EP Review: Sodom – 1982
Reviewed by Gareth Pugh
Moving forward from their 40th Anniversary celebrations from last year, Sodom release this five track EP, which contains one newish song, three re-recorded demo tracks, it was originally released as part of the ‘40 Years at War - The Greatest Hell of Sodom’ boxset, but this is an expanded version that now includes a bonus track; ‘Equinox’ which was previously only available as a download exclusive, or on the cassette included in the boxset.
The opening title-track ‘1982’ (remixed from the original EP) is a nod to the band’s blackened thrash metal origins. Starting with menacing, slow open chord riffs before building up momentum into a thrash monster for the last minute or so. While lyrically it’s a nostalgic look at the band origins back in the day. The three demo tracks are fascinating, these new takes, with a modern yet organic and brutally heavy production, are faithfully performed with no arrangement changes. It's just a clearer sound, which is both a blessing and a curse; firstly you can now hear everything that is being played, the originals (if you can track them down) were notoriously poor in sound quality, but in turn that means it highlights the fact that some of the songs themselves are pretty basic in both structure and technicality, but overall this is a captivating history lesson.
‘Witching Metal’, from the 1983 demo of the same name, is especially rudimentary, with minimal chords, primitive riffs and a messy arrangement, while ‘Victims of Death’, from the 1984 demo, is a bit more developed and has more melody and a simple yet catchy chorus, while ‘Let's Fight (in the Darkness of Hell)’ is fast and full of a punk like attitude and a compelling driving rhythm, the strongest track, and for me the most interesting, is ‘Equinox’, originally from 1986’s ‘Obsessed by Cruelty’, and although still quite unrefined, the riffs themselves are a bit more technical and the whole song is a bit more advanced songwriting wise.
Completing the retro feel of the release, the cover art by Sebastian Feld is a new take on those two original demo black and white pencil designs, with the axe wielding warrior from ‘Witching Metal’ and the suspended bodies from ‘Victim of Death’ and has resulted in a striking new cover. Production wise this has been expertly handled by drummer Toni Merkel, who has continued the excellent work from the ‘40-year retrospective’ and the ‘Genisis XIX’ albums. Overall, this is a great interim release, which will mostly be of interest to long term Sodom fans, before hopefully a new album next year, and a great retrospective memento. I do find it a bit of a tease though, with only five tracks, and I wonder how much replay value there actually is here? Personally, I’d love to see a release for a re-imagining of the complete demo tracks and the debut album, now that would be a real treat, but for the moment, this will have to do. Enjoy.