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Persecution Mania

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Album Review

Sodom's landmark Persecution Mania stands at the very crossroads of thrash and death metal. A virtual tour de force of blinding speed and blunt force, it is also arguably the best album of Sodom's checkered career. Recorded shortly after the arrival of guitarist extraordinaire Frank Blackfire, Persecution Mania took the group's fast-as-can-be, subtlety-free, roast-every-bridge approach to a whole new level of intensity and power. With their brazen ferocity and single-minded velocity, face-ripping moshers like "Nuclear Winter," "Outbreak of Evil," and the title track may have seemed a bit one-dimensional to older metal heads at the time (though these were accorded a fitting cover of Motörhead's seminal "Iron Fist"), but it played right into the hands of the genre's ever-growing contingent of younger, more extreme fans. Even at 13 tracks, the album is so deep that the absolute classic "Sodomy and Lust" only arrives at number 11 — now that is value for your buck. When combined with similarly audacious and controversial nuggets like "Christ Passion" and "Conjuration," there is little doubt that Persecution Mania would have made the P.M.R.C.'s most-wanted list had it been released a few years earlier. Curiously, much of the music captured here recalls the parallel advancements of fellow proto-deathsters Sepultura, with whom Sodom endured a nervously respectful relationship. So it is interesting to note how the Brazilians used these developments as a springboard to altogether greater achievements, while, for Sodom, this would be its finest hour. An interesting case study of both bands' divergent paths from thrash to death, to be sure, but one that should in no way detract from Sodom's and especially Persecution Mania's crucial contribution to this movement.


Formed: 1981 in Gelsenkirchen, Germany

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '80s, '90s, '00s, '10s

This German black metal band's early lineup consisted of Tom Angelripper (bass/vocals), Aggressor (guitar/vocals), and Chris "Witchhunter" Dudek (drums). They were heavily influenced by thrash/speed metal bands like Motörhead, Venom, and Mercyful Fate, exploring the darkest subject matter possible. Aggressor quit the group before its first full-length album was released and was succeeded in turn by Grave Violator, Destructor, and Blackfire. Mortal Way of Life, recorded on a European tour, was the...
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Persecution Mania, Sodom
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