Sodom, hailing from Gelsenkirchen, debuted as a trio consisting of guitarist Angelripper (a.k.a. Thomas Such), drummer Witchunter (Christian Dudeck) and vocalist Aggressor (Frank Testegen) with the demo `Witching Metal` in 1983.
Lambasted outside of their native Germany throughout much of their career the legacy of stoic Thrash outfit SODOM has witnessed a 1990s renaissance of appreciation for their brutal almost primitive Metal attack. The earliest SODOM incarnation, dating to 1982, had featured Bloody Monster (Rainer Focke) on the drums.
In 1984 a second demo, `Victims Of Death`, included the original tracks boosted with the addition of four new songs. The demo began to receive a great deal of positive press, although Agressor would choose to opt out. He was eventually replaced by Grave Violator (Josef `Peppi` Dominic) and the new line-up debuted for the first time at the `Black Metal Night` in Frankfurt. After a further show with DESTRUCTION and IRON ANGEL, Steamhammer SPV Records signed the band and would swiftly release SODOM`s debut EP entitled `In The Sign Of Evil`.
Grave Violator left at the end of 1985 and the debut, full blown `Obsessed By Cruelty` album featured Destructor (Michael Wulf). However, an additional guitarist in Ahathoor (Uwe Christophers) recorded the track `After The Deluge`. Of note is that two versions of `Obsessed By Cruelty` were issued in a short space of time. The original mix was pressed up, but then not found to be satisfactory and so the entire album was remixed at Hilpoltstein Studios in Nrnberg. A further variant came when the US license, to Metal Blade Records, strangely deleted the track `After The Deluge`, even though it was listed on the cover. Immediately after the record was released Destructor quit to join KREATOR. Blackfire (Frank Gosdzik) replaced him. During a lull in 1986 Witchhunter travelled to Sweden to rehearse with BATHORY for a proposed European tour with CELTIC FROST and DESTRUCTION. The tour was shelved and the drummer returned to SODOM.
SODOM toured Europe as co-headliners with WHIPLASH in 1987, promoting the Harris Johns produced `Persecution Mania` album, but Blackfire also quit the band to join KREATOR on an American tour on the eve of the `Agent Orange` tour with SEPULTURA in 1989. The band found a temporary replacement to fulfill the dates in MEKONG DELTA`s Uwe Baltrusch. Still, the latest album,`Agent Orange`, sold strongly shifting in excess of 90`000 units in Europe. In January 1990 SODOM recruited new guitarist Michael Hoffman (ex ASSASSIN) and the ensuing `Better Off Dead` produced by Harris Johns, included a cover of the THIN LIZZY classic `Cold Sweat`. For the 1994 album `Get What You Deserve` album SODOM drafted in a new drummer in the shape of ex-LIVING DEATH, VIOLENT FORCE and SACRED CHAO man Atomic Steif.
Angelripper issued a solo album of drinking songs `Ein Schner Tag` in 1995 whilst SODOM were put on ice for a while. Back with the main band, the man formed a new line-up comprised of guitarist Bornemann and his ex-CROWS and RANDALICA colleague, drummer Bobby Schottkowski in order to record the new studio album `Til Death Do Us Unite` for new label G.U.N. Records.
``Til Death Do Us Unite` featured a drastically reworked version of PAUL SIMON tune `Hazy Shade Of Winter` (as made popular by THE BANGLES). The original version of the album also sported a wonderful cover photograph juxtaposing a pregnant woman with a male beer belly. Sadly this clever image was banned.
SODOM continued their resurgence in 1999 with the Harris Johns produced `Code Red` on fresh label Drakkar. December German shows, running from Christmas Day until New Year`s Eve, had the band packaged with GODDESS OF DESIRE and TANKARD. The millennium seemed likely to herald a SODOM tribute album. The group would form part of a nostalgic Thrash Metal mammoth tour of Germany with compatriots DESTRUCTION and KREATOR commencing 26th December in Ludwigsburg and running through into the new year. Their 2001 album, `M-16`- a concept album dealing with the Vietnam war, would break the German charts at no. 88.
In June of 2004 the group entered House of Audio studios in Karlsdorf, Germany with producer Achim Khler for a new record. That same year the band would have their classic cut `Burst Command Til War` chosen as a pioneering piece of music for a compilation assembled by DARKTHRONE drummer Fenriz, released through Peaceville Records and entitled `Fenriz Presents The Best Of Old School Black Metal`. February of 2005 found SODOM touring South America. The band announced a one off North American date at the `Minneapolis Mayhem 2` festival in May. Coinciding, the Vinyl Maniacs label re-issued early works `Agent Orange` and `In The Sign Of Evil` as limited edition vinyl picture discs.
Tom Angelripper guested on pedal steel guitar on POWERGOD`s cover version of TANK`s `The War Drags Ever On` for inclusion on their `Long Live The Loud That`s Metal Lesson II` released through Massacre Records in July 2005.
SODOM`s live schedule throughout mid 2005 included appearances at such events as `A Summer Day In Hell` in Rome, Italy, the Burgebrach `Sternenfestival` in Germany, the Spanish Gernika `Metalway` festival, the Dutch Bergen `Hole In The Sky` festival, Germany`s Hofheim `Outer Limits Special` and the Baltic Seas `Metal Ferry 34.000 Tons Metal` event. The band also toured with FATAL EMBRACE and VENDETTA for German dates in September 2005. SODOM allied themselves with Finnish Polka-Metal exponents FINNTROLL for US touring in January 2006.
SODOM is one of the legendary bands that started the German Thrash scene in the early eighties. After all these years they are still constantly releasing albums, of which `M-16` is the last one, released through Steamhammer/ SPV in 2001. Sodom is also one of those bands that had a huge influence on the then heavily expanding black metal scene. Just as the case is with a band like Destruction. Some claim that their first mini LP `In The Sign Of Evil` is a black metal record in its rawest and earliest form, its up to each individual listener how to label it.