By around 1988, thrash metal had become a dominant enough force that we were starting to see an influx of EPs and live albums, and the Germans were no exception. First to the fore were Sodom with Mortal Way of Live, perhaps one of the better known thrash lives of its day due to the provocative cover art, which had everyone giggling in high school as they passed it around during lunch hour. I suppose it's no surprise that the cover finally features 'Sodom' itself as its subject material, a striking and humorous color spread that was censored on the CD release. Pay particular attention to the swinging, satisfied man on the left, one hand down the nearest harlot's shift, his tongue probing the rectum of a horrified black cat...priceless?
Fortunately, there was more to this album than just shock and awe for our parents and principals to discuss at the next PTA meetings. There was also a pretty good selection of music to piss them off. I can't promise that the recording quality is top notch, but for 1988 and a band who were only recently evolved from their punkish, raw infancy into the guys who wrote "Nuclear Winter", it's slightly more than acceptable. There are 13 tracks here, with a great selection from In the Sign of Evil, Obsessed by Cruelty, Persecution Mania, and even the Sodomy and Lust EP. All told, that's over an hour of music, and though a few of the selections are not my favorites, like the punk/rock "Bombenhagel" or the cover of "Iron Fist", it hits you where it counts with "Sodomy & Lust", "Enchanted Land", "Nuclear Winter" and "Christ Passion", all of which sound about as tight as they can for a three-piece.
You'll have to pardon the lack of rhythm guitar during the solos, etc, but the band certainly channel their vivacious bombast here into an incessant onslaught recorded throughout their Sodomania tour earlier in '88. I was more impressed by the sound here than I was for the Kreator Out of the Dark...Into the Light and Living Death Live EPs, fully functional and workmanlike without any real disappointment in the track selection. Perhaps a more apt comparison should be made towards Destruction's Live Without Sense, but then it really all comes down to personal preference. I enjoy that band's music more, and so I naturally would rather sit through that, but any Sodom maniac craving his or her chance to experience the band live in their formative, important years would certainly not feel too much of a sting in the wallet for acquiring this.
Verdict: Win [7/10]