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Armed to the teeth - 95%

Metal_Thrasher90, October 1st, 2013

This album made a difference from every other thrash record of that time. With this classic release, Sodom became, with all honours, 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 achieve success and recognition among the rich European underground metal scene, which by that time, was plenty of young promising bands. If they wanted to survive and compete with the big of the sub-genre, they should find their own sound, refusing to get stagnant in predictable cliches. That’s what they did!

The music of Sodom evolved and developed into something more elaborated, skillful and fresh, compared to their primitive sound of the legendary “In The Sign Of Evil” EP and their debut “Obsessed By Cruelty”. The significative changes in the now more difficult arrangements, lenghtier instrumental passages and more solid riffs provided their sound of greater consistency. The song-structures are not incredibly complex, each composition avoids to focus on technique excessively, but the huge improvement is notable. Sodom didn’t refuse to keep their characteristic aggression and violence, particularly Blackfire’s riffs and hooks are devastating and raw most of the time. Rough, straight and harsh guitar lines that reach splendor and catharsis in cuts like “Nuclear Winter” or “Conjuration”. Some of those riffs are basic and simple, other more elaborated, but luckily, they vary and progress during the tunes so there’s no absence of continuity. Angelripper and co. put more emphasis on breaks, rhythm changes, bridges, alternative riff series and instrumental parts than ever before. Everything is the result of a more prepared efficient song-writing process and practice. “Electrocution” or “Christ Passion” are the proof of Sodom’s bigger ambition and clear intentions to leave simplicity behind. They even attempted to increase the power and violence of these numbers by including faster loose tempos, which are defined immaculately by Witchhunter’s raging double bass-drum beatings. Speed is constant, an essential characteristic of their new sound that give us the chance to headbang and break our necks with hyperactive tracks like “Bombenhagel” or “Enchanted Land”. Frantic velocity, instrumental progression and huge killer riffing, that was the combination that couldn’t fail: The final result was a memorable masterpiece.

All songs are great, there’s no bad cut in the pack. On other hand, some are well-performed but featuring some clumsy moments. It’s not that these guys aren’t great musicians, it’s just that their skills are limited and humble sometimes, lacking some experience, precision and virtuosism that they would gain later. For instance, I can mention the weak pickin’ parts by Frank. The title-track solo, specially, is one of the sloppiest I ever heard. This guy likes to mess with his whammy-bar and pedal effects too much. The drum rolls of Chris sound out of tempo in the final cut, and Tom’s bass lines on “Iron Fist” are kinda chaotic compared to Lemmy’s originals. But apart from those few handicaps, this album offers and effective instrumental display during most of it. And the lyrics are more mature, another element that contributes to make Sodom’s intentions to forget the evil lyrical themes of the past come true and fine something more believable to talk about (war, politics, anti-religion). So music and words are fine, but what about production? I admit I was impressed with the very good sound of their debut (which was far from perfectly produced, much better than other mid-80’s thrash records, though), so I expected to find a similar decent sound engineering job in this release. Unfortunately, the production here is disastrous and totally weak. Guitars should sound stronger and more powerful than they are, even seem to fade away and get distant, unlistenable in the final mix when the whole group attack together. Bass sounds louder than the 6-string section at times, but not properly aggressive. Same about drums, which are complicated to notice, thanks to the incompetent volume balance between each instrument. Who knows what would have happened if this was correctily produced. Maybe peolpe would put on this amusing album the attention it deserves. And this wasn’t be the only terribly produced Sodom LP, sadly.

We got here a splendid thrash masterpiece, not perfect, unpolished, bad produced...But if you ignore the weak spots and focus on the memorable energy, attitude and passion of these 9 fierce tunes, then there’s no way you won’t enjoy them. With powerful stuff like this LP in their discography catalog, I still wonder why all recognition, credits and appreciation goes to much modern Sodom albums, that can’t hardly reach the glory and splendor of the good old times. I must insist on the big difference of popularity between the latest and earliest material of this band among the fans, it still shocks me! But anyway, for those who live in the past, for those old-school romantics that can’t find any pleasure on the modern dumb thrash of these uncertain times, here you got a treasure.

No persecution needed, the mania is understandable - 96%

slayrrr666, August 22nd, 2013

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.

In Favour Of Nuclear Musicianship - 90%

raujer_1987, March 30th, 2013

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.

Persecution Mania - 96%

Noctir, November 11th, 2011

As happened with several other bands, following the success of Slayer's overrated Reign in Blood, Sodom abandoned their Black Metal roots and centered their focus on pure thrash, while also cleaning their sound up a bit. Released in December 1987, Persecution Mania would go on to become a landmark record for Sodom, as well as the Teutonic thrash metal scene. As with Kreator, it would appear that the introduction of a new member was the key element that led to the change in direction.

