Friday, November 11, 2011

Sodom - Agent Orange (1989)

Agent Orange is the third full-length album from Sodom, and it is usually the one that gets the most praise heaped upon it. This seems strange, since it is far inferior when compared to Persecution Mania, in just about every way. The songwriting is inconsistent and the inclusion of a cover song kills the flow of the album, irreparably. Released in June 1989 on Steamhammer Records, this L.P. has enjoyed undeserved popularity for far too long.

Upon first listen, one would not think that there is much difference between this album and the one that immediately precedes it. It features a lot of the same sort of riffs, but with a failed attempt at injecting melody and complexity into the structures. The vocals are a little cleaner, and the overall atmosphere lacks anything even remotely dark. The band was just going through the motions, making a fairly generic Thrash Metal album, with no real sense of purpose. Even the title track is ruined with the mid-paced sections and the stupid samples. One would be urged to look past the imperfections and to try to take the album for what it is, except for the fact that the band already presented a much better take on this style, under the title Persecution Mania.

Agent Orange is a bland and ineffective release from a band that could have done much better. The production is too clean, similar to the last record, but the material really does not necessitate a raw and dirty feel anyway. The drums could be lower in the mix, but the guitars have sufficient focus and heaviness, so the difference would be minimal. The songwriting and arrangement is sub-par and a mockery of what these guys were truly capable of. If you like simplistic Thrash that is aimed at the masses, give this a listen. If you are a fan of Sodom's early works, skip this and proceed to The Final Sign of Evil.