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Seattle, Washington metallers Skelator offer up their second official full-length, ‘Agents of Power’, and while it’s not a bright, shiny example of the genre, this is still an infectious retro-fueled blast of heavy metal that offers up some nice moments from time to time.
The one immediate reaction to the album is the fact that this one is so retro and infectious that this one could’ve been released in the early '80s and only now been re-issued upon the masses, and is lead by a swirling, old school tone that drives forth memorable and instantly recognizable riffs one after another. With this old school spirit ably produced by all players from the soaring vocals and molten solos to those classic-sounding drums, it provides no shortage of good songs as a whole.
From the intro title track that contains a great mid-tempo section during its soloing section to ‘Dream Deceiver’ that manages to be the epic track with its extended intro, throbbing drum work, and perhaps the best solo work on the entire album, to the rollicking ‘Rhythm of the Chain’ that sounds as if it would’ve been found on a NWOBHM sampler, this one carries itself rather nicely and certainly maintains some nice momentum during its run time. Without doubt, though, the album’s signature track is the thrashy ‘Rubble and Ash’, which certainly packs the most punch and contains a roaring opening as the band lets loose with wild abandon, equaling the band’s best effort on the album.
The main thrust of the album, containing twelve of the sixteen tracks, is an epic-length fantasy story based on Michael Moorcook’s tale ‘Elric: The Dragon Prince (A Tale of Tragic Destiny in 8 Parts)’, which certainly feels connected to the rest of the album in terms of general style and appearance in song style, yet the flowing story provides a framework for keeping everything in a general spirit. The main problem with that, though, is it's totally in sync with the rest of the album, and being as lengthy as it is, could’ve stood to be an album proper with the four intro tracks that have nothing to do with the interpretation had been left off for a separate EP or used for a later album since they’re so similar in theme and I feel this inclusion as is doesn’t really make much sense.
This isn’t all that bad of an album despite this rather odd flaw. Guaranteed to be well-regarded by the old school guard for its reverence to the past as well as those looking for a solid fantasy-based metal album, there’s enough good points to make it worth checking out.