Skelator - Agents of power 3.5/5
1. Agent of power
2. Gates of Thorbardin
3. Dream dictator
4. Rhythm of the chain
6. Elric: The dragon prince
7. Pulsing cavern (intro)
8. Stormbringer and mournblade
9. The young kingdoms
10. The dark tower
12. Rubble and ash
13. Fate, the dreadful curse
14. Elric: The kinslayer
15. Bane of the black sword
With another slice of the blade, and wielding of the axes of evil, those agents of power, girth, steel and certain bloodshed - Seattle's own skull crushing Skelator - have made another heavy metal sacrifice, bade us all welcome to the feast, and returned with their latest mourning dream of death.
Even though 'Agents of power' is not as strong or nearly as fast as their last nightstalker 'Death to all nations', the truth is that the new CD is more mature, better produced, and for the most part multi-layered and fantasy based.
When I first saw them live at Warriors of Metal III and heard the song "Circle of bloodshed" I was instantly hooked, as they left my mind and mettle heart smoldering in a metaphorical pile of rubble and ash.
Shrill terrorizing vocalist Jason Conde-Houston reminded me of a young Eric A.K. Knutson from the glory days of Flotsam and Jetsam, even holding the same type of sword as evidenced in older footage of Flots. Skelator played an amazing set, and I instantly sought out all their CDs, and became well acquainted with the members of the band.
Here we are in 2012, and finally they have delivered another "give me metal, or give me death" accomplishment. I strove and wrangled to not give the might Skelator a dumb rating, as on the first few listens I just was not as impressed with their latest offering. I found it to be too epic, and convoluted. Then after hearing the new atrocious, and extremely disappointing 'The lord of steel' by Manowar, I decided to give Skelator another chance. Manowar's new song "Black list" may be the worst song Joey ever penned, even cheesier than "The demon whip" or "Black arrows of death"!
I know that Skelator are very influenced by the so-called "Kings of Metal", and they did an excellent cover of "Dark avenger" on 'The gore of war', their self-released split EP. I have come to realize then that these powerheads are not adumbrating when it comes to playing epic metal. In fact they have more in common with later Agent Steel, all efforts by Domine, and perhaps even Twisted Tower Dire, than they do with said 'Gods of war'.
Skelator ride into glory with some clever songs like "Rhythm of the chain". Here they stand up for rock and roll by playing a true heavy metal anthem. Whereas, a song like "Dream dictator" conjures up memories of 80s-era Flotsam and Jetsam, and Vicious Rumors. Fans of the early Overkill songs like "Blood and iron" or "Fear his name" will be drawn, quartered, and tied to the title track.
Those thematic songs (5-16) paying homage to Michael Moorcock will surely sate all fantasy buffs, and even if I find it OTT, a bit cliche', and a tad tiresome, I realize that they also honored Tolkien with such songs as "Siege of gondor" in the past, so I respect their mettle endeavors; especially since the songs themselves are really well written and properly executed. The heightened velocity of "Stormbringer and mournblade", the rapid pace of "Rubble and ash", or the penultimate sacrifice of "Bane of the black sword" are befitting and shining examples of this.
Like the aforementioned Flotsam and Jetsam, the 2 robust guitarist Robbie Houston and Rob Steinway throb and properly trade licks like the classic pairing of the evil, sheik, hammerhead duo of Edward Carlson and Michael Gilbert.
So, for those of you who traveled many miles for a heavy metal show, the stormbringers Skelator - enemy of any man who dares defy the might of metal - call you forth toward their horde accord, and the sheer rally of faith for death and glory, and above all the birth of steel!
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