Agent Steel - Alienigma
Mascot Records
Technical Thrash/Power Metal
10 songs (53:00)
Release year: 2007
Agent Steel Home Page, Mascot Records
Reviewed by Jeff
Album of the month

It's been a long time since I've heard a really good thrash metal album. Alienigma by Agent Steel has finally ended my wait! Not since Tempo of the Damned by Exodus has there been a thrash metal album with the same type of staying power. The latest offering from Agent Steel is doing a mighty fine job at re-creating that same feel!

What I like to call the Agent Steelogy (the Agent Steel Trilogy if you will), Alienigma is the third full length release with vocalist Bruce Hall. Out of the three releases with Hall, Alienigma comes a close second for me when compared to Order of the Illuminati, my favorite of the three.

Alienigma is an album that sounds like a cross between something from Exodus and Heathen; fellow California Bay Area Thrashers of Agent Steel.

What I love about Agent Steel is that they are a much better band today then they were back in the mid eighties. They have a much tighter unit and stronger song writing skills with better production values. From the barrage of blistering duel guitar leads and riffs and the intense drum pounding and double bass footwork to the extended range of the vocals and amazing bass guitar playing, Alienigma reinforces all of these traits from beginning to end.

One of the first things I noticed that seemed a little different from the last two Agent Steel releases is the vocals of Bruce Hall. At first, I wasn't even sure if it was him because he is singing in a much lower register on many of the songs. By this, I mean he sounds alot more raw and gruff, almost death metal style at times, even sounding like Bobby "Blitz" Ellsworth from Overkill. Yet he can still sing in the ranges which are similar to a Geoff Tate of Queensr├┐che or a Rob Halford of Judas Priest. At first, it took me a while to accept this new vocal style but with several listens, it quickly grows on you and you come to accept it. Hall truly shows how versatile of a vocalist he can be more so on this album than any of the other Agent Steel releases so far.

The driving force on Alienigma is the guitar playing of Bernie Versailles and Juan Garcia. These two are one of the best thrash metal guitar teams out there. These guys still manage to come up with tons of killer riffs that are crushing and aggressive as hell yet incorporate melody which makes for a more emotional feel to what is being played. I also like the tone of the guitars. They have a slight metallic edge to them with a modern thrash sound.

As far as the bass guitar, I can actually hear what is being played. And the drum work is reminiscent of the type of playing by other great thrash drummers like Dave Lombardo of Slayer and Tom Hunting of Exodus; speedy, precise, furious and full of energy and power. The drums will surely get your feet stomping and fingers tapping! The mix on this album is just right, thanks to the excellent production talents of Bill Metoyer.

The album cover artwork is the best yet (artwork by Dimitri Patelis). It depicts an alien towering over a crystal ball of some sort. And the subject matter of the song writing continues to incorporate themes of science fiction.

Alienigma is Agent Steel's heaviest album to date. It is a strong contender for a place in my top fifteen of 2007. I highly recommend you check it out!

 

 

Killing Songs :

Fashioned From Dust, Wash The Planet Clean, Hail To The Chief, Hybridized, Lamb To The Slaughter

Jeff quoted 90 / 100
Crims quoted 92 / 100
Other albums by Agent Steel that we have reviewed:
Agent Steel - Swarm Over London - Live At The Hammersmith Odeon 1987 reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
Agent Steel - Earth Under Lucifer - EP reviewed by Jeff and quoted no quote
Agent Steel - Order Of The Illuminati reviewed by Jeff and quoted 86 / 100
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