Register Forgot login?

© 2002-2019
Encyclopaedia Metallum

Best viewed
without Internet Explorer,
in 1280 x 960 resolution
or higher.

Privacy Policy

Magic Thrash - 100%

Oliver731, April 11th, 2019
Written based on this version: 1989, CD, Steamhammer

This is a band that doesn't really need an introduction. The band name Sodom became a thrash metal icon, or we could say that the icon of thrash metal perfection throughout the years. They have an incredibly long and rich discography, and the guys were very much consistent, no matter which time period are we talking about. Even in the 90s, when thrash globally "died", they were the single best, honest, brutal thrash metal band on this planet, that's for sure. But let's focus on the golden age of Sodom (and thrash metal in general), the mid to late 80s. That's exactly where this album is coming from, the right time period, and the Mecca of thrash metal, Germany.

This album has a lot of highlights, since the entire album is a highlight from the 80s. Agent Orange starts with the title song, which is probably Sodom's most famous song ever. And being that with a good reason obviously, it's very heavy and it has a very memorable intro. All of the instruments sound great on this album, and the songwriting skills are there as well. Some of the highlights of the album are (well all songs obviously) "Magic Dragon", "Exhibition Bout", "Incest", and "Remember The Fallen". I would like to put "Baptism Of Fire" into a different sentence, because it just breaks out of the production of the entire genre of thrash metal, not only this album. These are all very memorable songs with great melodies, catchy riffs, creative pace changes, all of those things that make an album very properly done. Especially in the song "Exhibition Bout", that guitar solo is an absolutely magnificently done solo. Blackfire put everything into the solos and riffs he possibly could to keep up with the drummer's pace but still make it very melodic and colorful, and he did succeed in doing that.

Let's talk about the musicianship as well. The reason why this album is getting a 100% from me is because these guys used every single tool of theirs to make this album as good as they humanly possibly can. This isn't Toxik. These guys aren't THAT advanced musically. But they were advanced enough to make Germany's best selling thrash metal album to exist, and probably the most popular as well. They achieved this by creativity. Blackfire is obviously the most musically advanced member of the band, and is in the band's entire existence. His riffs on this record are magnificent, catchy, heavy, melodic, brutal, a little bit of everything that makes thrash metal what it is. There isn't one thing I can find in his guitar playing that's bad or could be improved. This is a perfect job right here. The other 2 guys are on point as well, Angelripper's bass lines are present throughout the entire record which is nice to hear. It's one of the clearest sounding bass tones I've ever heard on a thrash metal record. Witchhunter's drumming is also very consistent, he even adds onto the awesomeness of this album with his randomly thrown-in fills. Many people don't like that, but it does indeed make the album more colorful than just monotonously "do what's needed".

The production is absolutely immaculate. The guitar tone is heavy but it's also pretty dynamic. It's not too static-sounding, it does have that little bit of fluidity to it. The tone of the solos are very different from the rhythm guitar parts, which makes the 2 guitars very well-separated as well. Obviously, the drums are very heavy sounding, dominant, as they should be in thrash metal. The volume of the hi hat and the ride is very precisely set, you can hear every single tap, but they're not taking over the entire sound. As it's aforementioned, the bass tone is very good, very present, very deep, as good as it gets. There isn't anything to complain about, really. I don't know what's a perfect production if this isn't.

There are the lyrics. Sodom has always been great at writing lyrics, since Blackfire joined. He took the band and oriented it into the direction of wars and violence. He was surely one of the greatest things that ever happened to Sodom, both musically and lyrically. If I would like to show people what lyricism is, I'd probably show the song Nuclear Winter from Persecution Mania. However, this album features lyricism that's just as good as the lyrics on PM. Since this album is about the Vietnam War, the topics are very much focused on the horrors of war, the aftermath of the destruction. That's very creative and intelligent to write lyrics about those things. The lyrics provide a very good reflection of the reality. They're very intelligent and moderated, therefore really powerful. The lyrics on the song "Magic Dragon" for example are very powerful. It's perfectly matching with the events that are taking place in the song itself, the speedups, slowdowns, etc. That applies to all songs, and not many bands could link their lyrics together with the music. Well, Sodom could.

Agent Orange is a masterpiece. The songs are very organized, properly executed, and very meaningful. This album does get a 100%, it's as good as thrash albums get. This doesn't mean that it's better than anything else, but it's perfect as a thrash metal album in its own way. We know what Sodom was like before Frank Blackfire. It wasn't something that blew our minds musically, not to mention the lyrics. This is much more advanced in each and every way. They got way more serios with the arrival of him. Persecution Mania was just in another universe from whatever Sodom has done before that, and this is even better than PM. That album was really good, and it's almost as good as this. However, the precision, the using of more riffs, the colorfulness, the aggression, the melodies, the amount of work that was put into this album just made it the single best album this band has ever given the world. Agent Orange breaks out of the performance level of this band, and out of all of the albums that were released in the 80s. There were a couple others on this level, but certainly not a lot. This is an exceptionally good album. Thrash records rarely get any better if they ever do.