AGENT STEEL – Order Of The Illuminati

AGENT STEEL - Order Of The Illuminati


Psyclops One Music/Terrorama Music
Release date: June 10, 2003

User Review
0/10 (0 votes)

Agent Steel still has something to prove. They debuted and released music at the same time as their thrash brethren Exodus, Dark Angel and Anthrax back in 1985, but never truly reached their potential, nor saw the success they deserved. Almost 20 years after their debut, Agent Steel offers us Order of the Illuminati, and maybe this time, people will shut up and listen.

If you remember Agent Steel by their Mad Locust Rising days, you won’t be let down, but they do have a different singer. Original vocalist John Cyriis got plenty of raves back in the day, but new vocalist Bruce Hall more than compensates. In fact, Cyriis used to sing like he could barely control his voice. Hall seems to have tethered his vocal cords while hitting the same extremes that Cyriis did, so if you really listen, it’s an upgrade.

The CD starts with a song that will bring you back to the ‘80s thrash scene, called “Avenger.” You will get an old Anthrax vibe here, but since Anthrax isn’t playing anything close to this heavy anymore, it’s a welcome sound. The vocals during the chorus are the highlight here, but after the first chorus, you’ll hear some wicked guitars, deep thumping on the drums, and the giddiness starts: Agent Steel really IS back. This song has everything, including major attitude.

One thing that always held Agent Steel apart from their kin is their lyrics. They always told a story, usually with a science fiction slant, and it doesn’t stop here. “Earth Under Lucifer,” is a song about, well, in their words, “a world trapped in light where the shadow will shine.” It is an interesting composition, as they invite you to “say your prayers, as your name turns to numbers.” Almost like we are all slaves … which leads us to the next song, “Enslaved.” Here, the song says that the true lie is “The King of Kings,” and the crucifixion, and that we are all slaves to fear. The musicianship in this song is very intense, but you need to read along to get the full effect, especially at the poignant end of the song saying, “Though freedom surrounds you, you stay our slave … and we stay right here.”

They finally slow down the thrash parade on the song “Insurrection,” and here you’ll hear Hall at his best. This song is slower, melodic yet eerie, and again, tells a tale. This, or maybe “Avenger,” is the best song on the CD. “Insurrection” shows they can change speeds and still, for lack of a better word, ROCK. Plus, they do tear it up at the end of the song, so you have the best of both worlds.

The CD also has two instrumental on it, a bass solo called “Dance of St. Vitus,” and “Kontrol.” These are probably two songs where you’ll wonder why they bothered, especially with the long-ish “Kontrol.”

But, if you don’t care about lyrics, and just want a full-on thrash fest, go to “Forever Black.” This actually has a “Mad Locust Rising” feel to it. This song is a true frenzy, just breakneck drums, feral guitars and impressively strong vocals. Juan Garcia is a true talent on guitar. The weird part about the song is how it starts so heavy, and almost changes into another song completely by the end. You’ll see that they can be intricate in their compositions if they want to.

When you look at bands that have been around this long, like Metallica or even Aerosmith, you’ll see that after a while, they lose hold of their roots. They forget where they came from, and regardless of the fact the masses still love them, their 1980’s version of themselves WOULDN’T like their 2000 version. In Agent Steel’s case, they’d be proud to know what they’d sound like 20 years after the fact.

Be the first to comment

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published.


This site is protected by reCAPTCHA and the Google Privacy Policy and Terms of Service apply.

The reCAPTCHA verification period has expired. Please reload the page.