SODOM
"Lords of Depravity: Part II"

(SPV)

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RATING: 9/10

Seems like I should have received some kind of certificate in the mail for completing the 380-minute SODOM history course that is presented in two chapters: "Lords of Depravity: Part I" and "Lords of Depravity: Part II". And that's not even including the lengthy performance discs, which in the case of "Part II" is the 20-song (plus "Intro" and "Outro") "Live Depravity" 25th-anniversary show at Wacken Open Air in 2007. After being wholly impressed (9.5/10) with the masterful, meticulously assembled "Part I", which covered the 1982-1995 period of the German thrash metal legends' history, I wondered whether "Part II" could reach the bar set by that release. It nearly does. Never underestimate the strict dedication and unbreakable resolve of vocalist/guitarist and only original member Tom Angelripper.

As there is no discernable difference in top flight production values and editing excellence between the two releases, the only reason I'd give the slightest of nods to "Part I" is because of the pure excitement and intrigue involved in SODOM's early history. Otherwise, Disc 1 ("Historical Depravity") tells a story that begins after the temporary split subsequent to the release of 1995's "Masquerade in Blood", which saw Tom Angelripper launch his solo project with the release of 1996's "Ein Schöner Tag", is just about as engrossing. It is jammed with stories of globetrotting, studio recording trials, gig fiascos in places like South America, SODOM reunions for the re-recording of "In the Sign of Evil" (released with bonus tracks as "The Final Sign of Evil"), the 25th anniversary show and, sadly, the death of original drummer Chris "Witchhunter" Dudek.

After enduring a revolving door of members during the first half of the SODOM saga, Angelripper would reform and rejuvenate the band with a drummer and guitarist in Bobby Schottkowski and drummer Bernd "Bernemann" Kost that soon led to the recording of 1997's punk-driven "'Til Death do us Unite". As fate would have it, that lineup would prove to be the most stable of SODOM's career and continues to this day. Kost and Schottkowski share nearly equal interview time with Angelripper and when combined with brief narration for purposes of cohesion and time spent with a host of musicians, producers, journalists, and other predominantly German industry folks, "Part I" offers a fascinating look into the band's history up through 2007. If you don't speak German, English subtitles must be turned on, requiring you to pay closer attention.

Then there's Disc 2, "Live Depravity". As previously noted, it consists of a comprehensive live set at Wacken, beginning with the current trio performing several tracks from 2007's self-titled album. What follows is a parade of veterans of the SODOM wars taking the stage to contribute to performances of numerous classics from albums up through 1994's "Get What You Deserve". As told during the Disc 1 documentary, the super gig was not without its logistical problems, but most outside of those performing on stage would never know it.

Aside from noting the inclusion of "Deleted Scenes," a couple of videos for "Fuck the Police" and "City of God", and a fantastic/informative booklet, "Lords of Depravity: Part II" is an event of thrashtastic proportions, just like "Part I". Immerse yourself in both DVD packages and digest the recorded catalogue. You'll then be ready to teach the freakin' class: SODOM 101.

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