SODOM - The Final Sign Of Evil

Sodom - The Final Sign Of Evil

12 songs
49:51 minutes
***** **
Steamhammer / SPV


With more than twenty years of band history to call their own, Sodom are not only one of the oldest thrash metal bands still around, but also one of the most important ones. When they released their debut EP In The Sign Of Evil in 1984, they could claim to have released a groundbreaking piece of early thrash metal that influenced hordes of young aspiring metalheads. Even though the musical talents of the then very young three-piece were rather questionable, the test of time made this the best metal EP of all times, at least in my opinion. Twenty-three years later, Tom Angelripper reunited for a one-off with his original band members Grave Violator (who only performed on the first EP) and Witchhunter who is next to Venom’s Abaddon probably the shakiest drummer of all times.

Now re-titled The Final Sign Of Evil, this new album collects re-recorded versions of the five classics and seven songs that were written back then but never released due to label pressure. Apart that the seven unreleased tracks never even come close to the cult status of the original material, I somehow have my doubts that these tracks existed in the now published version before. First of all, they never faced up on the band’s two pre-EP demos, and second, if these songs would have been any good, why did they never make it to Oppressed By Cruelty, Sodom’s first full-length album that was released two years later?

The new recorded classics sound still great, the production may be a little more contemporary, but the band still plays as if they were stuck in the mid-Eighties, thanks to Witchhunter’s unsteady rhythms and Grave Violator’s punkish guitar chords. Sodom were the German answer to Venom before they redefined themselves as a more serious-minded band on Agent Orange in 1989. The Final Sign Of Evil is still a nice album, and whenever one of their great anthems (Blasphemer, Witching Metal, Burst Command ‘til War, Sepulchral Voice, Outbreak Of Evil) starts, I feel like being twenty years younger again, but let’s face it: Sodom’s debut would have never reached the cult status it has now, had there been those seven sometimes rather dull and sluggish songs to slow down the incredible energy of the five tracks that were finally taken for the debut. Ten points for the EP, but only seven well meaning ones for this re-release that is charming enough, if only for the short comeback of Angelripper’s obscure sidekicks, but certainly will never become a classic.

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