Sodom - Persecution Mania
Thrash Metal
9 songs (35:41)
Release year: 1987
Sodom, Steamhammer/SPV
Reviewed by Ben
Archive review

Despite being part of Germany's "Big Three / Fo" or whatever Thrash scene, it seems that most of the bands that Sodom would influence would in fact be Black Metal bands. Sodom's first two releases are practically up there with the first couple of Bathory albums. When they decided to pursue the direction that they took with Persecution Mania, Sodom morphed into a sort of tight, almost technical thrash band, with lots of punk d beat and extreme blast beat type of drums throughout, and lots and lots of Motorhead worship. From here on out they were pretty much prime examples of some of the most intense and brutal thrash out there.

Much of the reason why Sodom went full thrash on this album is attributed to then (and current) guitarist, Frank Blackfire. The band was still relatively primitive, yet they had just enough skill to push themselves to the brink of their abilities. Since this is a power trio, I'm assuming that both Tom and Frank integrated each other's ideas in a collaborative manner during the songwriting. Like, Frank shows Tom a riff idea and Tom realizes what he (Frank) is capable of so he begins to formulate more realized ideas and how to achieve them. While this is pure guessery on my end, the fact that Frank has been brought back into the band as of this review sort of helps my point out.

Wasting no time at all, Persecution Mania kicks off with the speedy, boner unfurled power of Nuclear Winter. I should point out here that this, the middle track Christ Passion and closer Bombenhagel are the only songs that are around five minutes and longer. Everything else is a rapid fire four or less minutes. This helps to keep things rather concise but having the long songs evenly spaced out provides a balance. Two fast numbers are next, the war crime / torture tribute Electrocution and a cover of Motorhead's Iron Fist. Quick, fast, and at three minutes, Electrocution provides an atmosphere of increasing anxiety and distress that is well matched by the grotesque lyrics. Iron Fist actually breaks up the mood a bit and while it isn't happier sounding by any stretch, it is decidedly less evil and more street punk rebellious in nature. The evil setting returns though with the title track. This carries over all the way to the centerpiece, Procession To Golgotha a spooky intro song, and the "epic" Christ Passion. The quotes aren't sarcastic air quotes! It's just had to call a song that's only six minutes an epic but Christ Passion would count in this case. It has many moods and different instrumental passages. There's mid tempo marching sections, raging fast parts, and then distorted vocals that are a treat live and an overall feeling of the first two releases and their black metal vibes. Frank also gives a scintillating tapping solo to ride us out. Persecution Mania then closes with one of the band's anthems, Bombenhagel. It's songs like this one where the punk influence of the band comes through. In some weird kind of brew, there's fast, almost blast beat drums, sloppy power chord slamming, and just simple and cool chord progressions. Then after this madness comes a midtempo stomp fest that has guitar solos thrown on top before repeating the process again. There's a feeling similar to the song Overkill by who else, Motorhead what, with the seemingly many false endings. Despite this clashing and contrasting of ideas sounding horrible on paper, this somehow comes out like a loaded baked potato and is a fine feast.

I feel sort of conflicted about the score on this review. Persecution Mania is definitely a classic in the band's discography. It's a bit more rawer and primal than the more commonly known classic Agent Orange and whichever one you prefer is up to you. However, taking a step back and looking at the thrash world in an overall and broader scope, Sodom haven't spawned many imitators or bands aping their style, so one can't call them the most influential thrash band out there. As mentioned before, most of the bands influenced by Sodom happen to be Black Metal. However! The discography of Sodom is one of the most consistent and strongest in thrash. In my mind they have no clunkers. And Persecution Mania is where this side of the band begins.

Killing Songs :
Nuclear Winter, Christ Passion, Persecution Mania, Bombenhagel, Enchanted Land
Ben quoted 80 / 100
Other albums by Sodom that we have reviewed:
Sodom - Get What You Deserve reviewed by Ben and quoted 73 / 100
Sodom - Bombenhagel reviewed by Ben and quoted no quote
Sodom - Tapping The Vein reviewed by Ben and quoted 90 / 100
Sodom - Sacred Warpath reviewed by Alex and quoted no quote
Sodom - Epitome of Torture reviewed by Alex and quoted 75 / 100
To see all 10 reviews click here
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