By Bob Nalbandian

The Harsh Reality

Waysted are back and they sound stronger than ever. This is the band's first album in close to 5 years and, believe it or not, their 10th official release. Led by former/current (depending on his visa status) UFO bass legend Pete Way and vocalist Fin, Waysted play a classy brand of hard-edged, gritty rock and roll that few bands have been able to successfully produce since the late '80s. The Harsh Reality continues where the band's superlative '83 debut Vices left off. Nothing spectacularly original or groundbreaking here, this is good old-fashioned hard rock'n'roll, pure and simple. Fin's vocals still sound superb, coming across like a grittier Phil Mogg. And the music is '70s style classic hardrock at it's finest in the vein of UFO, Humble Pie, Free, AC/DC and at times even Blackfoot. Great diversity in the songs as well (unlike 95% of today's modern-rock releases) from hard-hitting rockers such as "Rockin' The Cliche" and the opener "Propaganda" to bluesy rock numbers like "Keepin' It Sweet" (hints of Paul Chapman era UFO meets The Black Crows), and "It Wasn't Me" (reminiscent of Alex Harvey or Bon Scott meets early Rory Gallagher). Other standouts include "Long Time Dead" (reminds me a bit of Nicky Moore era-Samson), the title track, and a modernized version of "Handbags and Gladrags" which is actually from the soundtrack to the British TV show The Office that was originally written and recorded by vocalist Fin. The CD also comes with the Waysted World Theme Park that will keep you amused as well as downright baffled! Great musicianship as well, guitarist Chris George and drummer Paul Haslin perform excellently throughout this disc and Pete Way sounds as explosive as ever. A must for the classic hard-rock fan!

Mascot Los Angeles Sci-Fi thrash-metal masters Agent Steel return with yet another explosive release. Juan Garcia and company sounds stronger than ever, combining traditional power metal anthems with modern thrash-metal riffs and conceptually futuristic lyrics. Bruce Hall's vocals are quite impressive sounding rugged and authoritative and the blistering guitar work and driving riffs from Juan Garcia and Bernie Versalles are masterful making Alienigma Agent Steel's best effort since Skeptics Apocalypse. My favorite cuts are the opener "Fashioned From Dust," "Hail To The Chief," "Extinct," and the master-thrash closer "Lamb To the Slaughter." With all the influx and attention being put on modern thrash/death/hardcore bands these days one can easily overlook some of the great new releases from pioneering thrash-metal bands like Agent Steel, Exodus, Overkill, and Death Angel, so in closing I thought it'd be appropriate to quote my old college professor: "Learn your history...Don't be an ignoramus!"

Shockwaves CD REVIEWS ISSUE 15 Page 4