From the opening moments of "Nuclear Winter", it is clear that the band is much more focused and the music has an added sense of lethality. While not as raw or primitive as In the Sign of Evil or Obsessed By Cruelty, this album still possesses a vicious streak that cannot be ignored. Rather than going for the more mainstream type of thrash that Kreator tried to attain on Terrible Certainty, Sodom retained a measure of brutality and forcefulness. One thing that helped this was the fact that Tom Angelripper's vocals are still evil and harsh, rather than going weak as Mille had done. The music is still intense, particularly around the middle, and the lead solos are a nice touch. Another important factor is that the atmosphere is still dark.

"Electrocution" utilizes blast beats, bestial vocals and barbaric riffs that bludgeon you and pound your skull to dust. Already, by the second track, it is clear that Sodom has improved upon what Slayer attempted to do with their third full-length. This one is rather straightforward and includes brief solos that add to the hellish feeling.

The next song is a cover of Motörhead's "Iron Fist", which fits in with the rest of the material, perfectly. The chorus is not as dark, of course, but that is the only real difference. Fast, intense and well-executed, this track suits the album well.

"Persecution Mania" starts out with a riff that sounds more oriented toward death metal, before launching into the thrash assault. The riffs are tight and precise, lacking any of the sloppiness found on the previous L.P. As the song continues, more death metal riffs are utilized and the blast beats help the overall atmosphere to resemble that of Death's Scream Bloody Gore. The lead solos are longer than many others on here, accentuating the evil feeling. The morbid whispers, at the end of the song, only further this dark vibe.

Bursting from the depths of Hell, "Enchanted Land" rushes forth in a manner reminiscent of early Slayer. After a minute or so, the speed decreases as mid-paced riffs are introduced. Still, the sinister aura is ever-present, with another blistering solo to help rip the flesh right off of your bones.

"Procession to Golgatha" is a mid-paced instrumental track with a very eerie and doom-ridden atmosphere. This song adds yet another layer of darkness to the album and Blackfire's solo-work kills anything that Jeff Hanneman or Kerry King did after 1985.

"Christ Passion" starts out with a filthy thrash riff, before transitioning to something almost reminiscent of the NWOBHM movement. This type of galloping riff is completely unexpected, yet fits in so well that one does not even think to question it. The next riff is faster and more intense, with the drums pounding a hole right through your chest. As the longest track on the album, this one seems to be the most epic and to feature the most complex arrangement. This one song displays good examples of all of the sort of techniques that are employed throughout this record, even including more mid-paced thrash riffs. The lead solo shows a lot of thought and skill, sounding a bit older than 1987.

A brief drum solo introduces "Conjuration", which allows the bass to breathe a bit more and is kind of reminiscent of Motörhead. The influence is pretty clear, as this fat-paced song storms the battlefield and hacks apart all those who oppose. One of the guitar solos has a different tone, which actually sounds interesting, though not as sharp.

"Bombenhagel" brings the album to its conclusion, with a mixture of high-speed and more traditional riffs. It is the most average track on the record and even this is far superior to what many other bands were doing at the time. The final moments see a transition to the German national anthem, which is a bit strange.

Persecution Mania is a great thrash metal album and comes highly recommended. Sodom manages to clean their sound up a bit, while still possessing a dark and evil feeling. This is something that was lost on the likes of Slayer, Kreator and Possessed. Unfortunately, even the mightiest of Teutonic thrash bands would go on to lose their focus and never matched this achievement. There is no excuse for any Metalhead to not own this album. If your collection is lacking this classic, go ahead and kill yourself.

Written for

By the nuclear sword of Damocles! - 88%

autothrall, January 13th, 2011

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.


Anal rape has never been so enjoyable - 86%

TheExodusAttack, January 18th, 2010

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!

Sodom classics Pt. 1 - 95%

Evil_Johnny_666, November 12th, 2008
Written based on this version: 1987, CD, Steamhammer (Europe)

"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 Motörhead 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 Motörhead 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/Motörhead 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.


Wra1th1s, June 6th, 2008

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.

Thrash Persecution - 89%

CHRISTI_NS_ANITY8, May 20th, 2008

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.

Fast, filthy, tense. Their best - 95%

morbert, September 10th, 2007

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.

Sodomy and... - 98%

Priest_of_Evil_666, September 29th, 2005

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…

Nice. - 84%

cyclone, April 8th, 2005

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.


Decent, but could have been better. - 64%

stickyshooZ, April 30th, 2004

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 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.

Sodom' s best - 93%

PowerMetalGuardian, April 26th, 2004

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.

Occasionally VERY memorable, decent overall - 77%

UltraBoris, August 8th, 2002

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.