Sodom (band)

Last updated
Sodom Rockharz 2018 06.jpg
Sodom performing live at Rockharz in 2018
Background information
Origin Gelsenkirchen, Germany
Years active1981–present
Labels Steamhammer
Associated acts
Members Tom Angelripper
Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik
Yorck Segatz
Stefan "Husky" Hüskens
Past membersFrank Testegen
Josef Dominic
Michael Wulf (deceased)
Uwe Christophers
Uwe Baltrusch
Michael Hoffman
Andy Brings
Dirk "Strahli" Strahlmeier (deceased)
Christian "Witchhunter" Dudek (deceased)
Atomic Steif
Bobby Schottkowski
Bernd "Bernemann" Køst
Markus "Makka" Freiwald

Sodom is a German thrash metal band from Gelsenkirchen, formed in 1981. [2] They have gone through many line-up changes, leaving bassist/vocalist Tom Angelripper as the only constant member. The band is currently composed of Angelripper, guitarists Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik and Yorck Segatz, and drummer Stefan "Husky" Hüskens. Along with Kreator, Destruction and Tankard, Sodom has been referred to as one of the "Big Four" of Teutonic thrash metal. While three of those bands (except Tankard) created a sound that would influence death metal and black metal, Sodom's early music style would greatly influence many late 1980s and early 1990s black metal bands more than others.

Thrash metal is an extreme subgenre of heavy metal music characterized by its overall aggression and often fast tempo. The songs usually use fast percussive beats and low-register guitar riffs, overlaid with shredding-style lead guitar work. The lyrical subject matter often deals with criticisms of The Establishment, and at times shares a disdain for Christian dogma resembling that of their black metal counterparts. The language is typically quite direct and denunciatory, an approach borrowed from hardcore punk.

Gelsenkirchen Place in North Rhine-Westphalia, Germany

Gelsenkirchen is the 11th largest city of Germany's most populous federal state of North Rhine-Westphalia and its 262,528 (2016) inhabitants make it the 25th largest city of Germany. On the Emscher River, it lies at the centre of the Ruhr, the largest urban area of Germany, of which it is the fifth largest city after Dortmund, Essen, Duisburg and Bochum. The Ruhr is located in the Rhine-Ruhr Metropolitan Region, one of Europe's largest urban areas. Gelsenkirchen is the fifth largest city of Westphalia after Dortmund, Bochum, Bielefeld and Münster, and it is one of the southernmost cities in the Low German dialect area. The city is home to the famous football club Schalke 04, which is named after Gelsenkirchen-Schalke. The club's stadium Veltins-Arena, however, is located in Gelsenkirchen-Erle.

Tom Angelripper German musician

Thomas Such, better known by his stage name Tom Angelripper, is the founding member and main songwriter of German thrash metal band Sodom.


To date, Sodom has released fifteen studio albums, three live albums, two compilation albums and seven EPs. They achieved their first commercial success with their third studio album Agent Orange (1989), which was one of the first thrash metal albums to enter the German album charts, where it reached number 36. [3] Their most recent studio album, Decision Day , was released in 2016. Sodom is one of the best-selling thrash metal acts of all time, having sold over eight million records. [4] [5] [6] The band is currently working on a new album, which is tentatively due for release in 2019 or 2020. [7]

<i>Agent Orange</i> (album) 1989 studio album by Sodom

Agent Orange is the third studio album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released on 1 June 1989 by Steamhammer and SPV. It was their last album with guitarist Frank Blackfire until his return to the band in 2018. The lyrical content delves deeply into Tom Angelripper's fascination with the Vietnam War, with a song dedicated to the ground assault aircraft AC-47 as well as the Agent orange defoliant-inspired title-track. It was their first album to enter the German album charts where it reached number 36. Agent Orange sold 100,000 copies in Germany alone and marked the commercial break through for the band. The song "Ausgebombt" was released on the EP Ausgebombt with German lyrics.

