Agent Steel - Skeptics Apocalypse (Century Media) 1985
A raw yet
powerful power thrash disc with vocalist John Cryiis just wailing on top of
the music. This first album is a bit more raw that the disc to follow, but still
very listenable. Actually despite glowing reviews about how original this disc
is. I think it sounds like Helstar or even a bit like early Laaz Rockit.
Probably the biggest similarity is in the vocal styles as John Cyriis has a
similar style to Helstar's James Rivera.
The Century Media reissue includes two bonus tracks that are not that great
since the 1998 remix of "The Calling" isn't really a song, and the live cut
sounds like it was recorded on a boom box. I've also got to mention that this
is another of those examples where an MP3 helped to get me interested in a band.
After hearing only one song, I was on a quest to find their cds. Thanks for
the suggestion Olaf.
Agent Steel - Unstoppable Force (Century Media) 1987
1. "Unstoppable Force"
This album is OUTSTANDING. Imagine the best of the late 80's thrash scene with a singer who would put Geoff Tate and Warrell Dane to shame. That is the best way I can describe this cd. To say it is better than their first album is an understatement. This album just smokes! The songwriting is catchy and contains loads of dynamics. The band knows when to slow it down to create a good song and when to speed it up. Inside the cd there are pictures of various tour posters and passes from the time these guys were supporting this album. Some of the bands they played with were Overkill, Anthrax and the like. I can imagine that not only did these guys hold there own with these "bigger" bands, but they gave them a run for their money as well. If you like serious metal, you need this disc! Thanks to Century Media Germany for re-issuing it.
Agent Steel - Omega Conspiracy (Candlelight) 1999
1. "Destroy the Hush"
This cd KILLS! New vocalist Bruce Duncan has studied at the James Rivera school of singing yet comes off as much more aggressive and powerful. The music continues in the heavy power thrash mode of the past but the band has updated their sound slightly adding in some Nevermore style power metal. From the opening chords to the closing moments, be prepared to be blown away by some high-caliber metal with this one. Agent Steel kill! My copy of "Omega Conspiracy" is the European edition. The US version contains a bonus track.
Agent Steel also recorded an excellent version of the Scorpions classic "Dark Lady" that I have an MP3 of.
Agent Steel - Order of the Illuminati (Scarlet Records) 2003
I just absolutely love this style of metal. "Order of the Illuminati" is a modern example of how thrash/speed metal should be done. Stellar, unique vocals, intense song writing, blazing guitar antics. Everything a metalhead could want for a good 'ol headbanging fest! From the moment this album starts, the intesity never lets. There are some more melancholy moments, as in "Insurrection", "Dance Of St. Vitus", "Kontrol", and in the intro to "Human Bullet", but these moments only add to the dynamics of the overall sound. While this album is a solid speed metal platter, it will never get the attention it deserves. While Metallica unload their crap on us in 2003 to the praise of corporate America, bands like Agent Steel and Nevermore are unleashing superb metal releases like this that will forever be relegated to underground, cult favorites.
1. "Fashioned From
Dust " (4:44)
Four years after "Order Of The Illuminati" the purveyors of speed metal return with "Alienigma". On first listen, this CD is a bit heavier, faster and more furious than on their previous two releases with Bruce Hall on vocals. The album kicks off with on a fast and furious notion with "Fashioned by Dust", which is followed by one of the more memorable tracks on the album, "Wash The Planet Clean". For the most part, the entire album follows suite. It's all heavy, fast and punishing. Bruce Hall's vocals seem a bit harsher, as if he was purposely going for a heavier sound.
The recording is heavy with a modern production, mixed by the legendary metal producer Bill Metoyer. Being that I didn't obtain a copy of this album immediately, I've had the opportunity to read plenty of reviews on it. It seems the reviews are mixed. Most of the negative reviews seems to be complaining about the production being too modern or the band moving into a slower, more groove oriented direction. While there are certainly some mid-paced moments, overall, I can't really see where this complaint is coming from. Agent Steel have always been defined by the guitars of Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles, and that is still very much in place. "Alienigma" is chock full of tasty lead, heavy riffs and fast-paced songs. Frankly, I think those reviews are off base. They may have a case in saying they don't like the more modern production tones, but otherwise, this is Agent Steel as they should be. I guess you just can't please everyone. There is a lot to say for nostalgia, and unfortunately, the Cyriis-era Agent Steel stuff seems to hold a lot of nostalgia for thrash purists. "Alienigma" is American power/speed metal at it's finest. (Thanks Saxon)