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John Cyriis, Post-Agent Steel, Take 2 - 91%

Jophelerx, June 23rd, 2016

I really, really wanted to title this review 'Are you Cyriis?' but ultimately I decided to stick with my 'John Cyriis, Post-Agent Steel' series theme, so there you go. I had to stick that pun in somewhere, though.

Anyway, Black Reign. As with all things John Cyriis, this is weird, weird stuff. This is weirder than Pontius Prophet but not quite as weird as Stellar Seed, supporting a theory that Cyriis's material just got weirder and weirder as time went on (which makes me even more eager to see Cyriis release something new!). I'd say this is ultimately the best of Cyriis's post-Agent Steel projects, though it's pretty hard to judge it against the one song released under Stellar Seed. This is really ambitious power/speed metal with weird, frantic, washed-out riffs, not dissimilar from those on Stellar Seed. Cyriis uses a lot of multi-tracking and his voice is even more full of helium than usual. The production is murky and distant, but if anything this adds to the epic alien atmosphere. The riffs are probably the best we've heard from a Cyriis project since Agent Steel's Skeptics Apocalypse, which is a great feat indeed. What we've got here is just nonstop speed metal wizardry, a dark, oppressive atmosphere, and Cyriis wailing with such insanity and pitch that it seems as though perhaps helium were injected directly into his veins and he's struggling to exhale it out. If you like anything Cyriis has done, listen to this, it's utterly overlooked stuff that deserves more attention from USPM and speed metal fans, standing strong against almost any speed metal release you'd care to raise. Long live Cyriis!