Tom Angelripper (Sodom) interviewed

Thirty years. What does that mean for Sodom to have been doing extreme metal for three decades? That’s a long time for any career let alone a metal band.
Tom Angelripper: Yes, I can’t believe that we are still around with touring, recording, and all the activities. When we formed the band in ’82 we never thought about a professional career, because we did it just for fun. We were metalheads that loved that music. And then we came out with the idea to form a band, inspired by Venom and all the heavy bands that formed in that time. We were lucky, to sign the first contract in the end of ’83. From that time, we worked constantly to write new songs and produced a couple of good albums. A dream came true, to [be] a musician and to make my life with it. I could give up my job in a coalmine.

What do you make of your fellow German thrash mates in Kreator and Destruction also celebrating similar milestones? Obviously, what you guys created was made to last.
Tom Angelripper: I am very proud of them and I respect what they did and that they are still a big part of the international metal scene. That is typical for thrash bands. Never give up and keep on going. I know that it’s a hard business with blood, sweat and tears.

Do you think there’s a down cycle or era in which you struggled for direction/inspiration? Just curious if you’ve ever felt a Sodom album or albums didn’t live up to your expectations.
Tom Angelripper: Never. It doesn’t matter how many copies we sell or how many people come to see our show. We do the music for our fans and ourselves. Okay, you can always try to do it better but we are standing behind everything we did.

Is there an era of Sodom that makes you proud? I know the early years are particularly adored by fans, but I think the ’90s era is often sorely overlooked.
Tom Angelripper: Yes, I think that the ’90s era was very hard to a lot of bands. The music scene changed to a commercial direction and many bands changed their style or gave up. But Sodom stayed tuned and sodomized. We produced the heaviest songs and albums in that time. That was like a revolution and the fans always comfort us to keep on that way.

Your cover art engages with the warrior/soldier motif. Where does the ’til Death Do Us Unite fit in with the scope of Sodom album art?
Tom Angelripper: We tried something different for the cover artwork, but the fans didn’t understand what we want to express with it. Live, death and embryonic live, combined in one photo-artwork. So we changed to the soldier and the war theme for the upcoming albums.

What’s the The Witchhunter Decade all about?
Tom Angelripper: I think he was the most inspiring drummer for all the fans and he was a member from the beginning. That gave him a cult status after all the years. So, it was very important to give him a tribute, because he deserved acknowledgement. He was one of my best friends ’til he left the band in 1992. After that, the contact shattered until the first Sodom class meeting. There, we talked about the good old times and the idea to re-record the first mini-album as a full length version with unreleased songs. So, we did it and I am still proud of him that we finished this album in the end.

You compiled the 2CD set. How did you single out songs to spotlight? I gather that’s like picking the best child from a horde of children, right?
Tom Angelripper: Yes, it is a small collection of my personal favorite songs. Every song has its own [back] story and awakes a lot of remembrance. I also like more the heavier stuff and the fast tracks. Choosing the songs was like sitting in a time machine. I am so proud of myself and all Sodom members to own an awesome and big back catalog.

How does it differ from the Ten Black Years set?
Tom Angelripper: On Ten Black Years we chose the songs with more hit potential and classics. A best-of album just reflects the current state of the band and gives summary of the latest releases.

What’s the best part about the 30 Years Sodomized – 1982-2012 package?
Tom Angelripper: I think it’s the unreleased material with all the rehearsal sessions, live recordings and pre-productions, which is very interesting for the Sodom collector’s scene and old-school fans. But please take a look to the Sodom DVDs and you will learn more about our history and the glory 80th. The 30 Years package is a special gift for all the diehard Sodom fans all over the world and it could be a springboard to the next years.

How many more years are left in Sodom? 30 more or do you send an end to Sodom in the next decade?
Tom Angelripper: I don’t know. I think that it is very important to stay creative and healthy. This music is my life and I don’t want to think about an end. I have so many plans for Sodom’s future. At the time, we are writing songs for the new album and also planning the shows and tours for the next year. So, we want to enjoy this music as long as possible.

** Sodom’s 30 Years Sodomized: 1982-2012 is out now on Steamhammer Records. It’s available HERE. Or, you go with terrible certainty and get that Cerebral Fix Products of Disgust boxset, which isn’t recommended if you like money.