Sodom's fans have argued to the teeth about whether 1987's Persecution Mania or 1989's Agent Orange is the German metal act's definitive record. Both stand right at the devil's crossroads of thrash and death metal, and both are brutally furious assaults on the senses. That said, the case can be made for Agent Orange being slightly superior for two reasons: first, the production on this set is better, hands down, thanks in large part to Harris Johns. The band had a bigger budget and was able to, with him at the helm, use exactly the same elements to make their sound fuller, heavier, and punishing -- especially in the drum mix, which is just sheer blastbeat menace. The second reason is that given that this was the second album by the trio of bassist/vocalist Tom Angelripper, guitarist Frank Blackfire, and drummer Chris Witchhunter, there was a long period of touring between records which cemented their relationship as a band. The songwriting is tighter, the dynamics more elaborate, and everyone carries equal weight -- it would be the very last time this would happen with Sodom on record. Stand-out tracks here include the anti-bullfighting anthem "Exhibition Bout," the in-the-red speed rage of "Incest," and the exquisitely assaultive riffing in "Baptism of Fire."
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AllMusic Review by Thom Jurek