Sodom are a German Thrash Metal band formed in 1981 by bassist and lead vocalist Tom Angelripper who, along with Kreator, Destruction, and Tankard, would become the Trope Makers of the so-called "Teutonic thrash metal" sound and scene.
Tom was originally joined by drummer Rainer "Bloody Monster" Focke, Arius "Blasphemer", and Aggressor, and formed the band partly as a way to get out of working in the coal mines of his hometown. In the early days, their music was essentially a faster and more aggressive echo of their key influences, Motörhead and Venom, comprising one of the earliest and heaviest examples of thrash metal from its brew of Speed Metal and first-wave Black Metal.
Although they managed to land a deal with Steamhammer Records and record two releases, the In the Sign of Evil EP and Obsessed By Cruelty, they still didn't see much success outside of the underground and were written off by critics for their rather unimaginative Satanic image and lyrics despite their promising sound. It wasn't until guitarist Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik joined in 1987 and convinced Tom to do something different by exploring the political, societal, and war themes he was interested in instead that the band really took off.
With the release of Persecution Mania, Sodom became what they quintessentially would be and still are; a furious blackened, deathly take on extreme Thrash Metal with much of their imagery and lyrics based around the horrible, gruesome realities of war, and their influence still pervades the world of extreme metal today.
- Tom Angelripper - bass (1981present), vocals (1984present)
- Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik - lead guitar (19861989, 2018present)
- Yorck Segatz - rhythm guitar (2018present)
- Toni Merkel - drums (2020present)
- Obsessed by Cruelty (1986)
- Persecution Mania (1987)
- Agent Orange (1989)
- Better Off Dead (1990)
- Tapping the Vein (1992)
- Get What You Deserve (1994)
- Masquerade in Blood (1995)
- 'Til Death Do Us Unite (1997)
- Code Red (1999)
- M-16 (2001)
- Sodom (2006)
- The Final Sign of Evil (2007)
- In War and Pieces (2010)
- Epitome of Torture (2013)
- Decision Day (2016)
- Genesis XIX (2020)
Other notable releases:
- In the Sign of Evil (EP) (1984): First studio release, considered part of the first wave of Black Metal. The entire EP is now included as bonus tracks on CD issues of Obsessed by Cruelty.
- Expurse of Sodomy (EP) (1987): Debut of Frank Blackfire on lead guitar, marked Sodom's transition to Teutonic thrash. The three songs from this (as well as a re-recorded "Outbreak of Evil") can now be found as bonus tracks on CD issues of Persecution Mania.
- The Saw is the Law (EP) (1991)
- 30 Years Sodomized: 1982-2012 (compilation) (2012): Compilation of previously-unreleased tracks and live recordings, as well as songs hand-picked by Tom Angelripper from throughout their discography.
- Demonized (compilation) (2017): A collection of Sodom's early demo tapes, limited to 500 copies.
Sodom provides examples of:
- Awesome McCoolname: Tom Angelripper.
- Black Metal: Their older material is pretty much First Wave mixed with Speed Metal.
- Concept Album: Agent Orange and M-16 are both concept albums about The Vietnam War
- Cool Guns: Knarrenheinz brandishes an M16 assault rifle on the album cover of Persecution Mania
- He carries a Dissipator variant of an M16 with an underslung grenade launcher on the cover of Agent Orange
- Cover Version: "Iron Fist" and "Ace Of Spades" by Motörhead, "Don't Walk Away" and "Turn Your Head Around" by Tank, "Cold Sweat" by Thin Lizzy, "Angel Dust" by Venom, "20000 Feet" by Saxon, "Surfin' Bird" by The Trashmen and the Live in der Zeche Carl VHS features a live cover of The Ramones' "Blitzkrieg Bop".
- Chainsaw Good: What Knarrenheinz has on his left arm on the artwork for Code Red.
- Death Metal: An Ur-Example; while they are primarily a thrash band, many death metal pioneers like Morbid Angel, Cannibal Corpse, and Deicide would draw heavily upon their sound. Later, they would even give the genre they helped invent a shot for Tapping The Vein, and to a lesser extent, Masquerade in Blood.
- Epic Rocking:
- "My Atonement", "Christ Passion" , "Agent Orange", "Magic Dragon" and "Capture the Flag" clock at around 6 minutes.
- "Reincarnation" almost hits the eight-minute mark.
- Horrible History Metal: Unsurprisingly, their lyrics often deal with the horrors of real-life wars, particularly the Vietnam War.
- I Am the Band: Tom Angelripper is the main songwriter and only constant member, and only founding member since 1984.
- I Love the Smell of X in the Morning: The song Napalm in the Morning begins with Colonel Kilgore of Apocalypse Now saying the famous quote.
- Lead Bassist: Tom is the first three types, being a highly skilled bassist as well as the vocalist, songwriter and only constant songwriter.
- Metal Band Mascot: Knarrenheinz, a soldier wearing a gas mask.
- Miniscule Rocking: Sometimes, mostly on Get What You Deserve - only four songs are longer than three minutes on that one.
- New Sound Album: Although Sodom is always rooted in Speed Metal and Thrash Metal, some of their albums (especially during The '90s) have toyed around with their overall sound.
- Expurse of Sodomy was their first full-on Thrash Metal release (as opposed to more Venom-like Black Metal).
- Better Off Dead added some elements of traditional metal and hard rock while still retaining the black and thrash foundation.
- Tapping the Vein was very Death Metal-influenced (namely with the downtuned guiars and Tom using even lower, growlier vocals), Sodom probably being the only massive influence to death metal that later actually tried out the genre they helped create.
- Get What You Deserve leaned very hard into the band's Hardcore Punk influences, essentially becoming Crossover Thrash.
- Masquerade in Blood was a bizarre fusion of their typical thrash metal and Motorhead-influenced substrate with Swedish death metal of the time a la Entombed.
- Revolving Door Band: Angelripper is the only constant member.
- Long-Runner Line-up: Though the Angelripper/Bernemann/Schottkowski lineup managed to last 13 years (from 1997 until 2010)
- The Remake: The Final Sign of Evil, though not in the usual "re-recording of classics" that were popular among classic thrash metal bands at the time. It is specifically designed to be Tom's proper vision for In The Sign of Evil, featuring several songs that were written for the album but unused, and even bringing together the original Sign of Evil lineup to record it.
- Rock Trio: Probably the most famous in thrash. Every lineup until the 2018 incarnation of the band was this, at which point they finally began to use two guitarists.
- Satan: Their main lyrical theme in their early days before Persecution Mania.
- Thrash Metal: One of the "Big Four" of the Teutonic thrash metal scene along with Kreator, Tankard, and Destruction.
- War Is Hell: Since Persecution Mania, they have mostly been War Is Hell: The Band.