Sodom - Agent Orange review
01. Agent Orange
02. Tired And Red
04. Remember The Fallen
05. Magic Dragon
06. Exhibition Bout
08. Baptism Of Fire
09. Don't Walk Away [Tank cover]
Disc II [bonus]
01. Incest [live] [Taken from the "Ausgebombt" Single]
02. Agent Orange [live] [Taken from "Marooned"]
03. Tired And Red [live] [Taken from "Marooned"]
04. Remember The Fallen [live] [Taken from "One Night In Bankok"]
05. Ausgebombt [Taken from "One Night In Bankok"]
06. Ausgebombt [German version] [Taken from the "Ausgebombt Single"]
If you have read the Bible then you would have surely come across Sodom and Gommorah, two cities which were famous or rather infamous for the wickedness of it's inhabitants. If you have not read the Bible but still you are a Metalhead then you must have surely heard of the Biblical Sodom's Thrash Metal counterpart - Sodom, which is as much notorious for it's music and Agent Orange was the high-point in this band's resume and it is the most successful Thrash album ever released by any German band and has, till date, sold over 100,000 copies worldwide.
Agent Orange was released in 1989 and it was instantly recognised as a classic and why not? This album has all the quintessential features of a classic Thrash recipe with guturral vocals, vicious blastbeats and really strong and political lyrics. Through their lyrics you get to know that Sodom really had a story to tell and it was very dark and gloomy. The album title shared it's name with the dreaded weed killer called Agent Orange which earned a great deal of notoriety thanks to the indiscriminate use of American firepower during the Vietnam War, while listening to "Agent Orange" you can actually visualise the scene of combat with destroyed farmlands and innocent victims having their skin peeled off and reduced to deformation for the rest of their lives. "Incest" spoke of carnal depravity in society, "Remember The Fallen" is like a history lesson as it spoke of the battle of Leipzig and it spoke of the glorious but needless sacrifices made by the soldiers in the Napoleonic Wars, "Exhibition Bout" takes an obvious dig at Bull-Fighting in Spain. There is also a cover version of "Don't Walk Away" originally performed by Tank and the cover version is actually better than the original version! In fact all tracks are a must-listen for any Metal fan and not just Thrash fans as each of the songs had its own crooked story to tell.
Chris Witchhunter is awesome behind the drum-kit and his drumming has to be heard to be believed! I, personally, was blown away by his drumming on "Incest" , "Tired And Red" and "Baptism of Fire". He is like an MG-42 Machine Gun with his merciless blastbeats. Frank "Blackfire" Gosdzik is a superb axe-slinger and he is brilliant with his twisted soloing in "Magic Dragon" . Tom Angelripper sings with a peculiar vocal style that is hard to emulate.
Sodom are one of the pioneers of German Thrash Metal along with Kreator and Destruction and Sodom has had a huge impact on Thrash Metal music and have inspired modern bands like Warbringer. It is hard to believe that Sodom was once considered by the press as a "a second-rate Venom clone with semi-inventive lyrics ". But classic releases like Persecution Mania and Agent Orange would change all of it and Sodom would the join the A-League of German Thrash Metal.
All said and done, Agent Orange is a Thrash Gem and not just for its rabid music but also for its intense political and social themes that it embraced. I once read in a book on Metal guitarists that German Thrash Metal was paler compared to its American counterparts and how naive I was to believe it! But no more. By my own personal experience I can say that German Thrash is as merciless and brutal, if not more, as its American counterparts.
In Loving Memory of Chris Witchhunter [R.I.P.]
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