The sound is much better and louder than the first issue which also had a track listing problem. Nice fold out sleeve and the second disc with the live tracks is pretty cool. While Agent Orange is hailed as one of their best, I beg to differ. While I like it a lot and that is has some great memorable songs, I like Persecution Mania and Tapping the Vein way better.
I'm glad this came out and I recommend this particular release when buying this particular album. First things first, I received Agent Orange by Sodom promptly and in great condition. The packaging of this dual cd disk digipak is very cool, with bullet belt like fences. Yes, the artwork and layout is top notch.
This is my second Sodom album, having received my first, 's seminal Persecution Mania, a week or two ago. I can't decide just yet which one I think is better. Gun to my head, I suppose Persecution Mania, but this is some great, killer Thrash, too. It's raw, especially for a third full length, but it exudes attitude, blood, guts and sweat, not to mention artillery grease. Ausgebombt is a standout track, along with Baptism Of Fire.
And now, I'd say it's high time to get back to my frenzied head banging and destroying this room!!! Ok, I've given this disk a few more listens, and I gotta say, it is awesome.
I think this is actually better than Persecution Mania. This has got to be the best Thrash album of OverKill's Years Of Decay is better on a personal level, for me. I stand by my Sepultura, Beneath The Remains comparison, another seminal Thrash album from that straddles the line between Thrash and Death.
Agent Orange is on par with Kreator's Terrible Certainty. This album is just so raw and heavy. I'm gushing. This is love at first ear bleed. Now that's the line I wanna live on! In conclusion: get this album.
It represents Sodom very well, and is probably their best! First of all: this 2LP edition is great in all respects! Here you get a real high German quality. The sound is clean, the vinyl itself is of a great quality too - heavy and clean, it doesn't produce any additional "effects" - clicks, crackles, low frequency noise, what often happens nowadays with a new vinyl records, produced by unknown or new manufacturers on this market.
The polygraphy is on the highest level. The gatefold cover is glossy, with a sharp, well colored printing as well as the inserts.
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Richard Nixon, the innocent comrade that, of course, had nothing to do with the Watergate affair, said this sentence while being at risk to suffocate in view of his own emotiveness.
But he didn't make peace in Vietnam. He even didn't bring the war to a glorious end. Thomas Such, better known as Tom Angelripper, did never speak very pathetic sentences. The dudes from his home region are usually not interested in making big words. Unlike Nixon, Tom brought this project to a glorious end.
No doubt, today it is rather embarrassing for extreme metal bands to look for commercial success. But Sodom was the first thrash band that hit the German charts and this was a kind of unexpected triumph and a totally new experience at the same time.
It felt extremely good, because the three-piece had not modified its style. The dudes played thrash metal, less amateurish than they did on the very early outputs, but still fast and furious. To put the Vietnam War in the centre of the martial lyrics was both original and generic. It quickly became clear that Sodom were in the right place at the right time.
We, the positively surprised fans, studied the charts and were convinced that extreme metal had become an unstoppable force. World domination was near. Leaving aside our feverish dreams, "Agent Orange" marked a milestone for Sodom, not only because of its commercial success. The occult, sometimes biblically inspired or surreal scenarios of their former lyrics did not show up anymore.
The songs of the third full-length had a more realistic content and this reorientation gave the album an oppressive aura. Nevertheless, the music was still highly impressive and it has lost nothing of its fascination to this day. From the beginning to the end, each and every track wins over with its accessible, more or less conventional design.
I don't speak about primitive patterns, far from it. It is rather the case that the band demonstrates its newly attained song-writing skills. Clearly structured songs have replaced slightly crude noise attacks. Both approaches have their charm, but there can be no doubt that "Agent Orange" is the masterpiece of the early Sodom.
I don't want to bore anybody with the list of my personal favourites. It is more or less identical with the song list. Only the fairly introvert "Remember the Fallen" has to struggle in order to keep up with the pace of the other songs. This can be taken literally - it is the slowest piece of the album.
In addition, its riffing is solid, but relatively predictable. However, the cruelty of wars is reflected by other songs. The straight title track kicks off the album with sharp and catchy riffs while benefitting from a very charismatic vocal performance of Angelripper. He spits out the lyrics with a maximum of bitterness and this way of proceeding hits the bull's eye in view of the criminal herbicidal operations that he refers. To avoid misunderstandings, "Agent Orange" is not a typical concept work.
Yet these tunes keep the level of aggression and they do it with great ease while the vocals express contempt and disgust. I cannot find a difference between the Vietnam and the non-Vietnam songs in terms of velocity, pressure or restlessness.
Inter alia the flawless production guarantees a constantly powerful appearance. Commander Angelripper doesn't go into the war without a comforting amount of munitions. Undeniably, "Agent Orange" has become an icon of thrash metal in its purest form. It is immune against external influences while concentrating on the essential features of the genre.
Today one might call the here presented approach old fashioned, but this was state of the art thrash at the time of the album's publication. Moreover, its energizing effect is still present.
