AGENT STEEL – Alienigma

AGENT STEEL - Alienigma
  • 6/10
    AGENT STEEL - Alienigma - 6/10


Mascot Records
Release date: September 14, 2007

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Agent Steel is, of course, among the many bands that in the eighties released a couple (or slightly more) studio outputs, were inactive throughout a good chunk of the nineties only to re-emerge when more people could actually be bothered to listen to Metal again. Like some of these bands, Agent Steel did so with a new line-up and a partially new musical scope to show off because of it. Whereas ancient Agent Steel specialized in Speed Metal with high-pitched vocals, the current incarnation are a much heavier and darker entity all together. Reforming the band without its former singer John Cyriis and taking on a new, more modern direction caused the usual flare, “enraging” many old-scholars who probably see the band using their established banner for riding on solely name recognition purposes. Whereas such is possible that more people than not disapprove of an Agent Steel without Cyriis, and likewise are confused with the modern leanings of today’s band, the works produced since the reformation, namely Omega Conspiracy (1999) and especially Order of the Illuminati (2003) stand as mighty impressive outputs by themselves and could be judged as a new band entirely, serving as a platform for the band to be a force to be reckoned with alongside newer bands in the Power/Thrash field as well.

Alienigma has been long in the making. Is it heavy? Oh yes. For pure, fat-patterned matter, Alienigma may prove to be the heaviest and darkest album thus far in the band’s career. As such, it will surely leave fans as divided in their opinions as ever concerning Agent Steel as a valid band today. The negative side of Alienigma is the album fails to maintain a high level of quality … after a promising start with “Fashioned From Dust” and the very impressive “Wash This Planet Clean,” it sort of stalls in progression, and a sense that the album is slightly anonymous creeps in. Either that or Alienigma just isn’t even enough to grab the ears for fifty-three minutes straight. Indeed, though, “Hybridized” slips through the filter, as does “Extinct,” for instance.

Still, this is powerful enough to give a healthy number of bands a run for their money. In songs like “Tiamat’s Fall,” the old Thrash side of the band is alive and well, but presented in a down-tuned present day setting, as is to be expected. “Hail To The Chief” delivers present day Agent Steel as more sonically modern than ever, and one can easily imagine many former admirers wrinkling their nose at this one, whilst others may applaud the band for still being able to come up with new ways to present themselves with their music.

On the whole, as another Agent Steel work, Alienigma fills its purpose and should appeal to the already converted followers of this lineup, but it’s unfortunately not convincing enough to further build on the ground work of its two predecessors, and for the first time since the reformation, proves not to be a notch move up.


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