In the Final Sign of Evil by Sodom
Release date : October 2007
Reviewed by Anthony Morgan
In 1984, a German group from Gelsenkirchen inked their first record deal. That band was Sodom, and that year they cut their inaugural EP In the Sign of Evil. Over the years, it went on to notch up global sales of over 150, 000 copies and became a milestone in the Thrash Metal genre. Devil's Game, the issuing label, didn't have much faith in the act following rough mixes of the first five recorded tracks. The production team concurred, and those fives songs comprised together made that initial EP. In 2007, SPV asked the original members if they had any unreleased tracks from that time. Guitarist Josef “Peppi” Dominic (Grave Violator) had a tape recorded in 1984 at the group's rehearsal room, laid down on an old ICC-Schaub Lorenz machine. Saying yes to SPV's query, the original trio of Thomas Such (Tom Angelripper, vocals), Josef Dominic (Grave Violator, guitars), and Chris Dudek (Witchhunter, drums) reconvened in the studio. All of the five original tracks have been re-recorded, and so had no less than seven tracks originating from that era or earlier. Together they formed the full length In the Final Sign of Evil, issued in October 2007.
As soon as the legendary Angelripper affirmly roars the opening line of “The Sin of Sodom” in that sharp, engaging way of his, it immediately transports you into a long mourned world which simply exists no longer. Sentiment may be clouding this judgment, though it's a genuine opinion which detractors would fail to find fault with. If you spun a Thrash Metal album cut during the eighties in your disc player, and then followed that up with a Thrash Metal album cut during recent years, you would notice the differences are astounding. In audio terms, what groups are dubbed Thrash nowadays widely differ to those dubbed Thrash back in the genre's heyday. Homicidal riffing erupts left, right and centre, boasting an extensive vault from which to draw upon. Instead of mustering a weak attempt at a pummeling tour de force, it takes that sharp blade and aims for the jugular vein. Taking no prisoners, the body count quickly rises (metaphorically speaking). Angelripper donates extremely accomplished vocal takes, even though they sound an age away from what modern vocalists adopt nowadays. The lyrics can actually be heard, despite the fact Angelripper lays down a few throaty screams in places. The gravelly, sandpaper vocals work, so the Sodom frontman gets a straight thumbs up twenty years later. In short, this album can be seen as a case of seasoned veterans teaching inexperienced youngsters a few valid lessons. Keen pupils would do no harm in giving this a spin, and scribbling down a few important notes.
The production is modest somewhat, and makes no valid attempts to assert itself. In fact, quite the opposite can be said. Some may lament the fact the fact the album doesn't make use of modern production techniques, while others will embrace it with open arms. The truth of the matter though is that irrespective of production, a song's quality (or lack of) will inevitably shine through. In that regard, the album passes with flying colours. Also, those who mercilessly butcher the album's production sadly miss the point. The sole motive was to cut an album as it would have been shaped and defined back in 1984, and not to approach it with the various advantages which 2007 offers.
Had the record label Devil's Game given Sodom the opportunity to record a full length and not just a mere EP, this would have been that full length. It's an essential purchase for ardent admirers of the Thrash Metal genre, and the way history should have documented this period in Sodom's illustrious career. Trips down memory lane always elicit great joys, but not many can truly say they equal this. Listen to how Thrash was and should be penned, and not the way certain groups currently pedal it.