SODOM — Agent Orange (review)

SODOM — Agent Orange album cover Album · 1989 · Thrash Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
5/5 ·
Vim Fuego
So why did you start listening to heavy metal? The rebellion factor? Iron Maiden's cool covers? Hearing Black Sabbath from someone older? Seeing Bros on telly in the late 1980s and thinking "This is awful"?

For me, it was the sheer childish pleasure of head banging, playing air guitar, and pretending to be Steve Harris. Metal looked and sounded like fun, so I tried it, and I'm still hooked. During that time, Sodom has given me a lot of pleasure (don't take that the wrong way!) and has caused me many a whiplashed neck from frenzied headbanging. 'Agent Orange' is an album to slip on when no one is around, put away all breakable things in the room, pick up a tennis racket, and just let rip!

Sodom were never a band to let technicality to get in the way of a good song. Equal parts Venom and Motorhead, this is thrash metal at it's most basic, and most effective. Like those two legendary noisy three piece bands, the trio of musicians in Sodom may not be the best in their field, but working on Motorhead's "Fuck it, it's only rock and roll" theory, produced some of the most ungodly thrash noise ever to make it to record. At one time, Sodom were one of the most extreme bands in the world, even being labelled "death metal" and "black metal" back in the mid 1980s.

It's hard to believe Sodom had slowed down for this album. Listen to songs like "Ausgebombt" booming out of your stereo and you'll hear a simple repetitive bass line, fairly basic piledriver drumming, catchy riffs, and Tom Angelripper's Teutonic shout over it all. It's not particularly tight in places, almost verging on falling apart during a few of the solos, but fuss is kept to a minimum. There are even punk rock shout-along choruses here. There's the odd solo thrown in, but you'll not find a self-indulgent fiddle-fest. Bands today who don't use solos should take note- you don't have to be Yngwie Malmsteen to play a good solo.

The title track, "Remember The Fallen" and Ausgebombt" are the pick of the bunch here, although that said, there are really no dud tracks on this album. When this was released in 1989, Sodom were moving away from the anti-Christian sentiments of earlier releases, having found a deeper vein of inspiration in railing against the stupidity of war. One track which is just a little disturbing however, is "Incest". Apparently Angelripper fancied his own sister...

"Agent Orange" has all the ingredients a good thrash album needs. Days later, the pounding songs will still be echoing in your subconscious, and you will be flicking devil horns at everyone you meet. Remember the fallen!
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