Agent Steel
Agent Steel was a power thrash metal band who were lead by founding members; John Cyriis (vocals) and Juan Guarcia (guitars), both of whom were formerly of Abattoir. Cyriis has one of those voices that people either love or hate. Personally I think he's awesome but at the time many felt the melodic vocals didn't fit the thrash music. Twelve years after the release of their last album, the band has reformed with a new vocalist; put out a new CD ("The Omega Conspiracy"), and they performed "Sweet Leaf" on Dwell's Hell Rules: A Tribute to Black Sabbath and "Dark Lady" on a Scorpions tribute. The current lineup consists of vocalist Bruce Duncan, but the rest of the lineup remains pretty much intact from the old days. Their early cd releases were rare and highly sought after by collectors but in 1998 Century Media Gemany re-released all their old material making them more readily available. In May of 2001, the band changed their name to Order Of The Iluminati, due to legal pressure from (their words) "the original vocalist." Apparently whatever legal battles were taking place didn't work out for Cyriis because in 2003 Agent Steel released their second CD with Bruce Duncan under the original name Agent Steel, and instead called the new album "Order of the Illuminati".

Skeptic Apocalypse Agent Steel - Skeptics Apocalypse (Century Media) 1985

1."The Calling" (:48)
2."Agents of Steel" (3:04)
3."Taken by Force" (2:30)
4."Evil Eye/Evil Minds" (3:05)
5."Bleed for the Godz" (3:28)
6."Children of the Sun" (4:53)
7."144,000 Gone" (4:35)
8."Guilty as Charged" (4:59)
9."Back to Reign" (3:23)
10."Calling 98 for Skeptics" (:57)
11."The Unexpected" [live] (5:06)

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.

Mad Locust Rising Agent Steel - Mad Locust Rising EP (Century Media) 1986

1. "(The Swarm is Upon Us)" [instrumental] (:17)
2. "Mad Locust Rising" (4:14)
3. "The Ripper" (2:32)
4. "Let it be Done/The Day at Guyana" (4:39)

This is a KILLER 3 song EP. The standout cut has got to be "Let It Be Done," an Exodus inpired speed metal number with John Cyris simply wailing on top. Of course any band that would cover the mighty Priest is ok with me. This particular cover doesn't stray far from the original, but is still well done. This disc is part of the recent Century Media re-issues in Germany. Of course I had to get it through a good friend as it is not available here at all. This disc is also available on the expanded edition of "Unstoppable Force." This EP was released as part of a box set called "Combat Boot Camp" which also included Dark Angel's "Leave Scars," Impaler's "If We Had Brains", Possessed's "Seven Churches," and a killer compilation also called "Combat Boot Camp."

Unstoppable Force Agent Steel - Unstoppable Force (Century Media) 1987

1. "Unstoppable Force" (3:52)
2. "Never Surrender" (3:52)
3. "Indestructive" (3:30)
4. "Chosen to Stay" (4:46)
5. "Still Searching" (4:12)
6. "Rager" (4:06)
7. "The Day at Guyana" [instrumental] (6:38)
8. "Nothin' Left" (4:22)
9. "Traveler" (3:49)

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.

Omega Conspiracy Agent Steel - Omega Conspiracy (Candlelight) 1999

1. "Destroy the Hush" (4:15)
2. "Illuminati's Machine" (5:00)
3. "Fighting Backwards" (4:55)
4. "New Godz" (3:09)
5. "Know Your Master" (4:48)
6. "Infinity" (5:08)
7. "Awaken the Swarm" (6:56)
8. "Into the Nowhere" (5:10)
9. "Bleed Forever" (5:39)
10. "It's Not What You Think" (6:11)

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.

Order of the Illuminati Agent Steel - Order of the Illuminati (Scarlet Records) 2003

1. "Avenger" (5:29)
2. "10 Fists Of Nations" (7:03)
3. "Earth Under Lucifer" (4:28)
4. "Enslaved" (4:24)
5. "Insurrection" (5:46)
6. "Apocalypse" (5:40)
7. "Dance Of St. Vitus" (4:29)
8. "Forever Black" (1:33)
9. "Dead Eyes" (3:43)
10. "Kontrol" (5:03)
11. "Human Bullet" (5:56)
Agent Steel 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.

Earth Under Lucifer Agent Steel - Earth Under Lucifer (Scarlet) 2003

1. "Earth Under Lucifer" (4:28)
2. "Mad Locust Rising" [live 2003] (4:23)
3. "Unstoppable Force" [live 2003] (3:42)
4. "Agents of Steel" [live 2003] (3:12)

First single from "Order of Illuminati" features the title track and three AWESOME live tracks, all reaching back into the band's first three albums. Bruce Duncan does an excellent job filling in the hard-to-fill shoes of John Cyriis. The band is tight, the mix is excellent. I just wish there were more songs on here. Essential listening for any speed metal fan.

Alienigma Agent Steel - Alienigma (Mascot Records) 2007

1. "Fashioned From Dust " (4:44)
2. "Wash the Planet Clean" (5:25)
3. "Hail to the Chief" (6:37)
4. "Wormwood" (6:08)
5. "Liberty Lying Bleeding" (4:59)
6. "Hybridized 06:06)
7. "Tiamats Fall 05:37)
8. "WPD (World Pandemic Destruction)" (5:23)
9. "Lamb to the Slaughter" (4:08)
10. "Extinct" (3:53)

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)

Back to Index