"Order of the Illuminati" (The End Records; 2003)

Reviewed by R. Scott Bolton

If you've never heard Agent Steel before, you're going to have two questions for yourself once you've heard "Order of the Illuminati": 

1) Where have these guys been hiding?

2) Where can I hear more?

The fact of the matter is that Agent Steel haven't been hiding. They've been out there, for nearly 20 years now, and have somehow missed the breaks that have turned other metal bands into supergroups. The line-up has been in nearly constant change since the band first took form, but Agent Steel never neglected their pure, heavy metal sound. 

This latest incarnation of Agent Steel is no exception. "Order of the Illuminati" sounds like "Powerslave"-era Iron Maiden with a modern day attitude. If you're as big a fan as I am of "Powerslave," then you know that's no faint praise. Guitars alternate between chunky riffs and blistering leads, the drums are fast and heavy and the bass pumps like a metal heart racing full tilt. The vocals are in the style of Maiden's Bruce Dickinson but have a soaring sound all their own. (In fact, for my money, "Order of the Illuminati" blows away the last Iron Maiden CD).

There isn't a bad song on the CD, with the standouts including "Avenger," "Apocalypse (World Without Windows)," the raging "Forever Black" and the instrumental "Kontrol" (which begins with a very appropriate clip from the classic "Outer Limits" television program).

Like Cage, Agent Steel is some of the best heavy metal you've never heard. Do yourself a favor and check out "Order of the Illuminati" now.

Agent Steel: Bruce Hall, vocals; Juan Garcia, lead and rhythm guitars; Bernie Versailles, lead, rhythm guitars and vocals harmonies; Karlos Medina, bass; Rigo Amezcua, drums.

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"Omega Conspiracy" (Metal Blade; 1999)

Reviewed by Snidermann

Metal Blade has done it again with Agent Steel and their release "Omega Conspiracy." "Omega Conspiracy" is intense, straight-to-the-heart metal that literally explodes from the speakers. The music is very reminiscent of classic Judas Priest with an unique dark and contorted twist that is nothing short of ingenious (there's even a striking cover of Priest's "Beyond The Realms Of Death").  

From the first track, you really know that you are listening to something special. Everything fits perfectly into place - the vocals; the stinging guitars; the thundering bass; the powerful drums. All elements combine to make Agent Steel a metal force that is simply awesome.  

Agent Steel is truly one of the best bands I've heard recently. If you like your metal fast and in your face, I suggest you go to your record store and buy Agent Steel right now. Then, play it at 10! You wont regret it!

Agent Steel: Bruce Hall - vocals; Bernie Versailles - guitars; Juan Garcia - guitars; Chuck Profus - drums; Karlos Medina - bass.   

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Rating Guide:

A classic. This record will kick your ass.

Killer. Not a classic but it will rock your world.

So-so. You've heard better.

Pretty bad. Might make a nice coaster.

Self explanatory. Just the sight of the cover makes you wanna hurl.

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Copyright 2003 by R. Scott Bolton. All rights reserved.
Revised: 02 Oct 2023 21:56:12 -0400.