|Agent Steel - Alienigma
31 August 2007
01. Fashioned From Dust
02. Wash The Planet Clean
03. Hail To The Chief
04. Liberty Lying Bleeding
08. W.P.D. ( World Pandemic Destruction)
09. Tiamat's Fall
10. Lamb To The Slaughter
Four years after Order Of The Illuminati the masters of metal, agents of steel are back with a vengeance. At times faster and more furious than on their previous two outings with Bruce Hall on vocals, and with a clear yet heavy and modern production and mix by the legendary thrash producer Bill Metoyer.
Agent Steel have never been famous for their artwork (in my opinion only the mini Mad Locust Rising has decent artwork) but what Alienigma's cover offers us is truly atrocious. Sorry, but this cover once again shows that in this modern day and age not much thought and effort is put into the artwork. I say: Death to Photoshop and Paint, back to the art days of yore. But it's not about the artwork, thank God. It's still about the music, right? And in this case there's absolutely nothing wrong with it. What we get is still signature Agent Steel, which, let's be honest, has also always been defined by the guitars of Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles besides John Cyriis' vocals on the first two albums. Signature Agent Steel, albeit a different sort of monster now, much more modern sounding without losing its foothold in the eighties. But I can already hear some people starting to moan and complain that this is way too modern and that it's a sell-out. Well, if this is considered sell-out so be it and please crawl back into your cave and just play the old classics over and over again and stay ignorant. Ignorance is bliss, isn't it? Okay, enough moaning on my part.
Back to Alienigma. Alienigma kicks off with a nice up-tempo Fashioned By Dust, which is followed by one of the prize tracks of this album, Wash The Planet Clean, my God, what a memorable riff here and also the rest of the guitar work, showing the Garcia Versailles tandem at their fiery best. All songs are characterised by Garcia and Versailles versatile riffing and soloing and by Bruce Hall's flexible vocals, never reaching the heights and yelps of the man everyone will always talk about when referring to Agent Steel, Cyriis, but for many a listener Bruce Hall will certainly be more pleasing to the ear. Talking only about Garcia, Versailles, and Hall, doesn't do any justice to the rhythm section, of Karlos Medina (bass) and Rigo Amezcua (drums), which is as tight as a duck's ass.
US Power/Thrash of the finest order, usually up-tempo and thrashy as hell, like in the eighties, and at other times mid-tempo and slightly reminiscent of good old Crimson Glory (especially on Wormwood where certain vocal lines do remind me of the once mighty Midnight singing). Modern sounding without going off the edge and still firmly planted in the eighties that's what Alienigma offers.
Stand-out tracks: Fashioned From Dust, Wash The Planet Clean, Hail To The Chief, Wormwood, Tiamat's Fall