The 100 Greatest Metal Albums of All Time

The most headbangable records ever, from Metallica's Black Album to Black Sabbath's 'Paranoid'

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Sodom, 'Agent Orange' (1989)

63. Sodom, 'Agent Orange' (1989)

At a time when Metallica were exploring proggy odysseys like "Blackened" and Slayer were plumbing the doomy nether regions south of heaven, Sodom were still thrashing like it was 1983 – maybe even harder. The German trio's 1989 high-water mark, Agent Orange, is a taut, straight-for-the-throat masterpiece that sounds dark and dangerous in a distinctly non-American way, thanks to frontman Tom Angelripper's seedy-sounding accent and uniquely ESL lyrics, and the viciousness of Frank Blackfire's guitars. On standouts "Ausgebombt" and the title track, Angelripper revels in wartime suffering with odd turns of phrase ("A fire that ... doesn't ... burn!"); on the plodding "Incest," he lasciviously exalts bedding his sister with a bluntness that would make Prince blush; and on the dirty, blatantly Motörhead-like Tank cover "Don't Walk Away," he and his bandmates play revved-up rock & roll while he grunts about rejecting a woman's advances. Although Sodom's thrashing countrymen in Kreator and Destruction also put out brilliant Eighties LPs that still hold up (witness the former's Pleasure to Kill, the latter's Release From Agony), the sheer over-the-top, unapologetic audacity of Agent Orange, which made it into the German Top 40 at the time, makes it the best of the bunch. "[The record] changed my life in one important way," Angelripper once said. "That album came at the right time and sold well. I was able to quit my job in the coalmine, where I had been since 1979. My dream came true to live just from the music and [spend] all my time for touring and rehearsing with the band." K.G

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