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Review of the Album "Obsessed by Cruelty" German Band Sodom Enters the Black Metal Genre

Ara is a journalism graduate from California State University, Northridge, who is always looking to explore his writing opportunities.

A human skull which symbolizes what is on the cover for Obsessed by Cruelty.

A human skull which symbolizes what is on the cover for Obsessed by Cruelty.

Basic Details and One Interesting Fact About the Album Obsessed by Cruelty

Genre: blackened thrash metal that is raw even for its time

Label that it was signed to at the time: Metal Blade Records

Year of release: 1986

This debut album was actually recorded twice because the record company that the band was signed to was not happy with the result. The first version was recorded in Berlin, Germany and then it was released on vinyl by Metal Blade Records. For the purposes of this album review we will analyze the US version of the album.

Structure of the Album and the Members That Play On It

Every metal band has to start somewhere and for German thrash metal band Sodom their debut album called Obsessed by Cruelty is very different compared to the albums that they would release after this one. This debut has the style of blackened thrash metal that sounds very raw. The album is divided into two “sides” the first one being titled “Obsessed” and the other side being titled “Cruelty.” The album came out at a time when cassette players were still being used and the tape always had two sides, A and B. This debut also has two band members playing on it that are no longer alive. Guitarist Michael Wulf also known by his stage name of Destructor would die in a motorcycle accident in 1993. Chris Witch Hunter also known as Christian Dudek would die in 2008.

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"Witchhammer"

The Significance of Sodom's Debut Album

Obsessed by Cruelty is the studio album before the entry of Frank “Blackfire” Gosdzik into the band. He and Tom Angelripper have pretty much been the only members to be considered the original ones though Frank would make his return to the band in 2018. At the time of the release of Obsessed by Cruelty in 1986 the metal genre had really expanded as several of the new metal bands at that time were making their presence felt on the scene. 1986 was a special year because many bands were either entering their peak moments musically or they were on their way to stardom. There is the concept that we should not judge the quality of an album solely based on its cover and this debut is no exception. Though the death of Michael Wulf did little to either destroy the ambition of this German band nor did the loss weaken their music that would come afterward. In fact, Sodom would actually improve with their next album Persecution Mania. The other point of significance for this debut is that Tom Angelripper’s vocals sound more like death metal such as the band Carcass. Can you notice this quality as you listen to this album? The raw nature of the album is a quality that was present in metal albums at the time such as Metallica’s debut album or Annihilator’s Alice in Hell though that one wouldn’t come into fruition until 1989.

© 2021 Ara Vahanian

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