|Classic Review: Sodom - Persecution Mania|
Year released: 1987
Genre: Thrash Metal
Review online: May 25, 2004
Reviewed by: 4th Horseman
Sodom had membership within two very different triads during the eighties; firstly Sodom, along with bands like Hellhammer, and most notably Venom, played the earliest forms of black metal. The other triad was that of German thrashers along with Destruction and Kreator. "Persecution Mania" was where Sodom abandoned their satan worship and flairless musicianship and adopted the sound that they would be better known for.
This is Sodom in their most destructive, meanest, fastest and furious forms to date. The highlight of this album is clearly the maniacal guitar work. This is an extremely guitar oriented album; if there ever was one. It almost appears that this album was made purely for the guitar riffage and solos. The vocals seem to be done away with quickly so that the band can proceed on to show off their music. Sodom manage to squeeze in solos in virtually every little corner that there is room for. Top that off with blazing and light speed riffs and quick and low vocals. Do I need to mention again that "Persecution Mania" is extremely fast and aggressive; so Sherlock is not needed here to tell you that the drumming only follows suit with the guitars' speed.
Although the emphasis is clearly on guitar work, the vocals do play a role. As usual, since this is Sodom we are talking about, the lyrics are highly political, focusing on war, persecution, capital punishment and more war. There is also a bonus track on my copy titled "Outbreak of Evil" from Sodom's first EP in 1983; back when they apparently worshipped the devil.
It is difficult to highlight the best tracks because they are all great. However, the best riff/solo combinations (of which Sodom remain kings until today) are seen on tracks such as "Bombenhagel", "Enchanted Land" and "Persecution Mania". Other absolutely meaty and devastating cuts include "Nuclear Winter" and "Electrocution."
The album that the band is probably best known for – "Agent Orange" is pretty much an offshoot of this one, only that it was more refined and a little bit more accessible. Just a little. It would be safe to state that nearly half of this album consists of extreme, aggressive guitar riffing or solos without any vocal support. So yeah…this is not for everyone. "Persecution Mania" defined the sound of Sodom and this is where things really took off for the band. The madness of 'Sodomaniacs' began right here. An essential release for thrash fans and those who would enjoy early forms of black/death metal.
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