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Album Reviews : Sodom – Agent Orange (20th Anniversary Edition)

By on May 10, 2010

Sodom-AgentOrangeAgent Orange was originally released in 1989 by famed Teutonic thrash metal band Sodom. The band’s previous releases, with the exception of ‘Persecution Mania’, mainly focused on horror and satanic themes, which then took a more political pursuit with the release of  ‘Agent Orange’.

The album depicted the harsh reality of the Vietnam war through the imagination of Tom Angelripper, Frank Blackfire and recently deceased Chris Witchunter, which has now been resurrected on this 20th anniversary reissue. Unlike some metal bands who glorify war, Sodom depicts the Vietnam war, and war in general in a much more realistic and political fashion.

For those who are unfamiliar, “Agent Orange” (a carcinogenic herbicide) was used by the US military in an operation called “Ranch Hand” which lasted several years to deprive the Viet Cong of vegetation and food which effected thousands, if not hundreds of thousands of Vietnamese civilians and American troops. This inevitably lead to many direct violations of the Geneva Conventions.

It’s hard to believe its been almost 20 years since the release of the ‘Agent Orange’ album. I remember first hearing about Sodom thanks to my late nights in front of the idiot box watching Rage on ABC TV.

The band’s most “commercial” (I use the term commercial very loosely) single ‘Ausgebombt’ was played at some god awful hour of a Saturday morning and I was instantly hooked. Strangely enough, the song ‘Ausgebombt’ is more about the bombing of Germany in WWII than the Vietnam war.

The album hasn’t changed at all since its original release. Don’t be expecting a reworked version of the album, much like what Sodom did with the release of ‘The Final Sign of Evil’. This is purely a remastered version of the original recordings. The generic slight increase in volume is there, but its essentially the same as the original.

In addition to the revamped digital mastering and the newly added German version of ‘Ausgebombt’, we are treated to a selection of bonus live tracks on a second CD. I was expecting the live tracks to be of some significant rarity, but sadly the live tracks are taken from the band’s 2003 live album, ‘One Night in Bangkok’.

Agent Orange isn’t your typical thrash metal album. There are some slight American thrash metal elements like Megadeth and Slayer with a mishmash of European and British heavy metal elements ranging from Accept, Tank and even Motorhead. Many consider ‘Agent Orange’ to be Sodom’s “classic album”; and I agree.

It’s a great piece of thrash metal history and is well worth the purchase if you don’t own it already.  9/10

Tracklisting:
1. Agent Orange <- Reviewer’s Choice
2. Tired and Red <- Reviewer’s Choice
3. Incest
4. Remember the Fallen <- Reviewer’s Choice
5. Magic Dragon <- Reviewer’s Choice
6. Exhibition Bout
7. Ausgebombt <- Reviewer’s Choice
8. Baptism of Fire
9. Don’t Walk Away <- Reviewer’s Choice

Bonus Disc
1. Incest (Live)
2. Agent Orange (Live)
3. Tired and Red (Live)
4. Remember the Fallen (Live)
5. Ausgebombt (Live)
6. Ausgebombt (German version) <- Reviewer’s choice

Band: Sodom
Album: Agent Orange
Year: 2010
Genre: Thrash Metal
Label: SPV/Riot! Entertainment
Origin: Germany
www.myspace.com/sodom

About

Mitch Booth is the owner, designer and grand overlord of Metal Obsession. In the few seconds of spare time he has outside of this site, he also hosts a metal radio show over on PBS 106.7fm in Melbourne (Australia) and organises shows under the name Untitled Touring. You should follow him on Twitter.