Cage-Darker Than Black
      © 2003 Fugitive Records
Agent Steel-Order Of The Illuminati
              © 2003 AOS/Artillery Music
Attention metalhead purists! Here is the album you have been waiting for. San Diego based metallers Cage are about to unleash there most intense listen to date upon you. The critics are absolutely loving this release, and for good reason. The hype is not overrated by any means. This album is bulletproof! If I was to compare the album sonically, I would definitely look to metal masters Judas Priest probably in their later Halford era, and maybe a bit of Iron Maiden in the guitar work here and there. I had heard about this one a while about and was pretty excited to get the finalized product. I remember reviewing 'Astrology' a while back and also had seen the band at the 2 Ultrasound showcases I attended. I was very well aware of this bands potential and also their ability to grow with each subsequent release. Well, they have grown a lot for sure. This album should definitely get some attention from the fans across the world and cement this band as a serious contender in the world of metal. It's all there, sonic fury, great guitar work, over the top vocals. The things that define metal. The band really spared nothing to give you, the metal fan, the best possible effort they had in them. Upon spinning this disc, you sense immediately the professionalism the band exhibited with the intro 'Darker Than Black' and then 'Kill The Devil'. The album just takes off from there and takes no prisoners. This is the kind of album a band dreams about making. The effort that hits on all cylinders. Hey, they even had an appearance from Roy Z which really is a plus. As far as the music throughout, I find nothing weak about it. Track by track you get the same quality with different personality. On this U.S. version you get a bonus track in 'Antimatter' that is crunchy and very catchy. Fans of the Euro release may want this track as well. I dig the 9/11 themed 'Forces of Freedom' as well. Makes a unanimous statement. Also, don't pop the disc out until you find the hidden stuff. It's pretty cool!

Cage is gonna make America proud with this release. With most of the acts out there pushing the more modern envelope, these guys embrace the pure metal sound of yesterday without losing the attention of those more modern audiences. The music on this disc is very consistent in quality and also has good quantity with 13 blazing tracks. Cage will still grow in the future, but this release sets them apart from the rest and has the possibilty of pushing them over the top. Highly recommended!

For more info: Cage Official Website
Agent Steel return with the anticipated release of 'Order of the Illuminati'. This band actually goes quite a ways back, but reunited more recently with their 1999 release 'The Omega Principle'. So what would you expect from Agent Steel if you were not in the know about the band? Very good speed and power metal. This band plays with a great deal of precision and intensity and 'Order of the Illuminati' is no exception. It is also worth mentioning that the recent 2 releases feature Bruce Hall. This guy reall has a set of pipes on him. Kind of sounds a bit like very early Geoff Tate at times as well as somebody like Ray Alder. He sings alot of his material in that upper octave style, but not all. As far as the music on the album, most of it is consistent in its approach. Good speed metal with tracks like 'Avenger', 'Earth Under Lucifer', 'Enslaved', and 'Forever Black. There also some good tracks that have a mix of tempo such as 'Insurrection', and 'Human Bullet'. The delivery of the album is very good and should please both speed and power metal fans due to a good mix of both. Production also sounds clean which is worth mentioning. Very solid sound on this album. This album was 2 years in the making and I'm sure the fans will agree that is worth the wait.

A very solid release from a veteran band. Sure there were a few member changes along the way since the reunion, but everyone in the band is tenured and has a great deal of skill. The music is precise and intense and will appeal to most fans of more aggressive old school metal. Recommended!

For more info:  Agent Steel Website