<i>Decision Day</i> 2016 studio album by Sodom

Decision Day is the fifteenth studio album by the German thrash metal band Sodom, released on August 26, 2016. This is Sodom's final album with guitarist Bernd "Bernemann" Kost and drummer Markus "Makka" Freiwald, who both parted ways with the band in January 2018.


Formation and early black metal years (1981–1986)

Tom Angelripper Live 2016 Sodom Munchen 2016 (5 von 10).jpg
Tom Angelripper Live 2016

Sodom's original line-up consisted of Tom Angelripper, Bloody Monster, Arius "Blasphemer", and Aggressor. Reportedly named in reference to the Venom song "One Thousand Days of Sodom", the band was initiated by Tom as a desperate attempt to get out of having to work in coal mines in his home town of Gelsenkirchen. Though the band became a real working unit yet only when Chris Witchhunter (Christian Dudek, originally from Essen) had joined the band on drums (replacing Bloody Monster), having already had experience in writing music in some of his previous school-projects and thus coaching the remaining two members how to write proper songs (Arius had also been fired from the band). Taking inspiration from bands such as Iron Maiden, Judas Priest, Motörhead, Venom, Kiss, Tank, Accept, Rainbow, AC/DC and UFO, the group continued as a three-piece in the Motörhead-fashion and released two demos which led to a record deal with Steamhammer. Aggressor left the band shortly before releasing the In the Sign of Evil EP (which is generally regarded as an important early black metal release), and was replaced by Grave Violator, who himself did not last long, and left following the recording of In the Sign of Evil. Michael "Destructor" Wulf was found as a replacement, after which the band went and recorded Obsessed by Cruelty , their full-length debut featuring music that was mostly in the vein of In The Sign of Evil. Wulf did not last in the band long, and later went and joined Kreator (where he also only had a short stint; he would later die after a tragic motorcycle accident in 1993).

Venom (band) English thrash metal band

Venom are an English extreme metal band formed in 1978 in Newcastle upon Tyne. Coming to prominence towards the end of the new wave of British heavy metal, Venom's first two albums—Welcome to Hell (1981) and Black Metal (1982)—are considered a major influence on thrash metal and extreme metal in general. Venom's second album proved influential enough that its title was used as the name of the extreme metal subgenre of black metal.

Iron Maiden English heavy metal band

Iron Maiden are an English heavy metal band formed in Leyton, East London, in 1975 by bassist and primary songwriter Steve Harris. The band's discography has grown to thirty-nine albums, including sixteen studio albums, twelve live albums, four EPs, and seven compilations.

Judas Priest British heavy metal band

Judas Priest are an English heavy metal band formed in West Bromwich in 1969. They have sold over 50 million copies of their albums. They are frequently ranked as one of the greatest metal bands of all time. Despite an innovative and pioneering body of work in the latter half of the 1970s, the band has struggled with indifferent record production and lack of major commercial success or attention until 1980, when they adopted a more simplified sound on the album British Steel.

Change to thrash metal and increasing popularity (1987–1990)

For the most part, Sodom was at first not taken seriously, with various press sources describing them as "a second-rate Venom clone with semi-inventive lyrics". One member would change that. Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik came in to fill the guitar spot Wulf had left behind. Frank convinced Tom that thrash metal was moving beyond horror/occult/satanic themes of bands like Venom to embrace political, societal, and war themes. Tom was already interested in various wars yet remained a peacenik. New inspiration culminated into Frank's full-length debut with the band, Persecution Mania . The new lyrical approach and increased musicianship on the part of Frank gave the band great acclaim (as well as a gas-masked mascot Knarrenheinz, who appeared for the first time on Persecution Mania's cover). They subsequently toured Europe with the likes of Whiplash, Destruction and Coroner. After touring for the better part of 1987 and 1988, the band returned to the studio to make another album. The final product, Agent Orange (1989), sold 100,000 copies in Germany alone. This made Sodom famous, giving them worldwide critical acclaim, and secured their place alongside Kreator and Destruction as one of the great Teutonic thrash metal bands. To this date, Agent Orange has sold more than any other German thrash-metal album in the world. In support of the album, Sodom went on tour with a then-relatively unknown Sepultura.

