ormed in 1983 by Thomas Such (a.k.a. Angel Ripper; bass/vocals), Aggressor (guitar/vocals) and Chris "Witchhunter" Dudeck (drums; R.I.P. 2008 of liver failure), this thrash band modeled itself after the influences of Motorhead, Anvil and Venom to become one of a trio of German acts, including Destructor and Kreator, to pioneer the '80s German thrash metal scene upon the release of their debut 1985 EP In The Sign Of Evil. By this time Aggreessor was already on his way out, making room for the debut of Grave Violator (Real Name: Josef Dominik). Michael Wulf (a.k.a. Destructor; guitars; R.I.P. 1993 of a motorcycle accident) would also join to replace Dominik.
At first, Sodom was not taken seriously, with various press sources describing them as, "a second-rate Venom clone with semi-inventive lyrics". When the arrival of Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik came in to fill the guitar spot Wulf had left behind when he left to join Kreator, he had convinced Such that thrash metal was moving beyond horror, occult and satanic themes of bands like Venom to embrace political, societal, and war themes. The follow-up, Obsessed By Cruelty (1986) would debut this new direction
Persecution Mania (1987) demonstrated a marked improvement over their previous efforts. With its crisp and powerful feel it proved to be their best selling too, even if the lyrics lacked the same progression by keeping their dependence on subjects of the black arts, war and bloodletting. By this time they had become an influential German thrash metal act alongside Destructor and Kreator (although their resemblance was more like Venom and Hellhammer).
1988 would see Sodom tour Europe with Whiplash, and record the first ever double live thrash metal album, Mortal Way Of Life. 1989 would see them cash in on this accomplishment with a support slot on Sepultura's European tour, a tour that served well to support the follow-up album Agent Orange (1989). In 1990 Frank Blackfire left to join Kreator with Michael Hoffman replacing him shortly after their Ausgebombt (1990) single release. Better Off Dead (1991) and Tapping The Vein (1993) would follow later, the latter more influenced by death metal than their traditional Teutonic Thrash.
Tapping The Vein saw the departure of Dudeck on the drum stool, and Andy Brings taking up guitar. Aber Bitte Mit Sahne and Get What You Deserve followed in 1993 and 1994 respectively, with the latter featuring Atomic Steif (Real Name: Guido Richter) on drums. Marooned (1994) was another live effort that followed soon after, with Andy Brings leaving with it.
After Masquerade In Blood (1995), an album that saw the death metal influences return, as well as groove metal elements, however, Atomic Steif left. Another guitarist also had to be found as the new choice, Strahli, was not around long as he would soon after be arrested and imprisoned on drug-related matters; it wasn't until January 2011 that the band had discovered he had died in Düsseldorf sometime after. Mand many thought the band itself had up and quit, until the Ten Black Years "best of..." compilation emerged in 1996, with the follow-up Masquerade in Blood (1995) featuring Strahli (Real Name: Dirk Strahlmeier; guitars; R.I.P. 2011 of drug overdose), 'Til Death Do US Part (1997) and Code Red (1999) popping out soon after featuring the new settled line-up of Tom Angelripper (bass/vocals), Bernemann (Real Name: Bernd Kost; guitars/vocals (backing)), Konrad "Bobby" Schottkowski (drums/vocals (backing)).
'Til Death Do Us Unite (1997) featured a controversial cover, depicting a woman's pregnant belly on one side, and a man's beer gut on the other; the pair pressing in a human skull between them. This album marked the beginning of Sodom's return to thrash metal but was still more along the lines of a thrash-crossover sound and much in common with bands like Suicidal Tendencies. It also spawned the song for which Sodom would make their most remembered music video, the highly-controversial Fuck The Police". A limited edition version featured an extra bonus CD containing a tribute to Sodom album, Homage to the Gods.
On the next album, Sodom returned to the Teutonic thrash metal sound of the 1980s on Code Red (1999).
Taking its name from the M-16 assault rifle, M-16 (2001) would be a concept album about the movie Apocalypse Now.
In 2003, a double live album was recorded in Bangkok, Thailand, titled One Night in Bangkok followed in 2006 with a self-titled, in the same style as M-16.
Decision Day (2016) would feature Tom Angelripper (bass/vocals), Bernemann (guitars) and Makka (Real Name: Markus Freiwald; drums/percussion).
After In War and Pieces (2010), Schottkowski leave the band due to "personal and private problems" between himself and Angelripper. The Out of the Frontline Trench (2019) EP would see Tom Angelripper (bass/vocals), Frank Blackfire (guitars), Husky (drums) and Yorck Segatz (guitars) .
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The German thrash metal band Sodom at 25th Rockharz Open Air 2018 in Ballenstedt, Germany.
Photo by: Stefan Bollmann
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