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In an era that very few people still consider them the "Masters of Metal", Agent Steel still carries on the legacy of quality Heavy Metal. By about half of the fans (including myself), the band's last two efforts, 'Omega Conspiracy' (1999) and 'Order Of The Illuminati' (2003), are considered as good or maybe even better than their work in the eighties. The other half is especially disappointed in Bruce Hall's vocals and true...Bruce isn't a wailer like John Cyriis, but he fits the material perfectly and outdoes his predecessor in my humble opinion.
So after four albums, the band finally thought it was time for a proper DVD, which they filmed in my home country Holland, which apparently is their favorite place to play. Two shows were filmed, one at the Dynamo Pre Party in Eindhoven on June 4th 2004 and one at the Dynamo Open Air festival, the next day. The latter show was picked as the main feature for this DVD.
Well, starting out with that one, the Dynamo show shows a solid band that is the proof that Heavy Metal doesn't always have to be boring and cliché to have a right to exist in the early 21st century. The band does some stellar performances of classics like 'Unstoppable Force', 'Bleed For The Godz' and 'Agents Of Steel' as well as some of their best songs of the last two albums, including 'Illuminati Is Machine', 'New Godz' (surprise, surprise!) and the incredible 'Ten Fists Of Nations', the best Heavy Metal song to be released in the year of 2003. The only complaint can be Bruce's vocals, Bruce has definitely done some better shows, but the band was cool enough to not overdub those. Also, some other minor mistakes (some of which you will only hear if you're a musician) were left in the performance and that just decorates the honesty of the band. And even though every single band member is super, hearing and seeing Bernie Versailles play is just something special.
During the Dynamo show, the band also played a new tune called 'Wash The Planet Clean', which is pretty much in the vein of the last two albums, but shows a little more maturity in songwriting. Hell, it even shows Bruce Hall grunting! If this song gives a good overall impression for the new record, we can expect another amazing Heavy Metal album.
Onward to the bonus features then...first of all there are two songs filmed during the Dynamo Pre Party (which are especially fun for me since I can see myself in the crowd), being 'Children Of The Sun' and 'Mad Locust Rising', the latter of which I don't understand why it wasn't in the main feature. The same as the main feature goes for those tracks; some minor mistakes, but basically solid and cool. The tracks do show why that show wasn't chosen as the main feature; the lighting on Bernie Versailles' side of the stage is so poor, the Bernie almost doesn't appear. Even during his solos, you see Juan Garcia playing the rhythm parts (which he is extremely good at by the way!).
The other two bonus tracks were taken from the 2003 Bonded By Metal tour, 'Avenger' was recorded in Antwerp on October 11th and 'Earth Under Lucifer' in Eindhoven a day earlier (another show I attended). Both songs are like professional bootleg videos; filmed from one angle and a slightly worse sound quality than the other songs, but fun and good enough!
All together, the technical freaks out there will be disappointed in this DVD. There's nothing fancy out there; no Dolby 5.1 surround sound, no backstage footage or band documentary, no multi-angle bonus songs...none of that, but to me, this is just a solid and incredibly fun DVD, an honest representation of a band I love and whose live shows have pulled me out of the dark several times.
To close it all of, I'd like to use a quote Bruce Hall uses on the DVD: "I hope you will go spread the word that Agent Steel in deed exists and will come to pound your fucking ass to the ground!"