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Sodom - The Final Sign Of Evil (2007, Steamhammer) - 90%

_MetalBrain_, July 14th, 2009

Sodom was always known for making brutal, blasphemic and anger-filled albums, some more, some less, but this has to be their most evil record ever.

"The final Sign of Evil" is basically Sodom's first album. The songs were written in 1984, but only five of them ("Outbreak of Evil", Sepulchral Voice", "Blasphemer", "Witching Metal" and "Burst Command 'til War") made it onto vinyl, because Devil's Game, their record label at the time, wouldn't give them the opportunity to record all twelve songs. However, here they are, in super high recording quality and with the original line-up from back then: Tom Angelripper: bass/vocals, Grave Violator: guitar and Chris Witchhunter: drums, a little extra and a fact that is very special (for me as a huge Sodom fan).

The album starts off with "The final Sign of Evil". After a short spoken intro, there's some sweet double bass drumming and a very cool guitar riff. The vocals are in the typical roaring Angelripper-voice and support the rawness of the songs.
"Blasphemer" is a song we already know from the 1984 EP, which is followed by "Bloody Corpse" (one of my favorites), "Witching Metal", another already known song and "Sons of Hell", a "new" previously unreleased song, that is nothing too special from the musical point of view. Track 6 is "Burst Command 'til War", and I must say it's awesome to hear it re-recorded in better sound quality.
"Where Angels Die" is a very dark and fast song; the chorus is killer!
"Sepulchral Voice" is the only re-recording of the 1984 songs that I don't like on this CD. The original version, in my opinion, sounds better all in all, but give it a listen and judge for yourself. Track number 9 is called "Hatred of the Gods" and delivers lyrics that remind of the "The Rebirth..." intro on "Obsessed by Cruelty".

"The soul that pines for eternity
Coming from the dark
Dweller of the twilight void
Ripping off my heart"

We then come to "Ashes to Ashes", another very dark but slower number with some speedier sections. This one leads into "Outbreak of Evil", by far Sodom's most-known song, recorded for the third time on a studio release. The riff is much more audible than on the 1984 version while retaining the intro that was lacking on the 1987 version. So this is my favorite version of the song, and also my favorite track on the album. The outro song of "The final Sign of Evil" is "Defloration". This is another killer song, and it's surprising it didn't find its way to an album earlier. The vocals are in Black-Metal-style mixed with the Angelripper style, the guitar riff blends in with the rhythm, short: it rules! This makes our journey through the album complete.

Conclusion: Worth buying. And more. This is a must-have for the old-school Sodom fan, and also for the Black Thrash fan. The album combines catchiness with forgotten songs, evilness and speed with atmosphere. It includes the original line-up from '84. It contains all five songs from the "In the Sign of Evil" EP plus seven "new" songs, of which many still don't sound dusty after all those years.
It also reveals that Sodom can still pull off the old, original sound, influenced first by Venom and Hellhammer. So my recommendation, after all: Get it!