The Final Sign of Evil


Let’s be clear, the conceptualizing behind this album is fucking Warhol-level superior. The original lineup of seminal European deathly thrash warriors Sodam – that’s Tom Angelripper vocals/bass, Grave Violator guitars and Chris Witchhunter drums to you – decided to undertake a veritable triumvirate of awesomeness – (a) they reform in this original classic power trio lineup, (b) re-record (are you sitting down) their classic debut EP In The Sign of Evil but make it sound even grubbier, messier, more vomitous and fucked up than the first time around, and (c) append a whole bunch of bonus tracks to it, contemporaneous to the In the Sign… material, but inexplicably never released, thus making this the “lost” first Sodom album – in all its atavistic, vile glory.

Revisiting and reshaping old material to see how it has aged and what time has done to your interpretation of the raw songstuff – isn’t that what jazz guys do? Yes, and in this case, it’s very much what Sodom should do. They literally attack the songs with all the teenaged, sodden, Satan-worshipping brio of their misspent youth, but now with the conviction of age having proved them VERY MUCH FUCKING RIGHT in their mining of a sound that was something like a codeined Motorhead jamming out with a pilled-up Bathory, all wearing those cool leather jackets with the denim over them and the obscure Saint Vitus and Anvil (etc.) patches. Yep. “Witching Metal,” “Blasphemer,” “Outbreak of Evil” – goddamn it’s good to hear these seminal tracks again, kept simple and bludgeoning- the sound is a tinny mess, but in that good, low-fi metal way, with high end decisively beating low end. Angelripper’s vocals are in fine form, with that nice little European supervillain lilt to his otherwise raspy, fucked-up vocals and all the instruments seemingly engaged in a three-way race in different directions at once.

And if the intervening years have seen the band lose a step or two, well, surely the thought – and resultant sonic proof – of (three) dissolute gents growing old disgracefully and gleefully engaging in adolescent and ghoulishly wondrous racket is worth its weight in gold and very indicative of why (along with similar dins and clatters from the likes of Billy Childish and the Cramps) music is the noblest pursuit and perhaps only salvation for our misbegotten human race. You might as well throw away the Guitar Hero, kiddies, looks like your dad and your “loser” uncle are having more fun than you likely ever will.

This is a worthy gambit.


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