Out of all the Teutonic thrashers to emerge from Germany over the past 40+ years, perhaps the ones who have maintained the rawest edge are Sodom, the upstarts from Essen, who formed back in 1982. If, like me, an opportunity to spend a bit of time with one of the seminal German Thrash Metal bands is a joyous occasion, then you should enjoy this feisty five-track release.
Sodom – 1982 EP (Steamhammer / SPV)
Release Date: 10 November 2023
Words: Paul Hutchings
Steamhammer/SPV now commemorate those early steps when the first incarnation of Sodom stepped into a small rehearsal room in the industrial wasteland in the Altenessen district to record their filthy Witching Metal demo. The 1982 EP will be on vinyl and CD for the first time.
The title track opens proceedings. A nod to the influences of that year, 1982 recalls the band’s first steps as a fledgling band. It’s a raspy combination of Venom, Motörhead and Slayer. This is especially true when the second half of the track erupts into a frenzied tempo. This sees the song out of the door with a hostility that simply prickles with anger.
The legendary Witching Metal follows. It once more reminds you that Sodom’s rudimentary writing was often better than many of those around today. It’s a blistering, punk-tinged ball of flame which rampages like an out-of-control bull, smashing everything in its path with no restraint. Sure, it’s about as Venom-esque as you can get, but it shows the rawness that the band worked with.
Although these five songs have been recorded by the current Sodom line-up, Tom Angelripper (vocals, bass), guitarists Frank Blackfire and Yorck Segatz, as well as drummer Toni Merkel, the respect to the past is obvious.
No frills are added. Whilst the production may be a little crisper, it’s still a ride of chaos, of almost uncontrollable anarchy, perhaps sprinkled with a topping that gives it a little bit of finesse. Dive headfirst into the explosive Victims Of Death, and you will find Sodom giving it as much now as they did when they were less intimidating.
These are songs that have been rerecorded, giving a fresh quality that should excite old and new fans alike. Victims Of Death remains a right ropey crash along the ropes, with its blend of Black Metal and Thrash.
Angelripper is happy to bridge the past with the present. Only traditional instruments were used. “The guitars were recorded using Marshall amps and microphones,” he says “We didn’t use trigger signals for the drums.”
The final duo are equally punishing. Let’s Fight In The Darkness Of Hell couldn’t be any more of its time. Savagely raw, this would surely come with rusted barbed wire wrapped around it.
Similarly, the closing number Equinox is a fitting piledriver of a finish. This may be an EP for the hardened fan only, but it’s a fitting reminder of the band’s roots.
Angelripper is clear about it. “We see this EP as a little journey back in time to recapture the atmosphere of the early eighties,” he says. “For us, it’s about remembering those wild years. Back then, people hated bands like Motörhead or Venom. But we didn’t give a shit about their opinion. We wanted to shock and outrage.
“This EP proves that we’ve persevered and never betrayed our ideals.”