Not to mention its coherence, its homogeneity and last but not least its commercial success. All these elements gave the scene important impulses and Sodom gained new fans. I don't know whether Nixon bought a copy. Honestly speaking, I fear that this old Quaker had a miserable music taste. However, rest in peace, Richie. Other politicians also failed to make peace. Syria is just one example among many. When you perfect a formula so well, it often leaves little to discuss about it. That's what Sodom has done here.
Nothing screams that this is a masterpiece that deserves to be worshiped on an altar, yet there's no major negative aspects about it. The problem when it comes to reviewing average to decent records is that it doesn't leave you with a lot of material to elaborate on.
That's why I can go on about St. Anger until I'm blue in the face despite how awful it is. I wanted to preface with this, so if I seem to nitpick a lot, then you know why. Anyway, the album opens with "Agent Orange". A song that's really a culmination of a bunch of different thrash metal styles.
The opening riff is akin to Practice What You Preach era Testament with it evoking a great desire to headbang.
It swiftly moves on to something of the likes of Ride the Lightning era Metallica. However, those just serve as the appetizers to the rapidly fast pace that takes over the rest of the song. Seriously, tapping your foot to this tempo makes you look like you've been drinking too many Monster energy drinks. Right then, it transitions to a Slayer-esque section just as it gradually picks up speed again.
The song keeps that Slayer influence at hand for the solo where it flat out abuses that whammy bar. Lyrically, the song details the use and effects of the cancerous chemical we all know and love; Agent Orange. Actually, Angelripper does a great job describing the horrors that this chemical carries and pens a memorable chorus that always ends with the line, "A fire that doesn't burn".
You know, just to really drive in the point. All of that comes together to make the best song off this album. Going back to the subject of lyrics, this album is quite interesting in that regard. The main theme surrounding this album is the Vietnam War which begs the question: Why are so many metal bands interested in the Vietnam War. I can see why Black Sabbath would write about it, because the war was still raging around that time. I personally find the Vietnam War to be an overly complicated and overly political to even be invested in.
Enough of that rambling, anyway, Tom Angelripper does a great job with the lyrical content on Agent Orange. He's clearly very passionate and strangely fascinated with the subject. He's able to inject so much passion throughout this album without resorting to being an anti-war hippie. To put it bluntly, it's something that I like given that I'm a bit of a self-identified historian. Agent Orange is surprisingly rather varied than one is to expect.
You have your insanely fast thrash metal tunes like "Tired and Red" and "Incest", but then you get into your slower tracks like "Remember the Fallen". This variety really breaks up the monotony of the album's full-throttle nature. That's before you get into the heavily hardcore punk influenced "Ausgebombt".
This track is an almost jarring turn for Agent Orange which is easily identifiable as Teutonic thrash metal album. Speaking of which, this is probably the first straight thrash metal record from Sodom. Persecution Mania was definitely thrash, but it still had traces of their early black metal roots. Here, anything that was black metal was swept away in the recording process. They're certainly able to give up their elements of black metal for a heavy metal approach on the track "Don't Walk Away".
Apparently, it's a Tank cover for whom I can't say I'm too familiar with. How does it fare with the original? Well, it seems that Sodom chose to directly cover the song as oppose to putting it in their own style.
It's a little different from the original. For one, there isn't a scream at the beginning of the song which is probably due to it being way out of Tom's vocal range. There also isn't the diminished vocal effect on the chorus which is a welcome improvement. The cover is a little heavier with the bass being more prominent in the mix, but besides that, it's pretty similar. I guess the cover serves as an homage to Tank rather than twisting the song into their own.
It's pretty much on par with the original when it comes to quality, so there isn't a clearly better version. Overall, I recommend Agent Orange. I'm not nearly as attached to this album as so many other people are. I definitely wouldn't go as far as to claim that it's the best thrash metal album of all time.
For what it's worth, it's a solid release with a diverse number of heavy hitting, violently fast songs on it. I also admire Angelripper's passion that went into writing the lyrics and overall themes of Agent Orange. In terms of the band's career, this certainly was a great record for them. It was their commercial breakthrough in Germany which is remarkable considering they didn't have to water-down their sound.
I guess I can look at this album in a more positive light just for that. How about some classic thrash? How about some strong classic thrash? Well then good, because this is a review for Agent Orange. Its strong, packed with raw power and energy and brimmed with thrashy hardiness. Its also by none other than Sodom, my personal favorite of ye olde German thrashers. So what to talk about first? Let's talk guitars. Like every good thrash album you have an abundance of fast, muscled and thrashy riffs.
Of course, in order to be a classic or something that stands out it needs to have a bit of variety so it can't be a train of non stop thrash. The album begins with Agent Orange which starts with a slower but still thrashy riff, moves to a more melodic section before it jumps into the Teutonic madness. Tired and Red has a brief acoustic interlude half way through. Every song has a long instrumental section and of course shredding guitar solos.
