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Different, but not worse - 90%

chuck_phantom, February 28th, 2009

I won't lie; I got into this band by first hearing the Alienigma album. After finally obtaining this disc full of edge and assertive strength, I immediately recruited to several metal message boards, and I was a bit shocked to read that Agent Steel "used to be so much better".

After digging and hearing the sounds of Skeptics Apocalypse, Omega Conspiracy, and Order of the Illuminati (all great albums mind you), I felt safe to say that this was a more pleasant change than that of other bands. Since some people would refer to Agent Steel as a power metal band, and a lot of power metal bands seem to want to make progressive metal (or perhaps more money), I don't feel that the new, more thrash direction of Agent Steel is too terribly different from a speed/power direction. Their lyrics haven't lost their anarchic state of mind, and they still make me really think.

The album starts off with a fast and equally hard song, "Fashioned From Dust". The song was very well put together, particularly the vocals from what I notice. Most other bands who might play this style really make me wish they were using death grunts instead. I also must comment on "Liberty Lying Bleeding", while their guitar riffs at the beginning of the song might at first seem out of place, it very well blends into the music. The rest of the instruments very well match the guitar solo of this song. It's a rush to hear the drums thrash about during the solo so appropriately. I'd also have to say "Wash This Planet Clean" was remade better than their previous version. The production seems more full, and the song seems better done as far as creating metal music goes.

The skills of the band members aren't something to ignore either. While Bruce may not win too many singing contests, he really knows how to make the sound work. The drum playing is my favorite. It balances the music out great, with all the fills, and the fact that he can actually stay on beat. You won't get less skill than you should expect from a veteran metal band.

I rate this album a 90. While I'm not here try to improve the average rating of this album, I want to point out the greatness of these songs. After hearing what Kreator has to offer, listening to the new stuff from Testament, having seen Resistance (US) play live, I couldn't say there's a thrash album that I've heard that is better than Alienigma. As far as the earlier albums from Agent Steel, they had a great sound then, but I am really loving this new sound too.