Tom Angelripper was born in Gelsenkirchen on 19 February 1963  from where he learnt to play bass guitar steadily whilst working in coal mines. He then went on to be the founding member of the German thrash metal band Sodom, for whom he has played bass and vocals on every studio release.
In Sodom, Tom Angelripper plays bass guitar and sings. Angelripper formed Sodom with guitarist Frank "Aggressor" Testegen and drummer Rainer "Bloody Monster" Focke in 1982, in a desperate bid to get out of work in the coal mines that the three had worked in.
Angelripper also founded a band called Onkel Tom Angelripper which plays metal versions of schlagers, drinking songs and Christmas carols. In addition, he worked with a side project of Sodom's touring guitarist Alex Kraft, called Desperados, which played spaghetti-western-themed heavy metal. The band later evolved independently under the name of Dezperadoz, but Angelripper still occasionally contributes.