Frank Blackfire German musician

Frank Blackfire is a German guitarist, who is best known as a member of the influential thrash metal bands Sodom and Kreator.

<i>Persecution Mania</i> 1987 studio album by Sodom

Persecution Mania is the second studio album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released on 1 December 1987 by Steamhammer/SPV. The album, while still heavily rooted in black metal style, marked a beginning of a change of sound from black metal to thrash metal. As well as defining Sodom's sound, it exemplified the thrash metal genre at a time when it arguably peaked in popularity. The album also bore similarity to the music of other German bands such as Destruction and Kreator, and the term "Teutonic" thrash was coined from this.

Whiplash is an American thrash metal band. The band was founded in 1984 in Passaic, New Jersey by the three Tonys: Tony Portaro, Tony Scaglione (drums) and Tony Bono (bass).

Problems were brewing inside of the band, however. Tom and Chris descended further into alcoholism. Furthermore, Frank had grown tired of composing music that his band-mates would often perform poorly live. Mille Petrozza offered Frank a position with his band Kreator, after they lost their second guitarist, and Frank accepted. Angelripper went out looking for a replacement and found Michael Hoffman, formerly of German thrashers Assassin.

Alcoholism Broad term for problems with alcohol

Alcoholism, also known as alcohol use disorder (AUD), is a broad term for any drinking of alcohol that results in mental or physical health problems. The disorder was previously divided into two types: alcohol abuse and alcohol dependence. In a medical context, alcoholism is said to exist when two or more of the following conditions are present: a person drinks large amounts of alcohol over a long time period, has difficulty cutting down, acquiring and drinking alcohol takes up a great deal of time, alcohol is strongly desired, usage results in not fulfilling responsibilities, usage results in social problems, usage results in health problems, usage results in risky situations, withdrawal occurs when stopping, and alcohol tolerance has occurred with use. Risky situations include drinking and driving or having unsafe sex, among other things. Alcohol use can affect all parts of the body, but it particularly affects the brain, heart, liver, pancreas and immune system. This can result in mental illness, Wernicke–Korsakoff syndrome, irregular heartbeat, an impaired immune response, liver cirrhosis and increased cancer risk, among other diseases. Drinking during pregnancy can cause damage to the baby resulting in fetal alcohol spectrum disorders. Women are generally more sensitive than men to the harmful physical and mental effects of alcohol.

Mille Petrozza German musician

Miland "Mille" Petrozza is a German guitarist and singer. He is best known for being the lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist of the band Kreator. He is also the principal songwriter of the band.

Kreator German thrash metal band

Kreator is a German thrash metal band from Essen, formed in 1982. Their current lineup has been the same since 2001: lead vocalist and rhythm guitarist Mille Petrozza, bassist Christian Giesler, drummer Jürgen "Ventor" Reil, and lead guitarist Sami Yli-Sirniö. The band's lineup has changed multiple times over its 37-year career, leaving Petrozza as only constant member. Reil is the other original member left in Kreator though he had one hiatus from the band, which lasted from 1994 to 1996.

Changes in formation (1990–1996)

Sodom, live at Hole in the Sky 2009 Sodom-hole in the sky-by Christian-Misje.jpg
Sodom, live at Hole in the Sky 2009

With this line-up, the album Better off Dead was released in 1990. During the South American tour however, Hoffman decided to stay in Brazil and was therefore forced to quit. Andy Brings replaced him, and a new album was recorded, Tapping the Vein , with more of a death metal sound. This proved to be the last album with the drummer Witchhunter: He was kicked out of the band, and Atomic Steif formerly of both Holy Moses and Living Death became his replacement behind the drum kit.

Brazil Federal republic in South America

Brazil, officially the Federative Republic of Brazil, is the largest country in both South America and Latin America. At 8.5 million square kilometers and with over 208 million people, Brazil is the world's fifth-largest country by area and the fifth most populous. Its capital is Brasília, and its most populated city is São Paulo. The federation is composed of the union of the 26 states, the Federal District, and the 5,570 municipalities. It is the largest country to have Portuguese as an official language and the only one in the Americas; it is also one of the most multicultural and ethnically diverse nations, due to over a century of mass immigration from around the world.

