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Solid album fallen victim to thrash cliches. - 75%

Static, November 8th, 2005

Sodom was a pretty SOLID thrash band back in the 80s. As other reviewers have pointed out, although they weren't as technical or as complex as other German bands like Destruction and Kreator, they had a knack for just going in for the jugulor and playing it straight, fast and gritty.

In the case of this album however, Agent Orange, I feel that it was a matter of slightly too little, slightly too late, because coming on the heels of such albums as So Far...So Good...So What? (I'll explain why in this case), Sacred Reich's Ignorance and and at the same time as Kreator's spectacular Extreme Aggression, the riffs simply fall short.

Here's why. Take the title track, Agent Orange. In and of itself it's a great track, but in context of the thrash music doing the rounds at the time you have a sense of 'wait, haven't I heard all this before?'. The track starts with a little fast bit that sounds recognizable (can't place it), and then goes into a slightly modified version of the main riff to Megadeth's In My Darkest Hour. After that it goes fast, but the riff is EXACTLY the same as Sacred Reich's Death Squad (which came in 1987, so things aren't looking good).

Throughout the entire album I had a sense of deju vu, just thinking...where have I heard that riff before, and that riff!? So I feel that although Agent Orange is a good album it shoots itself in the foot via an extreme lack of originality.

My favourite German thrash band is without a shadow of a doubt Kreator. If you listen to Extreme Aggression you'll find the kinds of riffs that no one before and no one after played or aped, unlike with Agent Orange, which the whole way through feels like an exercise in thrash cliches.

But it's not all bad besides these aspects. I'm not into the title track so much but I feel it improves after. 'Tired And Red' sounds relatively original and is thrashtastic. 'Incest' is somewhat unassuming but enjoyable. 'Remember The Fallen' benefits a little from an alternative vocal style, though it is a little boring. 'Ausgebombt' is cool and feels a little punky.

Overall it is worth seeking out, and worth listening to...but don't expect something you haven't heard if you're a discerning thrash listening. I'd recommend Kreator over this band any day though. Now those guys are fucking grand.