The Final Sign Of Evil
posted on 11/2007 By:
One of the recent trends in metal has been for a band to go back and revisit older material for a new release. They may want to re-record it with a new approach (a la Dimmu Borgir’s Stormblast and Moonspell’s Under Satanae), update the sound (a la Destruction’s Thrash Anthems and Suicidal Tendencies’ Still Cyco After All These Years (an older example, yes, but the principle still applies)), or simply commemorate an anniversary (a la Hammerfall’s Steel Meets Steel and Exciter’s New Testament). The oddest reason given, though, is to go back and remake the album “the way it was meant to be.” Twisted Sister did it when Stay Hungry became Still Hungry, and now Sodom has done it in making the In The Sign of Evil EP into the The Final Sign of Evil full-length.
I’m going to risk whatever is left of my credibility here and admit that I have never heard the original EP, so bear that in mind when I say the end result sounds like I imagine it did back then - low-fi production, thin-sounding drums, gruffer vocals, etc. It certainly doesn’t sound like the modern-day Sodom heard on M-16 and their more recent self-titled album. I think it makes it sound more genuine like that. It doesn’t hurt that Tom Angelripper recruited the band members from the original release, Grave Violator and Chris Witchunter, for this endeavor. For those reasons, this re-recorded work is less likely to offend those who don’t want modern-sounding versions of classic material.
The strange thing is that the seven new songs . . . well, you could almost tell why they weren’t included on the original release, if the official reason weren’t that their label at the time didn’t want them on there. They’re good, but not as good as the five that comprised the original. “Where Angels Die” and “Hatred of the Gods” are the standouts from the new batch, and one could even throw “Ashes to Ashes” in there and I probably wouldn’t complain. The original release was considered a classic, though, and I’m not sure that the listening experience has been enhanced with the inclusion of these additional songs. “Bloody Corpse” sounds particularly amateurish by today’s standards. Maybe it would have worked back then, though, when just sounding evil was enough to be considered evil – why does Venom’s “Teacher’s Pet” keep coming to mind?
Would In the Sign of Evil have been regarded so highly had it been released in this form originally? Most likely. “Witching Metal,” “Outbreak of Evil,” and “Blasphemer” helped define the entire thrash genre (and some would say heavily influenced early black metal, as well,) and a couple of the additional songs might have been branded the same. Still, when you listen to a classic thrash album today, such as Forbidden Evil or Eternal Nightmare, you know you’re listening to a classic, and I just didn’t get that vibe here. Take that for what you will – the opinion of a guy who got into Sodom around the time of Code Red but has only gone back as far as Persecution Mania for his history lesson.
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