Review Summary: These agents know how to fuckin' thrash.
With so many exceptional thrash bands emerging out of the 80’s it can be quite easy to overlook some of the talent. However, few bands in the genre were able to release a debut as relentless as Agent Steel did with Skeptics Apocalypse.
Combining influences of speed metal and thrash, their debut has no shortage of high-pitched screams or jaw-dropping solos.
The album’s only real fault is that not all the songs live up to the first few tracks. This isn’t surprising, however, as the opening tracks are top-notch and truly set the bar high for the rest of the album. To set the tone for the listener things start out with some science-fiction based dialogue before the riffs come bursting out of the gates. Vocalist John Cyriis is highly impressive but his performance is perhaps better than ever on ‘Agents of Steel’ and the following track. He hits all the high notes perfectly and even sounds eerily similar to King Diamond at times, especially on ‘Taken By Force.’ However, it’s his ability to flawlessly combine some evil raspy growls in with his usual screams that takes this album to the next level. A perfect example of this would be the furious ’Evil Eye/Evil Minds’ which is sure to even please fans of black metal with some of Cyriis’ hoarsest, most satanic vocals on the album. His varied vocal performance along with blistering solos and heavy riffs manage to keep the momentum going for the rest of the album. It riffs unapologetically from track to track with ease and the drummer does his best to keep up with the pace.
Whether you prefer to call it speed metal or thrash, there’s no denying that listening to Agent Steel is an exhilarating experience. From the ridiculously fast-paced guitars to the unforgiving vocal performance, Skeptics Apocalypse
is one of the better albums the genre has to offer. The lyrics about alien conspiracies and the subtle melodies are just the icing on the cake. Then again, maybe they were abducted by aliens because these agents know how to ***ing thrash with the best of them and their debut is certainly not of this world.