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Agent Steel

No Other Godz Before Me

Review by Gary Hill

This new set from L.A. thrashers finds lead singer Johnny Cyriis as the only member from the 80s lineup. The music here is intense. Cyriis' vocals are rather unique, feeling  somewhere between screamed and sung in a falsetto. They are more in a power metal zone, but with some extreme edge, too. If I had to draw a direct comparison it would be King Diamond, but that's not a perfect comparison. The music here could use a little break from the onslaught in a place or two on the set. There is too much similarity from song to song. It makes it all start to feel like one long song at times. That said, it's still a pleasant listening experience from start to finish. I just think that it might have been even stronger if they'd put a couple slower tunes in the track-list at strategic points to break it up a little.

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Track by Track Review
Passage to Afron-V
There is an echoey spoken voice in what might be Latin as this starts. The sounds of a storm rise up to join after a time. Then a metal guitar joins the fray as they kick out from there. This has a cool mid-tempo groove to it as it kicks into gear. The spoken voice remains, but is relegated to the back of the mix.
Crypts of Galactic Damnation
A fierce and furious thrash riff starts things here. There is a scream on the introduction. The vocals eventually join in earnest. This is a really intense and powerful tune.
No Other Godz Before Me
It seems that they might actually have increased the tempo and intensity here. The vocals have lines that seem to come in at opposite angles. This is pounding, driving and powerful. The guitar solo is smoking hot. It's technical shredding that is also melodic. There is some killer melodic twin guitar work after that solo that is exceptional, too.
The opening of this makes me think of early Metallica. The cut is a screaming hot tune that really screams. I think a good way to wrap your head around this would be what you might get if King Diamond had guested on a song from Metallica's Master of Puppets album.
The Devil's Greatest Trick
The guitar solo on this number is technical and powerful. The song isn't a huge change from the formula of the other tracks, but there are some particularly meaty riffs here. The vocal arrangement is tastefully complex, too.
Sonata Cosmica
The ferocity continues with this trasher. While it's not a big departure, this doesn't feel redundant. If you've been head-banging the whole time, though,  your neck is probably getting sore by this point. These guys just don't let up.
Veterans of Disaster
The tempo comes down a little here, but not the intensity. There are some comparisons to be made to Queensrÿche on this, at least early Rÿche. This does get thrashier further down the musical road.
Carousel of Vagrant Souls
The onslaught continues with another pure screamer. It's not a standout, but clearly still a strong tune.
The Incident
Not a big change, the formula is wearing thin in terms of describing these songs in unique ways, yet it doesn't feel redundant or stale to listen to it.
Outer Space Connection
The guitar soloing, fierce and technical, sets this apart from the rest to some degree. The vocal arrangement is more complex and also serves to make this stand out. This segues into the closer.
Entrance to Afron-V
This comes in feeling like part two of the opener, creating a nice bookend to the album. Given the title, that's not really a surprise, though.


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