Review Summary: Thrash debut scores. Excellent phrasing, guitar solos boiled alove, lots of fun. Not just raging like Kreator, but genuinely scary stuff (when they're not dropping lines like "I masturbate to kill myself").
In the Eighties, the term “black-metal” existed already, but did not have the same meaning it does now.
Labeled as black-metal, these bands would make quite a fast disc with occult lyrics (and give a nickname to each member). The list was quickly drawn up: Venom (“spiritual” fathers which gave its name to the kind), Hellhammer, Celtic Frost, Bathory and Sodom.
Destruction demos and the first Slayer album were out by this time. Early Venom, Possessed, Mantas and Tormentor's Demo material all were out and somewhat heard of. But there was nothing
out there by mid 1984 that was as sick, perverted and evil sounding as this EP. Black Metal owes so much to this that it isn't even funny, and one can only imagine the reactions of the first-time listeners back in 1984. The dawn of Sodom's career blowing away the scene with one of metal's most defining moments.
Just like Kreator's early years, the influences are more than apparent. The first three tracks of this EP totally reek of Hellhammer and Venom which is clearly evident not only in the sound itself but in the appalling technicality and the simplicity of it all. It is simply wondrous how much they were able to achieve so much with so little. There's also a strong Motorhead influence, which gets more apparent towards the end of the EP, especially on Witching Metal. The structures are formulaic despite the fact that they went out of their way to disguise this with unnerving intros. Lots of grinding sinister sounding riffing is accompanied and accentuated by demoniacally possessed growling bass and as they echo all throughout this recording, along with its unconventional drumming, they give it its trademark aura of bare, perverted evilness that it is notorious for. The Lyrics are abysmal.
Tom Angelripper is God-like on vocals. Perhaps Demon-like is more appropriate here. He rips his chords with what is, in my opinion,the most passionate grunt of the time. His performance is simply outstanding, whether he's vocalizing, laughing like a possessed madman, grunting or breathing ruggedly into the microphone as if he's masturbating or infected by a nasty lung disease. To all dilettantes out there and the dime-a-dozen "evil" bands of today, this is how you do it.
Blasphemer's main riff is identical to that of Slayer's amazing Chemical Warfare, but if there's one band that should worry about getting the accuser's finger pointed at them, it's Slayer, because this preceded Haunting The Chapel by a month or so. Though with such a short time period between the releases the most likely explanation is simple coincidence.
Unfortunately, as is the case with all good EPs, the fun doesn't last long, but fortunately, In The Sign Of Evil is now released on the same CD with their first full length (albeit with a messed up tracklist) making it an absolutely essential purchase. I cannot adequately explain what you are missing if this personification of the old school has not found its way into your collection. Hope you check out this album soon if you're a Thrash fan.
4/5 for this Ep.