I’ve been a fan of Sodom for almost three decades, starting with a cassette tape of In the Sign of Evil that I scored for three bucks at a used record store in 1985. In the Sign of Evil is one of those releases that I look back on as having had a profound impact on my life. The early albums by Sodom still get a significant amount of rotation on my stereo even to this day. A side note: as much as I love this band’s music, I refuse to refer to myself as a “Sodomaniac.” I live in San Francisco. The term “Sodomaniac” has different connotations here. 30 Years Sodomized: 1982 - 2012 is a three-CD retrospective that celebrates their three decades of existence. Like all retrospectives, it’s a mixed bag. The first CD is an assortment of live tracks that comprise “The Witchhunter Decade,” which featured Chris Witchhunter on drums. Of the three CDs in this collection, this is the reason to purchase this retrospective. All of the other tracks are otherwise available on other releases, but these live tracks have never been officially released. These are different from Mortal Way of Live and the other live tracks that Sodom has released over the years, so you’re getting something new. Sadly, the purchase price of this collection and the quality of the live material may not be worth it to all but the most die-hard Sodom fans. Due to the age and quality of the recordings, the sound on the bulk of the live tracks is pretty bad compared to a professionally recorded live album. The live songs are from various different concerts so there is little consistency between tracks. Some of them sound good, with nice, loud guitars, and others are mediocre and have guitars that are barely audible. You never know what you’re going to get from one song to the next. If you want consistency, you have to move on to the CDs that have the studio cuts on them. The second disc in this collection covers the early years, and the third one is full of newer material. There is a lot of stuff here to listen to and because it is a retrospective, it covers all eras of this band’s history. My only major gripe is the track selection. Some of Sodom’s best songs are missing. Where are “Bombenhagel” and “Blasphemer”? Where is “Ausgebombt” or “Agent Orange” or “Equinox”? I know there isn’t room for everything, but come on! Why have a bunch of mediocre tracks when you can have the hits? That’s like Motorhead doing a retrospective and leaving off “Iron Fist” and “Ace of Spades.” As a fan of Sodom, I can’t recommend this because the song selection leaves me wanting, and the live material isn’t enough to get me to open my wallet and shell out any hard earned cash. I have all of their old stuff already, and Mortal Way of Live has both consistency and a good selection of songs, something that this release doesn’t.
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