Tuesday, January 11, 2011

Sodom - Expurse of Sodomy EP (1987)

Something of a crude instrument of torture among a sharpening arsenal of updated tools, it would only be a matter of time before Sodom themselves partook in the evolutionary tactics of ravenous European thrash metal, and the Expurse of Sodomy EP marks that turning point. As vicious and tangible as anything they've issued in their career, it's comprised of three fairly remarkable tracks which still rank among their best, and it also heralds the incorporation of Frank Blackfire to the lineup, the band's third guitarist in three releases, and clearly the most impressive to that point, a blocky thrash and chugger with superior tone and skills in both the riffing and solos, the former lacking from Sodom's previously releases, which got by on their rugged, disgusting charisma over songwriting.

Expurse of Sodomy is basically the Sodom that I have always known and loved and looked forward to hearing more of, and it opens with a bang, almost literally: "Sodomy & Lust" features frenzied streams of delicious speed mutes, honed in with deadly accuracy, especially below its predictable but perfect chorus, wherein it becomes clear that even Tom's vocals have improved, or at the least are far less sloppy. "The Conqueror" functions with a similar forward thrust, the verse vocal patterns reminiscent of something you'd find on the first two Kreator records, the wild and unkempt solo here being particularly excellent, the guitar riffs slightly more epic and gladiatorial. "My Atonement" actually breaks the pace, beginning with a delightful acoustic guitar atmosphere, something you couldn't have expected before, and then building a mantra into a shit kicking mid-paced chugging rhythm. It's my least favorite of the three, but only by a slight margin, and it in no way drags down the effort.

The EP has been re-issued with the Persecution Mania by now, and that is the form in which many will digest its contents, but unlike many tack-on short players, Expurse of Sodomy still stands on its own, so much that if it was severed from that package, it would still be worth paying money for. Along Slayer's excellent Haunting the Chapel, this has to be one of the greatest triple threat trackers in all of thrash/speed metal, and the content is well produced and timeless. I've had a love/hate (okay, love/'meh') relationship through most of Sodom's career, never quite ranking them on the same level as Destruction and Kreator, even despite the low points those bands would often hit in the 90s, but as of 1987-89, the trio was easily on fire and worthy of their spot at the forefront of the German battalion.

Verdict: Win [8.75/10] (bath in sin)


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