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Agent Steel - Alienigma (CD)

Agent Steel
by Grigoris Chronis at 29 August 2007, 5:17 PM

AGENT STEEL: the band you love to love, if you like your pure Metal music influenced by the JUDAS PRIEST razor instead of the IRON MAIDEN lyricism. With nearly a quarter of a century of career - and none of their founding members on board, now - these Sci-Fi metalheads present their (only) 5th studio album and if you enjoyed both Omega Conspiracy (1999, Metal Blalde) and Order Of The Illuminati (2003, Scarlet) there's limited of chance you won't dig Alienigma and its up-to-date Metal dogma.
One of the reasons I love Metal music is the supremacy of guitar duos. Yes, the Tipton/Downing or Murray/Smith or Shermann/Denner or Hanneman/King or …………/………… (fill the gap) atomic source providing unconcerned ears with tons of lead/rhythm blasts and endless headbanging entropia. Even if both Garcia (ABBATOIR, EVIL DEAD) and Versailles are not credited as founding members - the band was born in the paranoia of 'cult' vocalist John Cyriis (ABBATOIR) and respected drummer Chuck Profus - they are the ones guiding the AGENT STEEL spaceship from the 1999 reunion and onwards. Garcia has been into AGENT STEEL from the recordings of the monumental 1985's Skeptics Apocalypse debut, while Versailles stepped in right for the sessions of the Mad Locust Rising EP, by replacing then second axeman Kurt Kilfelt (who then formed the excellent Thrash Metal act HOLY TERROR). The EP, by the way, features an incredible over-the-edge cover of the JUDAS PRIEST diamond The Ripper.
O tempora, o mores… After the terrific Unstoppable Force follow-up, AGENT STEEL was a 'big' Heavy/Speed/Thrash band. An on-the-edge US 'speed' version of JUDAS PRIEST, creating promises for a better future, AGENT STEEL provided nothing more but silence for a dozen of years. Countless stories have been written or told for Cyriis' strange behavior or the whole band's excess in 'going wild' after gigs (known are the charges upon the band of maddened attack on a young road crew member in 1987) but the point is that no music did the band provide after 1987. With AGENT STEEL officially disbanding in 1988, it is the last eight years, eventually, the Garcia/Versailles duo did put the band back to life. An offer for the band to perform at 1999's Wacken Open Air festival in Germany was the key point to write songs for a new album, with new singer Bruce Hall (SYBIL, STEEL PROPHET) and new bassist Karlos Medina (EVIL DEAD).
Enough with history: Alienigma features a good-but-not-excellent cover artwork - alien-related, of course! - and ten tracks in the vein of its two predecessors. Meaning: tons of riffs, countless leads, beautiful (but not impressive) rhythm section and wonderful 'metal' vocals by Bruce Hall. The tracklist is completely 'metal', too, while the production shows a tendency of keeping connection with today's requirements. Hall's voice is passionate, he surely loves Rob Halford while he ensures himself to be the best possible choice for the AGENT STEEL songs. I enjoyed all of the album's tracks, even if I show a little bit more interest to the moaning of Hail To The Chief, Liberty Lying Bleeding and W.P.D., plus Lamb To The Slaughter's ultra speed caught me by total surprise. As for the lyrics: aliens, politics, environment, wars…excellent scripts giving added credit to already notable tunes.
Alienigma sounds great to me, continuing the 'growing' (but rather sporadic) creativity of AGENT STEEL from 1999 and forth. I'm rather curious how 'much' of reputation the band still has worldwide, but I really hope they'll be around for many years more (even if recording albums sporadically). If you like guitars on top (and no keyboards around) and still love bands like VICIOUS RUMORS or METAL CHURCH, then Alienigma will blast your ears at first audition.

4 Star Rating

Fashioned From Dust
Wash The Planet Clean
Hail To The Chief
Liberty Lying Bleeding
W.P.D. (World Pandemic Destruction)
Tiamat's Fall
Lamb To The Slaughter
Bruce Hall - Vocals
Juan Garcia - Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Bernie Versailles - Lead & Rhythm Guitars
Karlos Medina - Bass
Rigo Amezcua - Drums
Record Label: Mascot Records


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