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Not very often does a band I grew up with succeed in making me smile wide when the opening chords of a new album are implemented, but Agent Steel has proven there is much life beyond John Cyriis. All I might muster right now is a few properly-placed "Holy shits" and the obligatory head bobbing associated with my love of all things metal. This is a monster release, my friends!
I was one of the last holdouts when I heard Steel was going on without headcase Cyriis at the helm, but the band has done nothing but surprise and delight these aged ears! I was surprised to see my esteemed fellow reviewer, Empyreal's, association with Nevermore. Let me say, I hail all things Nevermore and yes, I hear the technical side of the Seattle guys in this, but Steel has its own touches on their music on Alienigma, believe me! Yes, some may call this the "sell-out" record, but might I remind them of St. Anger, the Black Album and Loads one and two? If this is a sellout record I'm all for being he newest bandwagon rider. I may even go as far as to say that I prefer vocalist Bruce Hall over John Cyriis, but I also equate that to being older and ruined by all of the crap high vocals called power metal these days. If I hear one more stroke from Germany try to be Kai Hansen or Michael Kiske I'll open a vein! While Cyriis had a place back in the day, the new dawn is Hall and co.
The power behind this release does, indeed, remind one of parts of Godless Endeavor and possibly Dreaming Neon Black by Nevermore, but the comparisons are limited because Steel simply shreds everything around it with this album, and that's just a fact. Also it should be noted that if we metalheads had bands with such stellar production back in the day we'd all be hearing a lot less than we do now.
For a taste of true metal at its finest grab this and play it until the walls of your house bleed!