SODOM had already been moving away from some of their ‘Black Metal’ roots with their previous release, “Persecution Mania”, but the dark and insanely good release was going to be hard to overcome with the next album. But the German three-piece was up to the challenge and out came their third studio release, “Agent Orange”. Quite frankly, the band not only topped their previous work but blew it out of the water.
“Agent Orange” has the band adding catchiness to their songwriting. I know, I know. Normally when a Metal band of the status of SODOM does something like this, many are quick to label them ‘sell outs’ and ‘posers’. But that doesn’t happen with “Agent Orange” because despite the catchier song writing on this album – it’s still insanely aggressive and dark. They even add a little more complexity to their catchiness as songs quickly shift tempos and change rhythms. The track “Incest” takes so many twists and turns with the music that the band could have easily chopped it up and made 4 or 5 songs out of it.
Overcoming the harsh production on the album, all the members of SODOM give amazing performances. Even drummer Chris Witchhunter, whom I’ve never been a fan of in particular, qualms my cynical mouth with his performance on this release. It’s just hard to deny the chemistry of the three members as Frank Blackfire (guitars) and Tom Angelripper (bass, vocals) just shred out riff after riff and solo after solo. Add Tom’s sinister sounding voice to lyrics about war and it’s affect on people and this is just unstoppable.
“Persecution Mania” was a great album for SODOM but “Agent Orange” practically is SODOM in a way. This album has no filler and displays all the great musicianship that this band is capable of. A must have for all Thrash fans.
Songs to check out: “Agent Orange”, “Remember The Fallen”, “Incest”.
(Online August 25, 2008)