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Agent Orange is the classic example of how much a band could improve the sound and achieve the goal of recording something that is perfectly between the malevolence of the first efforts and the skills taken during lots of years of music. As you know, at the beginning of the 80s a band like Sodom was important for the growing black/death metal scene and few believed in a such improvement in technique and songwriting. It’s the Sepultura case too if we want.
Anyway, from Persecution Mania, after several line up changes, Sodom found a new dimension that pointed mostly on the classic thrash metal with a hint of the past influences and with this album we have the continuation of that job in a magic period for this kind of music.
Starting from the production (very similar to Persecution Mania), we can hear the cleaner sound that, anyway, is always damn compact and powerful. What always captured my attention was the guitar/bass sound: it’s great and incredibly pounding. The start is something that belongs to the history of thrash metal with classics that bring the name of “Agent Orange” and “Tired And Red”. These are simply great and for sure, two of the best Sodom’s compositions ever.
The rhythms are suffocating and terrific. The start of the fast part of the title track is something to remember forever, as the orgiastic palm muting riff in the middle too. “Tired And Red” features a good arpeggio in the middle to break the intensity. The mid paced riffs are perfect, compact and the following “Incest” is damn fast with lots of stop and go. Tom’s vocals are always raspy, scratchy and evil as Sodom’s tradition command.
The lyrics, as most of you know, are always about the stupidity of war and the various damages it concerns. A good example of this is the classic, long, mid paced “Remember The Fallen”. The atmosphere here is dramatic but fortunately the speed increases with the following “Magic Dragon” that surprisingly features six minutes of music. The good, but not excellent “Exhibition Bout” is just a prelude to the great, punkish “ Ausgebombt”. This one is simply great! Wow, it’s made for pure mosh!
As in thrash metal tradition, the final song of the album must be violence and brutal and for this “Baptism By Fire” doesn’t let me down, thanks to galloping guitars parts and very good chorus during the refrain. This is where you can find Sodom at the top of their career. This is an album to remember and listen at least once in your life.