can easily pick apart different riffs in the songs. Sodom does a nice job of throwing around there song types. Like in Nuclear Winter and Elctrocution the songs have fast drumming and fast guitar riffs. Then Iron Fist is a rather slow song, at least compared to the first two. Then it picks up with the fast thrash songs; this process continues on through out the whole album.
The production is totally better than on Obsessed By Cruelty, so if you were turned off by Sodom's first album then you have to get this one. Vocals on this album rule, the switching style that Sodom usually has is present on this album. On the real fast songs the vocals are very growled like and almost death metalish. On the semi-fast songs the vocals are sung in a normal shouting voice. Great way to throw things up and change the pace from time to time.
Some songs that are awesome on this album are Nuclear Winter, Persecution Mania, Outbreak of Evil, etc. This whole album isn't really bad, there are no fillers, each song has its own greatness in one form or another. I recommend for all metal heads. Great way to get into Sodom too.
This is probably Sodom's second-best album - at times, it's very, very good, and at other times a bit more flat. Nonetheless, these guys are pretty much the masters of the monster thrash break, and they demonstrate that very nicely in a lot of songs.
The good: "Nuclear Winter". This song absolutely shreds. It's got about 28 riffs in it, and 5 major time changes. Nice and developed, and the break to half-speed in the middle is very nicely done. Also, "Bombenhagel" has a great break in it, as does "Electrocution", and "Persecution Mania" is very nice and "Iron Fist" is a cool Motorhead cover - not outdoing the original (you can't outdo Motorhead, by definition), but coming fucken damn close. YOU KNOW ME!
"Christ Passion" also has some great riffage in it, though it's a bit too repetitive at times. That is what plagues this album occasionally - it's just a bit too self-similar and repetitive. For example, "Enchanted Land" (except for the middle part) and "Conjuration" really do nothing for me.
Oh yes, the guitar tone is great, and the German accent just fucking owns. Recommended.