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Pretty good as far as re-recorded comps go - 78%

TrooperEd, May 30th, 2018
Written based on this version: 2007, CD, Steamhammer

Well, here's something no one quite saw coming in 2007. A re-recording of what was supposed to be Sodom's proper debut in 1984. On top of that, we have the return of Witchhunter and Grave Violator after over a decade. That timespan is also the length those two have spent not playing their instruments. You'd think these ingredients would make The Final Sign of Evil an unmitigated disaster, but because of the nature of the material on In The Sign of Evil, it works to this package's strength. Despite their lack of practice, they still sound tighter than on that infamous EP. I'm surprised and not surprised, considering that release had some of the worst, most off-time drumming this side of Lars Ulrich.

Yet, I still prefer the EP. Not just because it's the original, but that sloppiness gave it a lot of charm, and as old school black metal, it worked. Does The Final Sign of Evil sound like 80s black metal? I guess. Blackened thrash, whatever you want to call it, I think it sits comfortably alongside Show No Mercy and Sentence of Death concerning the "sounds like black metal but not quite" collective.

My biggest complaint of this album is why the hell didn't they re-record the Obsessed By Cruelty songs? We're never going to get versions of those without that fucking snare drum drowning everything out are we? What's really frustrating is Tom didn't realize the opportunity he had here. While the Sign of Evil EP performances here are fine, they ultimately didn't need to be rerecorded, and they aren't the versions I'm going to reach for when I want to hear them. The Cruelty songs however, almost demanded to be rerecorded the second that album came out. Yes, I'm aware that the guitarist for that album died in the 90s, but so what? Record them anyway and dedicate the album as a tribute to him (speaking of tributes, this would unfortunately be Witchhunter's final recording before death. R.I.P.). Even if those two releases weren't recorded by the same lineup, I'd like to think most Sodom fans group them together. I almost want to take off points for this, but I enjoy the album so much that I'd rather not.

The highlight of the "new" songs is Ashes To Ashes, which begins with, and frequently returns to, page #666 in the book "How Not to Groove like a Retarded Monkey." The alternating between this and the speed thrash sections of the verses make for a great tension and release. Of the old songs, none of them quite top their counterparts, but Outbreak of Evil features a new demonic bass outro, and Burst Command Til War is a welcome jukebox/playlist staple no matter what year it's recorded in.

If you love Sodom, this is worth getting for the previously unreleased songs. There are seven here along with the Sign of Evil EP songs, so by 80s standards you are in fact buying an album of new material.