Then of course we have Angelripper's raspy yells as vocals. This is the main style of vocals used, but there are also gang shouts here and there, especially on their cover of Don't Walk Away if you have certain later releases of the album. There's even a track with melodic singing. Sadly however, while the production allows everything to be heard its not the best.
The bass can be heard and it follows with the guitar most of the time but it sounds less like the 4 string instrument we're all familiar with and more like a lot of low end popping noise.
The drummer on the other hand sounds fine for the most part, he delivers his fast paced beats with no problem but his fills sound like plastic. In a quick nutshell -ignoring the outliers- songs generally fire up with a quick guitar riff which will be accompanied by Angelripper's harsh narrations of war, incest and evil.
The end result is a raw and energetic thrash album with a strong war vibe. Agent Orange is a strong thrasher impeded only by a few production issues and the fact that the original length of 8 songs feels a bit too short. Uh uh However, the album is just at the beginning. All of this, united with a standout level of inspiration, what does obtain? Do you know the use of their decorations? Awarded for patriotism! The whole thing is nothing less than spectacular , period. When I fell in love with this album, I also noticed and appreciated this cover, and this allowed me to discover Tank which would instantly become my second favourite NWOBHM band right after Iron Maiden , along with many other hidden gems of traditional heavy metal.
Bundesrepublik Deutschland. It seems there is just nothing left to add as so much praise has been dedicated to this piece of art. You rarely find an album that is not conceptual, yet is perceived as one. Agent Orange is a metal movie, short and extremely cohesive in both musical and lyrical aspects. It repeats the phenomenon of Reign in Blood from the fellow Californian thrashers. Fast tempos, catchy riffs of 4-minute songs, and the discourse unity of lyrics make you watch a coherent movie in your head while listening to the CD.
The album boasted crystal clear production. I would even say they topped Persecution Mania with this one, and the latter was flawless.
I admire the first three Sodoms and it is always fascinating to compare them — absolutely different albums in all respects — knowing that it was still the same band and still the same guys from the mines of Gelsenkirchen. Sodom peaked with Agent Orange and they never topped it afterwards. There was some age magic involved there. You know, it is like the recording was done during those years, when they were still young to burn, but already too experienced to figure out how to put out the best of themselves.
In this particular case, it reminds me of Rust in Peace by Megadeth to some extent. Symbolically, this CD, dedicated to war victims in all the world and titled after a chemical weapon used in the Vietnam War against the backed by the USSR natives, was released just several months prior to the fall of Berlin Wall, the end of communist era in DDR and unification of Germany. Agent Orange symbolically hit again. In another war, the Cold one, but back then it hit with the power of words and played its role to some extent in putting an end to the conflict and not in stirring it up.
I only recently got into Sodom the band, nothing rude. I listened to them a few years ago and didn't really care for them, possibly while i was going through a phase of not bothering with thrash at all. Somewhere down the line, i got a renewed urge to explore the thrash i didn't already own which led me to Sodom and Destruction among others. I knew this album was widely regarded as one of Sodom's best so i started here.
All i can say is i've been missing out! Sodom have evolved over the years. Firstly a raw, Venom inspired black metal sound led to thrash, then a punkier phase and finally back to thrash.
Sort of like Slayer meets Kreator but not as frantic. Agent Orange is the peak of the first thrash period both critically and commercially. This album apparently sold over , copies in their native Germany and charted fairly highly, It's a shame then that thrash pretty much died a couple of years after this otherwise they may have maintained their popularity. This album is a little bit samey at times, a common trait of thrash metal or any album that sticks rigidly to a style.
This isn't a major complaint though as the songwriting is strong. The opening 3 songs are probably the best, but the Motorhead inspired 'Ausgebombt' is another highlight. The speed of the album is more mid-paced to fairly fast, it has just enough variety to keep things interesting and is fairly short so you won't stop paying attention while listening. The production is nice and clear without being overproduced, all of the instruments are well balanced and the talent of Frank Blackfire really shone through on this album, his last with the band unfortunately he joined Kreator after this.
This is definitely the album to get if you're new to Sodom, it's a really solid thrash album with fairly harsh vocals but not like the early releases, and is also a better album than most of their more recent thrash albums which are also pretty good.
Fueled by ferocious, tightly-executed riffing and intricate bass-work, the songs here are fast and up-tempo with a darker sound than would be the norm for the bay area type of thrash bands, with a similar life to them that comes from the dexterous drumming on display.
Again, the drumming is another stand-out factor here with a dexterous display that features everything from simplistic punk fills to raging hyper-speed blasts and double-bass fills that give it an extra intensity, all the while delivering a pounding, thunderous production job that makes them even more forceful and devastating. The songs on the album are some of the finest of their career, including many absolute stand-outs and feature several career highlights.
The second half, while it may be considered experimental, is pretty much more of the same as what was found in the upper half.Don't Walk Away Lyrics: Get down six feet under / I wish she would, your fat blanket mother / She growls and roars like thunder / A mouth so big, the eighth world wonders / She wants me to throw her.