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Victims of Death - 90%

Noctir, December 22nd, 2011

Victims of Death is the second demo tape from Sodom. It was self-released in early 1984, prior to the release of In the Sign of Evil. The quality of this cassette is fairly low, but the raw energy and hideous, old school black metal feeling is enough to make this worth the time to find. The line-up for this recording was Angelripper on vocals and bass, Aggressor on guitar and backing vocals and Witchhunter on drums.

The music on this demo is extremely raw and a little sloppy, but the aggression is evident and one cannot deny the dedication of this trio. For the most part, the music is fast-paced, though the title track feels like it drags quite a bit. This was certainly influenced by Venom and early Punk. Actually, the atmosphere is not too far from that of Bathory's debut album. Angelripper's vocals are somewhat harsh, though a human voice can still be heard. He definitely lacks the confidence of Cronos, but you can tell he is still developing his sound. Aggressor's guitar solos show an undeniable Slayer influence, sounding quite close to those found on Show No Mercy. It is too bad that he left the band after this, as it would have been interesting to hear his style of playing on the following records. Witchhunter's drumming maintains more of a punk feel, throughout the demo, moving things along at a decent pace. At times, this even seems to bear some resemblance to early Hellhammer, though possessing a darker feel.

The overall production of this demo is bloody horrible. Everything is muffled and the only time the guitar takes on a sharp tone is during the solos. Otherwise, it blends in with the bass, creating kind of a muddy sound. The drumming is barely audible, at times, and the vocals are pushed back too far. This may come off as nothing more than senseless noise, unless you really listen closely and focus. Despite that, it is still easy to see the beginnings of what would be vomited forth on In the Sign of Evil.

Perhaps, Victims of Death is an acquired taste, but it is worth the effort for those that appreciate the band's earlier output. The song "Witchhammer", alone, makes this essential listening. This is a filthy and ugly piece of early black metal history, and should be heard (at least once) by anyone into First Wave bands such as Venom, Bathory and Hellhammer.

Written for http://ritesoftheblackmoon.tripod.com

Now this is what I call raw intensity - 85%

BurntOffering, May 28th, 2005

Well, this is Sodom in 1984, and this demo was recorded not long before the "In the Sign of Evil" was released. Everything is very raw on this demo, but played with the sloppy intensity that only bands like Venom could achieve. A lot of these songs are only on this demo, and were probably trashed later on for very reasons, such as the song "Victims of Death", which is practically a distorted mess of a punk song for the first half, and then some how evolves to and NWOBHM riff, then back to punk. The guitar solos are like a less annoying Slayer whammy bar cat scratch type of solo. The bass is loud and distorted as hell. Now the vocals are very strange. Mr. Angelripper is one of those few guys that changes his vocal style a lot. He dosen't sound like he does on "In the Sign of Evil" or "Obsessed By Cruelty". He sounds like a pissed off punker kid, who listens to Venom. He will never sound like this ever again, the closest he would ever get to sounding like this would actually be on "Persecution Mania", and only from time to time. The real question though is "Is it any good?". If you like Venom, Onslaught or anything similiar, you'll eat this up. I wouldn't really call this thrash. It's like Blackened Punk Metal. There is no such thing, but that'll give you an idea.

Highlights - Everything. Not a bad one in the bunch, eveything is a winner and you'll probably wonder why they didn't keep some of these song's around.

Also the Witching Metal is a bit different in quality and a bit different than the one that appears on the EP. I think it's live, if you listen to it it's easy to tell and it totally rips!

Grab this if you can find it. It has a significant historical value, because band this extreme in 1984 were very few and far between. RECOMMENDED