Mortal Way of Live

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Back when live albums were fixtures of rock & roll discographies, common practice dictated that a band should accumulate...oh, about four studio long-players' worth of material before even considering itself deserving of releasing such a "career-crowning" document. Of course "common practices" never applied to metallic trio Sodom, one of three legendary German thrash bands (along with Destruction and Kreator) to steamroll through the 1980s and help pave the way for virtually all European extreme bands that followed. Believe it or not, to many of these, 1988's Mortal Way of Live was as influential and thrilling a live album as Deep Purple's Made in Japan had been to previous generations. Recorded during the band's triumphant "Sodomania Tour" (and simultaneously released on VHS, if you'd care to look for that), Mortal Way of Live captures Tom Angelripper and company as they charged through frequently frantic fan favorites ("Persecution Mania," "Nuclear Winter," "Sodomy and Lust," etc.) with such improbable stores of energy that it's actually a good thing that feedback, mistakes, and other sonic imperfections were left intact so none could doubt the group's combustible on-stage ferocity. No, Mortal Way of Live probably didn't need to be a double-vinyl offering, since only the most rabid of fans will feel the need for live versions of Sodom's at-times overlong thrashers ("Blasphemer," "Christ Passion," "My Atonement" -- never their strong suit), nor the mostly distracting (but probably necessary so their bandmates could rest up) drum and guitar solos from Chris Witchhunter and Frank Blackfire (where he gets all Van Halen-like). Still, for modern listeners looking to experience the manic energy and barely controlled chaos of '80s extreme metal, Sodom's Mortal Way of Live offers about as honest and ideal a view as any other live album.

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