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Sodom's No. 2 - 90%

Oliver731, April 13th, 2019
Written based on this version: 1987, CD, Steamhammer

This is the first LP of Sodom with the (at the time) new lead guitar player, Frank Blackfire. This created an entire universe of difference, compared to the previous LP of Sodom. This is hard to believe that this very album came out just one year (!) after Obsessed By Cruelty, under the same name, by mostly the same band. I'm very happy for the fact that Angelripper and Witchhunter just let Blackfire make major changes in the music and cause the band to develop a new, different style from the early-Sodom. That new style was surely more musically mature and intelligent than their previous releases. The difference between this and the previous 2 releases of Sodom is like being on earth and being on the top of the sky. That's how big the difference is lyrically, production-wise and in terms of overall musicianship as well.

There are a good couple of highlights on the record, the album isn't lacking of good riffs, great choruses, and aggressive vocals. The single biggest hit on this album is obviously the infamous "Nuclear Winter", which is the definition of perfection. I do not know what the hell happened to Sodom when they wrote that song, but that came out as good as it can get. That riff that comes in when they speed up in the middle of the song is the single heaviest thrash metal riff I've ever heard in my entire life. Absolutely brutal, I have no idea how Blackfire figured that one out. It's hard to explain how heavy that part is, it's like an atomic bomb just hit the ground. Other than that song, the re-recorded and somewhat re-written "Outbreak Of Evil" features a very dark atmosphere and it can surely be mentioned as one of the best Sodom songs. "Christ Passion" has some great riffs and due to the varying paces throughout the entire song, it's very enjoyable.

Unlike the previous two Sodom releases, on Persecution Mania, for the first time in Sodom's existence, the musicianship is definitely worth mentioning. Frank took the guitar playing onto a whole another level. The entire picture that came to mind when you heard the word "Sodom" was something different after than before Persecution Mania. This album features a shitload of killer solos, riffs, etc. The solo on "Persecution Mania" is one of the most underrated solos in my opinion. Much, much, by far better than some of the most famous thrash bands at that time. No matter if you look at melody, technicality, brutality, speed, it's going to be up there. Also, "Outbreak Of Evil" features some of the most evil and dark riffings. The notes themselves sound evil and dark by nature, they're absolutely beautiful. This album is very very impressive, considering the fact that there was one guitar player. Tom Angelripper's vocals are extremely good, very aggressive, dark, evil, everything that's needed. There is no reason not to like his vocals, really. Unless you don't like heavy thrash metal. Witchhunter's drumming is there almost perfectly for the first time in Sodom's discography, you can't really bring up any reasonable arguments against his drumming. He just cannot restrict himself with his fills, but I won't take off points for that, I'll accept this album this way. All three musicians are on point and the produced an album that's better than a LOT of records produced by 4 or 5-member bands.

I always mention Sodom as an example when I'm talking about great lyricism. This is the very first album of theirs that featured a lot of meaningful lyrics, with a great use of I guess we can say "academic" language, at least compared to In The Sign Of Evil, that's for sure. The aforementioned "Nuclear Winter" features some of the best lyricism EVER, not only on this album. That's not exaggerated at all. If someone would come up to me and say "hey, thrash has no meaningful, deep lyrics and it's just a bunch of yelling and screaming", Nuclear Winter would be the first one I would pull up and show him. The lyrics are very accurate, and most of the time like on Nuclear Winter, Christ Passion, they are factual. Sodom seems to have found the perfect balance between the thoughts and the facts, because "Outbreak Of Evil" is a postulated song, with an evil atmosphere, and the entire song is about thoughts. This is how an album's lyrics are perfect and perfectly complete, both facts and postulates included.

Let's talk about the production of Persecution Mania as well. I've heard a lot of people say that "oh my god, this production is the perfection itself", and I've heard just as many people say that "it would be so much better with an at least decent production". I would highly argue that this is the definition of perfect, but I don't think it's not even decent. It's somewhere between there. It's certainly their best so far, since the establishment of Sodom, but it's by far not as good as Agent Orange. The instruments tend to sound a little blurry, every single one of them. Oddly enough, this somehow adds onto the awesomeness of the album, this "noisiness" of the instruments, it just adds onto the "originality". So in terms of production, I think it satisfies most of the expectations. It's not blowing anyone's mind, it's not that clear and razor blade sharp, but it's certainly good enough not to bitch about it.

Persecution Mania is the transition of Sodom from black to thrash metal. It didn't take much time to make an almost perfectly executed thrash album. It was not the top gear yet, but it was an insane, huge improvement from the first 2 releases. It's the single biggest step that a band could possibly make towards the maturity and the very top level of musical intelligence. Two years later, they even topped this performance with their single best album Agent Orange, but not by a lot. Certainly not by as much as this topped Obsessed By Cruelty. It gets a 90%, since Agent gets a 100%. That perfectly demonstrates the difference between the 2 records. You have to listen to this album if you like thrash metal and haven't heard it already. If not Sodom's best, it's still one of the best albums to come out of Germany.