<i>Tapping the Vein</i> (album) 1992 studio album by Sodom

Tapping the Vein is the fifth studio album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released on August 1, 1992 by Steamhammer/SPV. The album showcases more of a death metal influence compared to previous albums.

Holy Moses German band

Holy Moses is a German thrash metal band. They are well noted for being fronted by Sabina Classen and for being one of the first German thrash metal bands.

On September 15, 1991, Sodom played in Sofia, Bulgaria. The show was notable for the band because the audience of fifteen thousand people was one of the largest they had as a headliner. It was notable for the audience because it was the first show of a Western metal band in Bulgaria after the fall of communism (the only remotely similar event being a performance of the hard rock band Uriah Heep in 1987).

The group recorded the album, Get What You Deserve . The death metal influences were out; the influence of punk came in. Get What You Deserve had an arguably grotesque album cover (featuring a dead man shot and lying in his bed with a woman tied-up nearby), and many fans did not take to the band's new direction. This period also marked the beginning of less international visibility for the band as thrash lost its commercial viability for the remainder of the 1990s. Angelripper also started a solo career doing metal impressions of drinking songs, German schlagers and even Christmas-type carols. A live album was recorded of the tour in support of the resulting album called Marooned - Live.

Masquerade in Blood , saw the death metal influences return, as well as some groove metal elements kicking in, [8] but still was pretty much in the same vein as their previous studio effort. It was released in 1995. Again another guitarist had to be found. The new choice, Strahli, did not stay very long with the band. He was arrested and imprisoned on drug-related matters, and the band had since lost contact with him, until January 2011, when they learned he had died in Düsseldorf. [9] Atomic Steif also left and again Angelripper needed to search for new members. These were found: a guitarist in Bernemann and a drummer in Bobby Schottkowski. This line-up stabilized the band significantly and lasted until December 2010, when Schottkowski left.

Return to thrash metal (1997–2009)

Sodom in Bangkok, Thailand (2007). SodominBKK.JPG
Sodom in Bangkok, Thailand (2007).

The album 'Til Death Do Us Unite featured a controversial album cover, depicting a woman's pregnant belly and a man's beer gut pressing in a human skull together. This album marked the beginning of Sodom's return to thrash but was still more along the lines of a thrash-crossover sound and had much in common with bands like Suicidal Tendencies. It also spawned the song for which Sodom would make their most famous music video, the highly-controversial song "Fuck The Police." After this album, Sodom returned to the studio and released Code Red in 1999 which marked a full return to the Teutonic thrash metal sound of the 1980s, and it was met with praise from fans and press alike. A limited edition featured a bonus CD containing a tribute to Sodom album, Homage to the Gods. With 2001 came the release of M-16 , a concept album about the movie Apocalypse Now, which took its title from the famed M16 assault rifle.

In 2003, a double live album was recorded in Bangkok, Thailand, titled One Night in Bangkok . A new album simply titled Sodom was released in 2006, in the same vein as M-16. The title was chosen - as Angelripper explained it - "because every band needs a self-titled album", and the band had never released one. The album was delayed however, because the DVD Lords of Depravity took more time to compose than initially thought.

In 2007, Tom was asked by the record label Steamhammer for any tracks to be released on the In The Sign Of Evil EP. Tom believed there were, and the label floated the idea to Tom to get ex-members Chris Witchhunter and Grave Violator (real name: Franz Josef "Peppi" Dominik) to re-record the EP with the bonus tracks. The result became The Final Sign of Evil . Chris "Witchhunter" Dudek died on 7 September 2008 from liver failure after a long battle with illness. [10]

In 2009, Sodom returned to the UK to play their first show in 20 years at Bloodstock Open Air.

