Release Date: Jun 1, 1989
Genres: Thrash Metal, Speed Metal
Number Of Tracks: 9
In 1989 German thrash masters, Sodom released their breakthrough album "Agent Orange" featuring what some call their best line-up.
rattlehead924, on june 30, 2008 3 of 3 people found this review helpful
Sound: In 1989 German thrash masters, Sodom released their breakthrough album Agent Orange. featuring what some call their best line-up, Tom Angelripper (bass and vocals), Frank Blackfire (guitar), and Chris Witchhunter (drums), the album has become the highest selling German Thrash album of all time. The nine songs display a variety of sounds including the slower paced Remember the Fallen to Ausgebombt which is reminiscent of Motorhead. The guitars on this album are heavy, fast and loud, and the solos are even faster. The bass isn't too spectacular but with Tom also handling vocal duties this is quite understandable. Chris's drumming is top-notch as usual and he is able to match Blackfire and Angelripper in speed. // 9
Lyrics: Abandoning their earlier lyrical themes of Satanism and gore, in this album Tom Angelripper found his lyrical niche, the Vietnam War. Rather than glorifying war the lyrics show the grim reality of the war. The songs cover different aspects of this, to name a few examples, loss of life (Remember the Fallen), the troop transports (Magic Dragon), and herbicides (Agent Orange. The lyrics fit in perfectly with the mood of the music and makes the whole thing a darker and heavier experience. When it comes to Tom's vocals, you either love them or hate them. His snarl is a mix between early thrash yelling and death grunting. He is able to clearly scream his lyrics in a way that you can understand what he is saying (or at least I can). // 9
Overall Impression: Overall this album is really strong. The standout tracks are, Agent Orange, Ausgebombt, and Remember the Fallen. There really are no bad songs here but some songs like Exhibition Bout and Incest are just average. This album belongs in the collection of any metalhead especially anyone who is into thrash. I would castrate any one who stole this from me. // 9
Head of Metal, on november 03, 2013 1 of 1 people found this review helpful
Sound: Having established itself as one of the leading lights of the Teutonic thrash subgenre of metal, Sodom was nevertheless still lacking in commercial success. Extreme metal fans, especially in continental Europe, were already absorbing (and continue to be inspired by) the proto-black metal themes and forays into thrash that marked Sodom's earliest days. The problem is that it's hard to sustain the development of a metal band while you're also working as a locksmith in a coal mine, as Tom "Angelripper" was at the time. He and his two friends needed to escape that life to make Sodom reach its full potential.
That escape became possible with the 1989 release of "Agent Orange," a delightfully loud record about the ravages of the Vietnam War. // 8
Lyrics: "Agent Orange" has a strong underground edge that is carefully balanced by a booming production suitable for a more commercially successful band. Same for the album art: done by Andreas Marschall, a group of gunners opens fire on the treacherous jungle below them, like a video game poster.
The furious, high-speed thrash serves as a template for Angelripper's fascination with the Vietnam War - from the lethal titular "Agent Orange" ("the fire that doesn't burn!"), the mid-tempo "Remember the Fallen" (in which he channels the snarl of Dave Mustaine, to my ears), and "Magic Dragon" (which is about carpet-bombing).
But the capstone is the signature song that Sodom had lacked up to this point: the mighty "Ausgebombt." Often played live in conjunction with "Ace of Spades" (which it resembles), "Ausgebombt" is three minutes of glorious, catchy speed. The buildup to the chorus ("No trade with death, no trade with arms, dispense the war, learn from the past") is a reminder that for all the focus on the carnage and destruction of Vietnam, Sodom is conveying a deeply anti-war message. And the live version from "One Night in Bangkok" is even faster than the studio version, if that was possible! // 8
Overall Impression: With 100,000 units sold in Germany alone, "Agent Orange" deserves to be heard by so many more. And its success would enable a grateful Tom Angelripper to finally quit his job at the coal mines to pursue metal full-time.
He writes in thanks: "It's plaintive that Chris Witchunter can't commemorate this 20th anniversary of 'Agent Orange''s first release with us. May he find his place and his merited peace in rock and roll heaven. Hiya Chris, I drink a beer to you!"
It is one special beer raised in remembrance, to complement the innumerable beers hoisted for Sodom over the years. // 8