Archive for February 17, 2021

Great Metal Albums of 1986: Agent Steel- Mad Locust Rising

Posted in Uncategorized on February 17, 2021 by 80smetalman

One misconception people outside the heavy metal fraternity had about Combat Records in 1986 was that they would sign any band who could breathe, (direct quote). I think they were jealous of the fact which I pointed out in a post which now seems many moons ago, that Combat Records ruled 1986! Before that, it launched great bands such as Metallica and Megadeath onto the road to superstardom. Anyhow, for me, the more 1986 rolled along, it rapidly became my ‘go to’ label for thrash. Agent Steel and their four song EP, “Mad Locust Rising,” was a result of that.

The first track of the EP, “The Swarm,” is a seventeen second intro. The intention is that you, the listener, is about to be swarmed by a plague of locusts, unfortunately, the production doesn’t make it clear as to whether that happens. No worries though, because the second track, the title track, jumps in straight away and bombards your delicate ears with some amazing thrash. Probably the best way to describe the song is this is what it would sound like if Robert Halford joined a thrash band. You can definitely hear Rob’s influence on lead singer, John Cyriis, in the the vocals, especially the way in which he holds his note near the end. Meanwhile, he is backed up by some ferocious speed chords and a couple of cool guitar solos which are guaranteed to get a mosh pit started.

If the title track didn’t convince people of the influence Judas Priest had on Agent Steel, then their cover of “The Ripper” would. Since I consider this song to be the hidden gem of the entire Judas Priest discography, I listened to the cover with very critical ears and if Agent Steel had spoiled the song, then I would be pouring out my wrath on this page. Fortunately for them, they do a good job with it. Of course, Cyriis tries hard to emulate his hero and there is only one Rob Halford but John’s vocals are quite good here. And because Agent Steel are thrash or speed metal, they take the pace up a few mph but the song doesn’t suffer at all. So, good job there.

Two songs combined into one close out the EP. The first part, “Let It Be Done,” is mad mosh pit inducing thrash and it is here where guitarists Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles play their best solos. While they slow the temp down considerably for the final part of the track, “The Day at Guyana,” it doesn’t lose the power, giving you the sense of impeding doom while the EP closes out. On the subject of EP’s, one advantage they have over LP’s is that the artists or the record company can choose what tracks they think are best to go on and not have to worry about filler. I know this doesn’t always work out but for “Mad Locust Rising,” it definitely does.

Track Listing:

  1. The Swarm
  2. Mad Locust Rising
  3. The Ripper
  4. Let It Be Done/The Day at Guyanan
Agent Steel

John Cyriss- vocals

Juan Garcia- guitar

Bernie Versailles- guitar

Mike Zaputil- bass

Chuck Profus- drums

Note: George Robb actually played bass on the album but was fired from the band after it was recorded.

Like so many bands in 1986, Agent Steel came and went. However, if you love a good short, sharp mosh, they did leave a cool EP in which to do it to.

Next post: Crimson Glory

To buy Rock and Roll Children, email me at: tobychainsaw@hotmail.com