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Sodom - In the Sign of Evil/Obsessed by Cruelty
Review: During the early 1980s, a proto-death/black metal form emerged which was represented by Hellhammer, Bathory, Slayer and Sodom. Clearly inspired by the more venal and outsider heavy metal of the previous generation, such as Venom, and the pulsating rhythm and tremolo strumming of punk hardcore bands like Discharge, this forerunner diverged into death metal, which was more rhythmic and structured, and black metal, which was more melodic, until the two synthesized in the modern black metal of early 1990s Norway - a postmodern rendering of metal as a final language, a clearly grown-up and defined form.
While these two releases from Germany's Sodom were clearly instrumental to reaching this stage, they are perhaps best reserved for historians. Although the below-average musicianship is acceptable for this genre, what makes these releases disturbing is their unevenness: hooky choruses, catchy cadences, and yet an overabundance of repetition that leaves a feeling of incompleteness to these songs, no matter how definitive they remain. Most of what they capture is a simple and direct atmosphere, combining occultism and a cynical look at society as detached from reality, that created what punk hardcore never could: a perspective external to the conditioned values we have as modern citizens.
Their song titles and ideas live on in the work of newer bands, and while listening to this once can give an insight into the past, listening to it repeatedly might drone the listener into a coma.