The discovery of a new band is always exciting. Will it be something you’ve heard countless times? An experience that leaves a bad taste in your mouth? Or is it a treat from which you cannot stop consuming? I wanted to take a trip back in time to reminisce about bands/albums that not only introduced me to heavy music, but kept me coming back for more…
From The Archive: Agent Steel – Unstoppable Force
It’s been a bit of time since I last delved into the genre of thrash/speed, but I would be a fool to completely ignore a genre of metal that pretty much was at the forefront of my everyday listening for quite some time. I was only a young lad when thrash was at it’s highest point, the 80’s. Sure, there is no denying that thrash today is still prominent and one of the top genres of metal, but there is no mistaking how amazing and in your face it was during the 80’s. All the greats where in full force; Sodom, Slayer, Kreator, Metallica, Riot, the list goes on. But rather than cover a band that has no doubt been discussed to death, I’m going with a band that I believe is one of the greatest in the genre, Los Angeles, California’s Agent Steel and their 1987 full-length album, Unstoppable Force.
Agent Steel was formed in 1984 by singer John Cyriis and drummer Chuck Profus, and during their career, they’ve released four full-length albums while undergoing a few line-up changes. But none of their albums, except for maybe their debut album, Skeptics Apocalypse, even comes close to the, dare I say it, the unstoppable classic, Unstoppable Force. This album had it all, an aggressive atmosphere, amazing riffs, solid rhythm section, and a soaring vocalist. Speaking of vocals, one of the most notable factors of the band was Cyriis’s high-pitched, Halford-esque vocals. They are a major factor of why this album is what it is, and combined with the amazing guitar duo of Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles, the deep rumble of the bass by Michael Zaputil, and Chuck Profus endless assault on drums, each member brings their talent and creativity to the table to deliver… one of the definitive speed metal albums of all time.
Speed metal itself comes off as a sort of bastard child of thrash and power metal, and while it’s hard to correctly pinpoint which bands could be considered a speed metal band, Agent Steel were one of those few bands that were widely agreed upon to be speed metal. Not thrash or power metal, but pure speed metal. Don’t believe me, or the vast amount of people who happen to agree? Well then feast your ears on the fast paced and aggressive title track, ‘Unstoppable Force’. Caution: You may find yourself head banging uncontrollably.
Agent Steel – ‘Unstoppable Force’
Even with all the speed going on throughout this album, the band manages to slow the tempo down a bit, offering up some more mid-paced moments, which can be heard in ‘Never Surrender’, ‘Chosen To Stay’ and the “ballad” of the album, ‘Still Searching’. The reason these slower tracks hold your attention and work within the confines of the whole album, is because of the astounding vocal talents of John Cyriis. The guy just has this mesmerizing ability to his voice, and he manages to put such a large amount of emotion into his voice without losing a bit of the aggression.
Agent Steel – ‘Chosen To Stay’
One of the aspects of the band that appealed to me was their song/lyrical themes of UFO’s and differential Anthropology. It wasn’t unusual for bands to delve into this kind of subject matter, but Agent Steel were awesome at it. As a whole, Unstoppable Force is one of those albums that all fans of metal must listen to. Be it speed metal, power metal, or thrash metal, this album is easily one of the best of any of those genres, and after all these years, it’s still one of my go to metal albums. It’s a classic!
Agent Steel – ‘Rager’