1. Unstoppable Force
2. Never Surrender
4. Chosen To Stay
5. Still Searchin’
7. The Day At Guyana
8. Nothin' Left
It was a hot summer’s day and I had returned home from seeing my fiancée the night before. I was all skanky and sleep deprived. I was greeted by a small package that had been delivered, lying on the floor behind the front door. I had planned on hitting the sack, but when I opened the package, I discovered my brand new copy of Agent Steel’s 1987 supersonic opus “Unstoppable Force” – it had been lovingly re-released by Century Media back in 1999, though I had only recently become aware of the band’s existence, I’d been after this one for a while. I quickly tore off that annoying cellophane wrapping they put on CDs and slam dunked the disc into my big ass JVC boom box. Up went the volume to 30 and bass to 6 (which is the maximum levels on my player – loud as fuck!), I then pressed play and literally decimated the neighbourhood!
The title track “Unstoppable Force” has to be one of the greatest speed metal/thrash recordings in history. I would never hesitate to slap it onto a list of top songs within the metal genre and it’d always feature quite highly, as it’s so damn powerful. It simply pummels you into oblivion! The frenzied guitar riff of Juan Garcia comes pounding in like a goddamn sledgehammer and literally batters the fuck out your ears, the stereo and the whole house! “Unstoppable Force” is so tight and precise, it’s an absolute joy – I swear I have played that track thousands upon thousands of times and constantly at full blast. It just has to be done and it never gets old. Everything on this platter is immense plain and simple without ever sounding dated, even singer Jon Cyriis’s bizarre anthropological/astrological based lyrics: “Bloodpools of tears, the gods cussed forever/the walls of Giza, their message was so clear” – What the fuck!? From the start people, this is metal that commands unequivocal worship…
“Rager” is my other personal favourite and it is most certainly a standout. There’s even more to love here, with a big beefy chugging riff and the unique and interesting delivery of singer Jon Cyriis (sounding like a possessed chicken!) as he offers additional wild musings from his whacked out brain-box: “Bow of the cynic, whistle your fear/signals of warning, message from space/hammering metal into your heads” How fucking awesome is that line right there! “Hammering metal into your heads” – it does not get any cooler than that does it? The other big track is the instrumental “The Day At Guyana”. Most people scoff at instrumentals and perhaps think they are just filler pieces, but even though that may be the case at times, this one is fantastic. The guitar work is extremely classy and deserves a listen. Things do get a little subdued with “Still Searchin’” and “Traveler”, but that does not mean they lack quality at all. You will find zero filler here my friends, just insanely good metal.
Lead vocalist Jon Cyriis really was totally bat-shit crazy, but boy did he have a stunning vocal range! He used to have a split personality (often changing his name), referred to himself as the “communicative channel”, was obsessed with UFOs, the Illuminati and Bermuda Triangle and it’s rumoured he once tried to force the rest of the band to get Agent Steel tattoos! I’m considering compiling some kind of bat-shit crazy hall of fame, so he’s pretty much going to be entrant numero uno. Cyriis, later going by the name Max Kobol seems to have fallen off the face of the earth since 1993 after a few unsuccessful playing partnerships folded. No one knows his location or if he’s still involved in music. Last that was heard, he had jaunted off to Japan for a while, but he’s been completely AWOL now for nigh on 17 years...
If aliens do exist and they have managed to craft musical instruments and happen to play metal, then it’ll probably sound exactly like Agent Steel. Hell, I bet that’s where former lead vocalist Jon Cyriis actually is right now – in a galaxy far, far away jamming with a bunch of denim and leather clad extra terrestrials! Agents Steel’s brand of power/thrash is utterly out of this world. There’s not much you can compare it to. Most listeners would hear a resemblance to Queensryche and Iron Maiden I suppose, that is, if both bands were strung out on amphetamines and hooked on blast beats. “Unstoppable Force” garnered an astounding 91 points in Metal Forces magazine upon its release, received incredible reviews across Europe and is the place to start when first accessing Agent Steel. You must, I repeat, YOU MUST hear this record!
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