Hard Reviews 3
by Martin Popoff

Agent Steel - Omega Conspiracy

Virgin Steel, Steel Prophet, Crimson Glory. . . there are so many ways to re-address traditional metal, and most are doing it with cold confidence. The reformed Agent Steel are too, their particular take leaning into the heavy, note-dense, technical thrash end of things, following Liege Lord as mid-concern, third-tier metal obsessives, not as much updating their sound, but writing better, likely through nothing more than osmosis of other '80s records plus any and all bands from the '90s who are reliving the '80s. Confused? Agent Steel aren't. It's all quite obvious. Do you care? That's the trick question. As I've often exasperatedly remarked, on paper (after erasing the dates), Omega Conspiracy is probably more impressive than most of those records you moshed and headbanged and sweated and whiplashed over in 1985 or 1988. But being who you are now, you're likely feeling that nagging possibility, but you can't or don't want to address it. That's OK. The hardwiring of music to memories is molecularly welded shut, and what Agent Steel is trying to hoodwink you with is more about the pipe in the library and leather chairs with the captains of industry discussions of Victorian England. The brandies and Scotch tastes worse than the cheap wine the ladies and the hired help are swigging back in the dining parlour.
Rating 6

S.O.D.: Stormtroopers Of Death - Speak English Or Die

Yes, you heard right, Megaforce Records claims to be on the comeback trail, and what better way to kick it off by reissuing that ever-lovin' thrash crossover project phenom Speak English Or Die? S.O.D. was a couple Anthrax guys, Nuclear Assault's Dan Lilker and M.O.D.'s Billy Milano, who together came up with a quick-jabbing frash classic, recorded like a New York construction site, 21 tracks of sonic belches and even a few real songs, all poking a bit of fun at life, something pioneered by Anthrax until it ended up sinking the band's credibility. Anyway, the spirit was undeniable, and the record went on to move a million pancakes worldwide, resulting in this reissue, and last year, a reunion record. This version adds two bonus studio tracks and Live In Tokyo material for a total of 31 gleeful punk rants with metal brains. Feel young again, c'mon.
Rating 7

Hard Reviews Page 4