If you are old enough to remeber the days when Thrash metal reigned supreme you might be aware that many pioneering bands originated from Germany in the eighties (Kreator, Tankard etc). Sodom is one of those bands and with Persecution Mania we have one of the bands first full length albums. From the opening track, "Nuclear Winter" we are made aware that this is going to be an uncompromising Thrash workout. Toms gutteral vocals are complimented by the ace guitar work provided by Frank Blackfire. The boys rip through the tracks but also have slower sections in which you get an idea of their musical skill. Even the classic Motorhead classic "Iron Fist" gets reworked. If you have a passion for the classic thrash sound then this is an album you should have.
Sodom do the basics of Thrash Metal better than anyone, superb riffs, tight playing and the production here is first rate. It doesn't really need the Motorhead cover of Iron Fist 3 tracks in but at any rate a classic 80s thrash album. I can't say which is better, this or the excellent follow up Agent Orange.
This is Sodom's second full length and I must say it's a massive improvement over historically important but ultimately flawed (the production mainly) `Obsessed by Cruelty'. Musically things are a lot tighter than previous releases and although none of this band are virtuosos by any means the performances are good. Also, this actually has a good production something which very few thrash albums had around this time (Slayer, maybe Exodus and really very few others). However this would all be completely irrelevant if the songs weren't awesome which thankfully they are, I can easily say that this is one of my favourite thrash albums and the best German thrash album I've heard.
Musically, this isn't particularly ground breaking the bands influences are clearly displayed Venom, Slayer (idiotic thrash fans who don't like Slayer at this point state that Slayer never influenced anyone and that Vio-lence invented music in 1985) and obviously Motörhead. However, it's the fact that this is a really solid and effective album full of killer riffs (`Nuclear Winter'!) that make it one of the best of the genre rather than being groundbreaking. But with this album Sodom prove that the simple ideas really are the best and rather than getting bogged down in being technical and progressive (ala `...And Justice For All) Sodom simply deliver some excellent riffs and sing about nuclear war and electric chairs unlike those wimps Testament (thrash about the rainforest? Bah!)
As far as song writing goes this is pretty damn solid throughout with more than a smattering of classics (especially if you get the CD version with the `Expurse of Sodomy EP' but I suppose that doesn't really count). `Nuclear Winter' as previously mentioned is immense, a onslaught of lightening fast riffs, the predictable but very effective breakdown, even some Led Zeppelin referencing cymbal work in places and to top things off Tom Angelripper (does your mother call you that?) snarling away in broken English. His vocal performance on this album shows that their really is no accent better suited to thrash than a Germanic one. Germanic accents, also lend themselves to Motörhead covers hence `Iron Fist' being an excellent version. The title track is probably my favourite here and features some splendid riffs and efficient German tempo changes (sorry, couldn't resist) so yeah pretty much like the whole album. Closer, `Bombenhagel' is another fairly simple yet devastating song featuring some great guitar work and of course Tom Angelripper growling away about a Bombenhagel, whatever that is. But there's really not much filler here if any and all the songs here are good at least and in places life affirming (well, for a thrash fan).
As far as I'm concerned Kreator, Destruction (especially) and pretty much all of the US second wave thrash bands don't have diddly squat on this album, which is a thrash classic and a winning formula they would repeat on `Agent Orange'.