Markus "Makka" Freiwald-era (2010–2017)

Bernd "Bernemann" Kost Live 2016 Sodom Munchen 2016 (10 von 10).jpg
Bernd "Bernemann" Kost Live 2016

In War and Pieces , Sodom's thirteenth studio album, was released in Europe on November 22, 2010, and released in North America on January 11, 2011. [11] On November 30, 2010, it was announced that Bobby Schottkowski would be leaving the band, due to "personal and private problems" between Tom Angelripper and Schottkowski. [12] On December 8, 2010, Markus "Makka" Freiwald was announced to be Sodom's new drummer. [13]

In late January 2012, Sodom began writing their fourteenth studio album, which they planned to record in May 2012 for a late summer release. [14] On December 17, 2012, the band announced the album would be released on April 29, 2013. [15] The album is titled Epitome of Torture and features 13 tracks. [16] The album was released in Germany on April 26, and in the US on May 7.

In November 2014, Sodom released the EP Sacred Warpath as a preview of their fifteenth studio album. The EP contains one original studio track, and live versions of three previously released songs. [17]

On June 9, 2016, Sodom announced their fifteenth studio album Decision Day on their Facebook page. It was released on August 26 of that year. [18]

Sodom released the compilation album, Demonized, on September 1, 2017. Available only on cassette and 12" vinyl, it features the band's first two demo recordings, Witching Metal from 1982 and Victims of Death from 1984.

Shortly after the release of Decision Day, Angelripper stated that Sodom has "some ideas for [their] next album which [they] want to bring out in 2018." [19]

Reunion with Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik and new members (2017–present)

Tom Angelripper at Rockharz 2018 Sodom Rockharz 2018 13.jpg
Tom Angelripper at Rockharz 2018

On December 3, 2017, Sodom announced that they would reunite with three of their former guitarists Josef "Grave Violator" Dominic (who performed on In the Sign of Evil ), Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik ( Persecution Mania and Agent Orange ) and Andy Brings ( Tapping the Vein and Get What You Deserve ) during their 35th anniversary show on December 26 in Bochum, Germany, marking the first time since Dominic, Gosdzik and Brings left the band in 1985, 1989, and 1995, respectively, that either guitarist had performed live with Sodom. Their previous performances were at Wacken in 2007. [20] They performed three songs separate from one another's appearances from the respective albums they appeared on. [21]

On January 5, 2018, Angelripper announced his partings from Bernemann and Makka "to pave the way for new challenges." He then said that he would introduce the new members on April 7 at the 2018 edition of the Full Metal Mountain festival, and that they would work on a new album together. [22] Bernemann and Makka later said that they were fired from the band via WhatsApp without Angelripper listening to the new material they were working on for the band's next album. [23] On January 22, 2018, Angelripper announced that he had expanded the band's line-up as a four piece. He was rejoined by guitarist Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik and added Stefan "Husky" Hüskens and Yorck Segatz as the band's new drummer and second guitarist respectively. An EP featuring this new line-up, titled Partisan, was released on November 23, 2018, [24] with a new full-length album to follow in 2019. [25]

On February 26, 2018, Sodom cancelled their appearance at the Full Metal Mountain festival "due to the short-term change of line-up and the restructuring of my band Sodom", as explained by Angelripper. He then said that the time was "simply too short to put the new line-up in a solid live set". [26] The new line-up of the band made their live debut on May 18 at the 2018 edition of the Rock Hard Festival. [27] Sodom soon announced that they would participate in the 2018 installment of the MTV Headbangers Ball European Tour with Death Angel, Suicidal Angels and Exodus from late November to mid-December. [28] [29]

Lyrics and influences

In the early days Sodom's lyrics focused on Satanic and occult themes but war soon became their main subject. This led some people to think that the band was militarist, but on closer observation the reader would find the lyrics actually being anti-war. In an interview with Tom Angelripper said: "Why are we writing about war? Because we don’t want war. We wanna describe how bad the war is." [30] The chorus of the song Ausgebombt also gives a very clear message: "No trade with death, No trade with arms, Dispense the war, Learn from the past." [31]

Sodom has influenced many bands and artists such as Sepultura, Cannibal Corpse, Morbid Angel, Deicide, Obituary, Mayhem among others. [32]


Current line-up

Former members


Sodom (band)


Related Research Articles

<i>M-16</i> (album) 2001 studio album by Sodom

M-16 is the tenth studio album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released on 22 October 2001 by Steamhammer Records. The album is a concept album about the Vietnam War and is named after the rifle used by many U.S. soldiers during the war.

