Steamhammer / SPV
rating icon 7 / 10

Track listing:

01. 1982 (Remix)
02. Witching Metal
03. Victims Of Death
04. Let's Fight In The Darkness Of Hell
05. Equinox

There is no exaggeration in acknowledging that Teutonic thrash legends SODOM were seminal in the genesis of black, thrash and speed metal. Not to downplay VENOM's significance to black metal and in spite of the namesake of their second album and its title track, "Black Metal", which pre-dated SODOM's recorded material, there's a legitimate argument to be made that SODOM's initial demo offerings and especially its first EP, early 1985's "In the Sign of Evil", were the first proper black metal recordings.

In the spring of 1982, a trio of long-haired maniacs converged in a rehearsal room in a rugged industrial area in Essen, Stauderstra├če to be exact, to work tirelessly on their first demo, "Witching Metal". SODOM celebrated that early era with its savage and passionate song "1982", an anthem that drives with traditional heavy metal glory prior to a rabid thrashing finale, initially released last year. Now, alongside the re-recordings of four of the band's earliest songs, they return with the EP titled "1982".

Frontman Tom Angelripper, the only remaining original member, is accompanied by a lineup that has remained consistent for the last few years: rhythm guitarist Yorck Segatz, drummer Toni Merkel and lead guitarist Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik. This isn't entirely a lineup of fresh faces, however. Blackfire, who returned five years ago, was a core member during SODOM's late eighties era, providing integral and impressive work on the classic albums "Persecution Mania" (1987) and "Agent Orange" (1989). Going into the weeds here isn't trivial minutiae. SODOM isn't simply "Tom and some hired guns." Half of the band was involved with some of the most iconic albums in thrash metal history, and collectively, this is a very talented quartet.

The songs on "1982" impressively balance SODOM's seasoned musicianship with the requisite performance of such primal compositions, the bulk of which were written some four decades ago. The original recordings, dating back to their first demos through to the pivotal debut full-length "Obsessed by Cruelty", have an enduring charm that's relevant historically and magical even now when viewed through the prism of modernity. The doom-tinged intro of "Victims Of Death" dramatically sets up the mid-paced, bombastic assault that forms the bulk of the song. The malevolence of "Equinox", meanwhile, remains true to the original and sounds more powerful given updated production and a more skilled performance that doesn't eschew the rough and youthful spirit of the past.

"1982" is most certainly badass, while not being essential. With shows and upcoming tours in the works, it's great to see that SODOM are just as excited now as they were back in the early eighties. Considering that new material is also coming together, it seems likely that SODOM is going to be thrashing around for a good while longer.

Author: Jay H. Gorania
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