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Skelator are a cool band comprised of a bunch of cool guys who clearly love their fantasy, (particularly their Moorcock) and here on their third full-length release Agents of Power, they unleash a barrage of epic heavy metal. Straight off the bat this is going to appeal to fans of eighties metal, and particularly fans of the “true metal” scene.
“You are listening to Skelator, the king of fear” proclaims the promo voice-over on Agents of Power. I’m not usually one to delve into promo voice-overs but I have to say that this voice-over here is awesome, and doesn’t detract from my enjoyment at all. I’m pretty sure it’s their actual singer – don’t quote me on that – which is just great. Agents of Power is an album of two parts; the first four tracks are stand alone ass kickers, whilst everything following is a massive concept piece about our favourite albino bad-ass Elric.
The first four tracks are pure and unadulterated head-banging eighties style heavy metal. Jason Conde-Houston’s vocals are very fun and charismatic. His vocal style is one I tend to associate with any eighties band who championed high fantasy style lyrics, and he can switch well between powerful high notes and a more aggressive lower register, in places reminding of James Rivera. The production is natural and old school, which is exactly what is needed here on Agents of Power: the guitar tone has that perfect early eighties feel to it which really benefits the riffs. Speaking of which, the riffs are leads are great fun here, totally cut from the Maiden/Priest/Jag Panzer/Helstar cloth. The rhythm section is ace too, with a solid drum battery and thundering, rumbling bass.
The massive Elric concept piece is enough to have been packaged as an album in its own right. The band shows how much they’ve honed their skills and talents over the years and the whole piece comes off as very mature and proud. Skelator avoids a good number of conceptual pit falls and lets the music do the talking, which is commendable. It’s good to see their reliance on the basic tools of the trade, as opposed to throwing in anything that might have looked fancy in the studio. Expect fist-raising guitar leads and harmonies, head pounding rhythms, and scream-along vocal lines throughout.
Agents of Power is a superb third release from a band that I hope to see go a long way. Skelator are the real deal, and if bands such as Skullview, Slough Feg, and Dexter Ward are choice amongst your collection, then Skelator are a band you need to become acquainted with straight away. Recommended!
Originally written for http://blackwindmetal.com