<i>Code Red</i> (Sodom album) 1999 studio album by Sodom

Code Red is the ninth studio album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released on 31 May 1999 by Drakkar Entertainment. On this album, Sodom returned to classic thrash metal which pleased many fans. It was also released as a two-disc limited edition with a Sodom tribute album called Homage to the Gods and as a two-disc edition with an Onkel Tom Angelripper's album called Ich glaub´nicht an den Weihnachtsmann.

<i>Obsessed by Cruelty</i> 1986 studio album by Sodom

Obsessed by Cruelty is the debut studio album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released in 1986. Two different versions of this album exist, the European and the American, which were released by Steamhammer and Metal Blade Records, respectively.

<i>Better Off Dead</i> (album) 1990 studio album by Sodom

Better Off Dead is the fourth studio album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released on October 1, 1990 by Steamhammer/SPV. The song "The Saw Is the Law" in an altered version that was released on the EP The Saw Is the Law.

<i>Masquerade in Blood</i> 1995 studio album by Sodom

Masquerade in Blood is the seventh studio album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released on 1 June 1995 by Steamhammer/SPV. Musically, Masquerade is often seen as the band's rawest and heaviest record, and continues in the same vein as that of their previous album, but in a more post-thrash fashion.

<i>Til Death Do Us Unite</i> 1997 studio album by Sodom

'Til Death Do Us Unite is the eighth studio album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released on February 24, 1997 by Steamhammer/SPV. It had a controversial album cover, showing the bellies of a naked pregnant woman and an obese man pressing a human skull together. It is the first Sodom album with guitarist Bernermann and drummer Bobby Schottkowski.

<i>Expurse of Sodomy</i> 1987 EP by Sodom

Expurse of Sodomy is an EP released by the German thrash metal band Sodom. Some copies were released as a picture disc. 'Sodomy & Lust' has been covered by Cradle of Filth, Exhumed, and Epilepsia.

<i>Sodom</i> (album) 2006 studio album by Sodom

Sodom is the eleventh album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released on April 21, 2006. The first pressing was in a slipcase and includes a full-colour poster of the artwork. "The album is self-titled," Tom Angelripper explains, "because every band needs a self-titled album."

Despair is a technical thrash metal band from Germany.

<i>The Final Sign of Evil</i> 2007 studio album of re-recorded songs by Sodom

The Final Sign of Evil is the twelfth studio album by German thrash metal band Sodom, released in 2007. The album includes re-recorded songs from In the Sign of Evil as well as seven songs originally written for it, but not recorded due to the label's inability to pay for studio time. As a result, In the Sign of Evil was released as an EP with the original versions of the tracks rather than a full-length LP.

<i>Spiritual Genocide</i> 2012 studio album by Destruction

Spiritual Genocide is the twelfth studio album by German thrash metal band Destruction. The album was released as a celebration of the band's 30th anniversary.

<i>30 Years Sodomized: 1982–2012</i> 2012 box set by Sodom

30 Years Sodomized: 1982–2012 is a three-disc, two-LP box set by the German thrash metal band Sodom, released on June 25, 2012. The set includes the albums Official Bootleg: The Witchhunter Decade, a collection of live recordings and unreleased demos, and 30 Years' War, a retrospective selection of studio tracks personally compiled by Tom Angelripper.

<i>Epitome of Torture</i> 2013 studio album by Sodom

Epitome of Torture is the fourteenth album by the German thrash metal band Sodom. The album debuted on the Billboard Heatseakers Chart at 25, their highest Billboard Debut ever.

<i>Sacred Warpath</i> 2014 EP by Sodom

Sacred Warpath is an EP by the German thrash metal band Sodom, released in 2014. The EP contains one original studio track, and live versions of three previously released songs.


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