THE UPSIDE: John Cyriis is back!
THE DOWNSIDE: Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles ain’t…
American speed metal merchants Agent Steel will probably go down in history as one of metal’s great ‘what might have been’ stories; burning brightly in the mid eighties for a three year period that spawned some truly great American metal, they then seemed to implode under the sheer weight of public expectation and private, well, mania. Several attempts at relaunching the band with various permutations of original and new members have come and gone over the years, and so we arrive in 2021 with the to-some joyous news that the band are reforming, again!
… Except a reunion this ain’t. As noted at the top of this review, Agent Steel 2021 is just madcap vocalist John Cyriis and some other guys, of whom more later on. But that said, this combination of musos does at least give this thing it’s best shot, with this resultant album being not half the car crash it might have been given Cyriis’ troubled reputation.
The man himself is in good form – I’ve seen comments elsewhere that say he’s using a lot of autotune on this record but as a non-musician/studio nerd I gotta say it’s not that detectable to an untutored ear – and with strong cuts like Sonata Cósmica, Veterans of Disaster and Outer Space Connection the band does at least manage to draw a line of connection back to the classic era of Agent Steel.
Props, then must go not only to our hero but also to guitarists Nikolay Atanasov and Vinicius Carvalho and rhythm buddies Shuichi Oni (bass) and drummer Rasmus Kjær, all of whom do their darndest to create some truly vicious speed metal attack! I don’t know about Oni, but none of the other guys were even born when Agent Steel were going around originally, so the job they’ve done here in recreating the feel of the band from back in the day does deserve some commendation.
As always, Cyriis courts a lot of controversy, not to say derision, with everything he does, and many people will feel themselves unable to give this album a chance. And that’s a shame, because while it definitely ain’t no Unstoppable Force, No Other Godz Before Me ain’t that bad of an album overall. Maybe give it a try for yourself and see what you think…
No Other Godz Before Me is out now.