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The 5 Essential SODOM Albums

Source // sodomized.info

These teutonic terrors of thrash need no introduction and with 16 studio albums over an incredible 35+ year career to choose from, we had a hard time whittling ’em down to, what we believe to be, Sodom‘s 5 essential albums….

5. Genesis XIX (2020)

After a somewhat surprising lineup change from previous album Decision Day (2016) which saw the return of legendary axeman Frank Blackfire (Assassin, ex-Kreator), German thrash legends Sodom fired back with full force with their 16th album, the unhinged and ferociously feral Genesis XIX.

Genesis XIX was a revelation and one that built on the promise indicated by Sodom’s Partisan EP released back in 2018. The return of Blackfire had clearly reinvigorated the band and, in particular, Tom Angelripper’s vocals arguably never sounded better. The songwriting wasn’t too shabby either, with Sodom operating as a quartet for the first time in their history and clearly belying their 40 years in the business.

You could argue that they’d never sounded hungrier and the likes of classic blackened thrash cuts “Sodom & Gomorrah”, “Euthanasia” and “Glock ‘n’ Roll” evoked that special feeling found on early Sodom classics Obsessed By Cruelty (1986) and Persecution Mania (1987); proof that coming full circle was exactly what the most devout Sodom fan was hankering for!

4. M-16 (2001)

To call 2001’s M-16 a ‘comeback’ album would do Sodom‘s 90s output a disservice….and they really were one of the few thrash bands to keep fighting the good fight in the 90s, with their integrity mostly left intact (1997’s ‘Til Death Do Us Unite and 1999’s Code Red is some of the best thrash the late 90s had to offer)!

What M-16 was, was a return to form in the purest sense; a fully focused, napalm-hot excursion behind enemy lines which forgoes evolution in favour of a consistent battery. These songs steamrolled all in their path and from the militaristic drum roll opening of “Among The Weirdcong” to their ridiculously heavy (and just plain enjoyably ridiculous) version of “Surfin’ Bird”, Sodom weren’t just firing on all cylinders; they were a weapons-grade assault on the senses!

While hardly groundbreaking, M-16 was thrashy, groovy and overflowing with catchy thrash anthems – what’s not to like?!

3. Tapping The Vein (1992)

You can imagine the band practice conversation back in the early 90s….”Hey, death metal’s doing well” says Tom Angelripper, “shall we have a go at it?!”….well, have a good go at it they most certainly did….and it was a triumph!

As far as adapting to changing trends goes, Sodom‘s fifth studio album was a resounding success. Here was a band that had heavily contributed to death metal as it bloomed in the late 80s without ever fully committing to its untempered ferocity. Tapping The Vein would change all that. “Body Parts”, “Skinned Alive” and “One Step Over the Line” remain one hell of an opening triumverate and are as pure a statement of intent and power as you could wish to find. And, save for a notable lack of overt blast beats, Tapping The Vein was as death metal as they come; jacked up, stacked up and as ferociously adept at stripping skin from bone as any of the death-thrash contemporaries.

Tapping The Vein found Sodom at arguably their heaviest and their most experimental, and it would have been intriguing to have heard where they took their death metal sound next if they hadn’t, as history tells us, ditched the extremity for the crossover thrash found on 1994’s disappointing Get What You Deserve.

2. Persecution Mania (1987)

Sodom – Persecution Mania (1987, Vinyl) - Discogs

Sodom‘s second full length album marked a notably drastic change of sound from the clattering black metal of 1986’s Obsessed By Cruelty, to the kind of thrash metal that continues to define Sodom’s persona some 35+ years later.

Opening with the vicious “Nuclear Winter”, Persecution Mania instantly set out its stall as Tom Angelripper (vocals and bass), Frank Blackfire (guitars) and Witchhunter (drums) looked to political, social and war themes for inspiration. This would become a consistent motif as time went on but was arguably perfected at the first time of asking with “Electrocution”, the title track itself and, particularly, “Bombenhagal” delivering the goods as Sodom went about delivering the tightest, meanest, leanest, collection of songs in their career.

However, for all the plaudits and notable progression in maturity, Persecution Mania would be considered Sodom’s greatest achievement if it weren’t for the arrival of the outstanding Agent Orange just 2 years later…..

1. Agent Orange (1989)

Album Agent Orange, Sodom | Qobuz: download and streaming in high quality

Bidding a fond farewell to the knuckle-dragging sound of their Obsessed By Cruelty debut and harnessing the considerable progress made on Persecution ManiaSodom tickled the fancy of the mainstream with their 3rd album, Agent Orange; and the world stood up and took notice.

Think of a superlative and it applies to this album; originality, quality, intensity, variety and technicality all ring true. Still capable of thrashing up a storm it was on the mid-paced chug of “Remember The Fallen” and “Magic Dragon” where Sodom’s monumental progress took form. Revelling in a confidence that allowed Agent Orange’s compositions to breathe, their less is more approach reaped endless rewards with thrillingly expansive dynamics well and truly achieved.

As deadly effective as the title would suggest, Agent Orange stood out in what was (obviously) a banner year for thrash. After all, to hold your own against the might of Sepultura’s Beneath The Remains (1989) and Kreator’s Extreme Aggression (1989), amongst many others, takes some doing….but Sodom proved more than worthy of the challenge on this, their greatest ever album!

Sodom discography:

Obsessed By Cruelty (1986) / Persecution Mania (1987) / Agent Orange (1989) / Better Off Dead (1990) / Tapping The Vein (1992) / Get What You Deserve (1994) / Masquerade in Blood (1995) / ‘Til Death Do Us Unite (1997) / Code Red (1999) / M-16 (2001) / Sodom (2006) / The Final Sign of Evil (2007) / In War and Pieces (2010) / Epitome of Torture (2013) / Decision Day (2016) / Genesis XIX (2020)

Also in this Series:

The 5 Essential ANTHRAX Albums


The 5 Essential HELLOWEEN Albums

The 5 Essential MEGADETH Albums

The 5 Essential OVERKILL Albums

The 5 Essential PESTILENCE Albums

The 5 Essential PROTECTOR Albums

The 5 Essential SAXON Albums

The 5 Essential SLAYER Albums

The 5 Essential TESTAMENT Albums

The 5 Essential TANKARD Albums

About Chris Jennings (1978 Articles)
I love metal. Always have. Always will. As editor of Worship Metal - a site dedicated to being as positive about metal and its myriad of sub-genres as possible - my aim is to 'worship' metal through honest reviews, current news and a wide variety of features; offering the same exposure to underground bands as we do to mainstream/well known acts. Our mantra; the bands are partners and we exist to serve the bands \m/

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