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144 await the opening, opening of the door! - 92%

cyclone, April 7th, 2005

It's 1985. Five aliens from outer space land in L.A. and decide to make a heavy metal band. They grow some hair, buy some guitars and they name themselves Agent Steel. Out to the studio they go and they make one of the greatest speed metal records to date. They name it Skeptics Apocalypse.

Seriously, this is the debut record from the alienish (god, I love to invent new words) Agent Steel. The first thing you notice here is definitely the total speed attack which kicks you in the nuts right in the first song (excluding the little intro). The basics of Agent Steel are in the true US heavy/power metal in the vein of, let's say Metal Church - they just make it 100 times faster. The production isn't bad for '85.

The first thing you'll notice on Skepticz will probably be the vocal performance of the mad screamer, Cyriis. I think the whole alien idea was also his. He's also known to be very mysterious and a bit erratic. Well nevertheless, he's a great singer. His screams are out of this world and his voice tone fits perfectly into the music of Agent Steel. The guitarist do a good job here. The riffs are catchy, fast and quite varied and the solos are as melodic as they should be. There are also some very good leads to be found here. Bass isn't that audible and drums are just standard speed metal drums, you won't find anything new here.

The album is well balanced, but the best songs are still concentrated in the first half of it. After the intro, The Calling, Agents Of Steel kicks in. A fan favourite and a live staple has everything you would expect from a speed metal anthem. It's fast, catchy and really fun to sing along (especially in the chorus). It goes the same for Evil Eye / Evil Minds. Bleed For The Godz is probably the best song on the record. It starts off with some crazy riffage and then continues into a full out speed attack. The chorus of this song is one of the best things ever made in power/speed metal. 144,000 Gone has a slightly more epic feel to it and it's just a little slower than the previous songs. It's still one of the highlights on here.

So, let's see. Blazing speed - check. Mad riffage - check. Sing along choruses - check. Slightly insane frontman - check. Interesting lyrics - check. Yep, it's definitely speed metal. And yeah, it's Agent Steel. Recommended!