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Extraterrestrial Intervention Puts an End to the Madnezz - 95%

bayern, March 26th, 2021

Wow, there’s an end to any saga it seems; even the most twisting one… a sigh of relief for sure provided that at some stage it wasn’t certain at all what Cyriis was planning to do… releasing one track every three months… teasing the audience, or leaking the album in a serialized manner ala the crime/mystery novels from the newspapers some 100 years earlier? Because, if was the latter case, if, say, the man has a dozen compositions ready, by releasing one every three months he will have provided the whole album to the fanbase in the span of three years. A blissful projection indeed! Arm yourself with patience, drink only good beer, eat healthy anti-junk food, stay away from the pernicious corona virus epidemic, and boom… in just three years you have the new Agent Steel opus in its entirety. The wait is finally over…

yep, that was a very probable scenario considering Cyriis’ unpredictable persona. Thank god(z) it never came about. I should have been the first to jump this wagon, largely due to the Bulgarian connection (the guitar wizard Nikolay Artanasov) in the new line-up, but I see two other godz before me, one coming straight out of hell for the purpose, that have already poured their emotions. Cause there’s quite a bit to pour, truth be told… the three tracks offered earlier were an awesome teaser, no doubt, but we still had to wait and see if Cyriis would be able to pull it off without Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles shredding odes about tucked-away aliens and far-reaching conspiracies in his ear.

Well, he did pull it off without those two; and not only but this new team seem very well-equipped to finally reach those constellations that Cyriis has been writing about; and let’s all cross fingers Cyriis manages to keep them at close range this time. With another gifted axeman partnering the already mentioned Bulgarian, namely the Brazilian Vinicius Carvalho, the Agent Steel machine takes off with fuel to spare, serving an exemplary no-bars held speed metal attack quite reminiscent of the one from their mythical debut. Yes, this isn’t “Unstoppable Force II”; there are neither atmospheric balladic musings along the lines of “Taveller” nor larger-than-life all-instrumental odysseys akin to “The Day at Guyana”… this is a stripped-down homogenous assault on the senses, a speedy freighter that breezes by, wrapped in a dramatic all-instrumental package (the “Passage/Entrance to Afron-V” intro/outro), this one also underlying the alien, extraterrestrial concept. Text-wise this can totally be expected by Cyriis, his favourite themes propelled by the hyper-active musical delivery which hits the high-speed parametres with “Crypts of Galactic Damnation” and never looks back. Rapidfire riffs, flying solos, screaming crescendos, a couple of more intricate embellishments, the six-stringers shredding like demented and with overtly exhibited enthusiasm, the subversive bass support coming out of the hands of the Japanese vigilante Shuichi Oni, the same one who joined Cyriis for the short-lived Stellar Seed initiative some 20 years earlier.

There’s an end to the madnezz… sorry, madness, mind you, “Veterans of Disaster” being a heavy dark offering recalling Sanctuary’s “Into the Mirror Black”, an effective slower-paced fare that does stand its ground even in the presence of high velocity representations like the galloping pulverizer “Carousel of Vagrant Souls”, this one a great reminder of “Never Surrender” and “Rager” from “Unstoppable Force”. Cyriis assists the lofty musical manoeuvres with his traditionally high-strung tenor, occupying the higher registers for a large portion of the time, to a pretty positive effect, sometimes sounding like a just-unleashed-from-a-bottle genie. But that should be the spirit, the man has been residing in the shadows for way too long, and his eagerness to display his vocal bravado is quite obvious, the latter put under a more levelled mid-ranged control on the mentioned “Veterans of Disaster”. He even sings in Portuguese (“Sonata Cosmica”, “The Incident”) reminding of his roots, firmly walking down the memory lane both music and lyric-wise… a full-on retrospection mayhem he stirs as a result to the listener’s utter delight.

So Agent Steel did return eventually, with flying colours at that. A big sigh of relief from the fans who were never sure as to how exactly this perilously vacillating saga would end. Cyriis simply had no right to make a mistake; there was no room for one… and he didn’t, bringing the sound back to the band’s early days. Quite honestly, there was little wrong with the Garcia and Versailles collaboration with Bruce Hall; in fact, each of the three instalments released with him behind the mike is a fairly decent fare; only that they sound more like a new trajectory started than faithful Agent Steel sequels. No new trajectories here, this is the good old speed metal the way we’ve always liked it, and we don’t really need more, not from this batch anyway…

but Cyriis has to promise that he’ll retain this line-up for future exploits. This musicians’ rotation has to stop… cause only a united monolithic force is the one that can’t be stopped. And, how do you plan to reach these galaxies far far away with a perennially-shifting crew? How do you expect to steer the ship in the right direction… not to mention the always lurking possibility of disappointing these godz over there…. who recognize no whimsicality and flippancy… but only stolid unwavering loyalty.