When metal bands devote new albums to their older songs, it often becomes an exercise in contrasts -- what older material sounds like with the current lineup versus the lineup of 20 or 25 years ago, how older songs sound with today's studio technology compared to the studio technology of the past, how they sound after being influenced by grunge versus how they sounded before being influenced by grunge. But on The Final Sign of Evil, Sodom revisits early material without trying to update it either technologically or stylistically. This 2007 recording finds Sodom's 1984 lineup -- Tom Angelripper on lead vocals and bass, Josef Dominic (aka Grave Violator), on guitar, and Chris Dudek (aka Witchhunter) on drums -- re-recording all five of the songs from their 1984 EP In the Sign of Evil and adding seven bonus tracks, all of which were also written during that period. Recorded 23 years after In the Sign of Evil, this 49-minute CD envisions what that EP would have sounded like as a full-length album back in 1984 (when Sodom's budget only allowed for an EP). The production on The Final Sign of Evil has a muddy, demo-ish quality, which is by design; The Final Sign of Evil faithfully re-creates the raw, garage-like, punk-drenched spirit of In the Sign of Evil, but with 12 songs instead of five. Some of the tunes are excellent, while others are merely decent. But regardless of the fact that The Final Sign of Evil is mildly uneven, this is an important release for metal historians. Sodom was one of Europe's early thrash metal bands (although Motörhead and Venom preceded them), and their willingness to bring ultra-dark subject matter to a metal/punk hybrid helped pave the way for death metal and black metal. Serious thrash collectors will welcome the release of The Final Sign of Evil, imperfections and all.
AllMusic Review by Alex Henderson