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|Origin||Los Angeles, California, United States|
|Years active||1984–1988, 2010–Present|
Agent Steel is an American speed metal band from Los Angeles, California that was formed in 1984 by vocalist and author John Cyriis with drummer Chuck Profus. The band released two full-length albums, and one EP before disbanding in 1988. They were most notable for John Cyriis's high-pitched vocals, catchy songs, melodic riffs, and fast tempos mixed in with their unusual (in heavy metal) UFOs, and differential anthropological-theme lyrical prose. The band reformed in 1999 (without Cyriis) and has released three full-length albums since.
John Cyriis left Sceptre (with whom had composed "Taken by Force" and "144,000 Gone" as the lead guitarist, and disbanded after his leaving) and went on to join Abattoir as their vocalist. He left Abattoir and teamed up with guitarist Bill Simmons, bassist Paul Ginsert and drummer Eric Keck as Agent Steel. Cyriis then teamed up with drummer Chuck Profus to form Agent Steel with new members. Mark Marshall (before he joined Savage Grace) and Bill Simmons joined the band for a short stay as the two guitarists with George Robb on bass. In 1984, this line-up recorded “144,000 Gone” with producer Dan McConomy. The demo was subsequently played on KMET - The Mighty Metal hour; and with the help of new recruit guitarist Juan Garcia; got the attention of Combat Records and signed Agent Steel to a record deal. Agent Steel's debut show was opening for Slayer at The Country Club in Reseda, California. Steve Sinclair from Combat records signed the band.
Various guitarist changes occurred after the "144,000 Gone" demo, but eventually ex-Abattoir guitarist Juan Garcia and guitarist Kurt Colfelt became members. The first Agent Steel full-length album titled Skeptics Apocalypse was released on Combat Records on August 17, 1985.
Kurt Colfelt soon left the band after a falling out with Cyriis and formed Holy Terror (which is a slang term for a problem child), changing the spelling of his name in Kurt Kilfelt. He also kept the song "Back to Reign" and recorded it with Holy Terror as "Debt of Pain". Kurt was replaced by guitarist Bernie Versailles and an EP was recorded entitled Mad Locust Rising in late 1985. It was released in the USA by Combat Records and in Europe by Music for Nations. This EP contained "The Ripper", one of a few Judas Priest cover songs that were recorded by the band.
George Robb left the band soon after the Mad Locust Rising EP was released and was replaced by bassist Michael Zaputil. In March, 1986 the band entered Morrisound Studio in Tampa, Florida to record the full length follow-up to Mad Locust Rising, Unstoppable Force. The band interrupted the recording for a few months to tour in Europe. They toured through the month of May with Anthrax and Overkill where the split video US Speed Metal Attack was recorded. They returned in June to finish recording the "Unstoppable Force" album. The album was released in 1987 due to delays in the recording sessions.
After the recording of Unstoppable Force, the band was severed when the band members spread out across the USA. Cyriis and Chuck Profus went to Tampa; while Juan Garcia, Bernie Versailles, and Michael Zaputil decided to remain in Los Angeles. The disenchanting L.A. metal scene climate is one of the main reasons which inspired Profus and Cyriis into relocating where metal music was thriving. Meanwhile; Juan Garcia went on to form the band Evildead, while Mike Zaputil joined a "crossover" band, The Mofo Homeboys. In Tampa, Cyriis and Chuck Profus hired guitarists James Murphy and J. Weslord, as well as bassist Richard Bateman for a European tour. The tour was very successful. So much was the success - selling out shows in Amsterdam, the Netherlands - that on June 20, 1987, the final show of the tour (with Nuclear Assault, and UK thrash metal band Onslaught as the opener) culminated in a farewell Agent Steel performance video recorded at the Hammersmith Odeon. The video was released later that year.
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Juan Garcia, after leaving Agent Steel, went on to form the thrash metal band Evildead along with ex-members of Abattoir. The band released the two full-length albums Annihilation of Civilization and The Underworld, and a 3-song EP entitled Rise Above on Steamhammer Records. They had reasonable success in the European metal scene touring with bands like Laaz Rockit. EvilDead disbanded in the early 1990s; some of the members, including Juan Garcia, went on to form the band Terror, which released the full-length "Hijos de Los Cometas" on BMG in Mexico before officially disbanding.
In 1999, Agent Steel was reborn. Juan Garcia brought in bassist Karlos Medina that had been in EvilDead, and Terror; while Chuck Profus and Bernie Versailles returned; along with new recruit Bruce Hall as the new vocalist. Bruce Hall's vocals were not as high-pitched as Cyriis' but the clean sung vocals remained in the Agent Steel vein.
Agent Steel recorded Omega Conspiracy in 1999 which was their first album in 13 years; their sound continued on as speed metal with some modern influences.
Chuck Profus sustained a hand injury and Rigo Amezcua (ex-Terror drummer) filled in for him for live performances. Profus decided to leave the band and Rigo Amezcua replaced him on a permanent basis. With this new revamped line-up the band started writing new material for their next full-length album starting in 2001. In 2003, Agent Steel released the album Order of the Illuminati to rave reviews with the band returning to a more of a traditional classic metal sound.
Following the release of Order of the Illuminati, a mini CD was available in late 2003 entitled Earth Under Lucifer as a promotional product to coincide with a European tour with Exodus. In 2005, Agent Steel released an official DVD which contains an entire live performance with no "overdubs" from their appearance at the Dynamo Open Air. In 2007, Agent Steel released their fifth studio album, Alienigma.
On April 24, 2010, it was announced that Bruce Hall had left the band, as stated by Bruce, "I'm sure for the people who know us very well this comes as little surprise. I complain a lot and I've pretty much lost my stamina for bothering with anything new as far as Agent Steel goes. Sadly, the continual walk in John's shoes has entirely drained my passion for doing anything other than treating Agent Steel as a cover band. Y'know, go out, play the first two albums for a free trip to wherever and call it a swell hobby? Well, that wasn't going to work for anyone in the band but me. They still have the fire and desire to continue making new music with Agent Steel and I wish them the very best of luck with whomever they get to fill John's shoes".
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On May 3, 2010, the band announced the comeback of Cyriis
On Sept 18-19, 2010 Agent Steel performed two live shows with John Cyriis returning as lead vocalist, Juan Garcia and Bernie Versailles on guitars, Robert Cardenas on bass and Rigo Amezcua on drums.
For the first time in over two decades in Tokyo, Japan at "Thrash Domination 2010" along with Exodus, Overkill, Nevermore and the Japanese band Outrage. Agent Steel also performed at the "Sweden Rock Festival" in Solvesborg, Sweden on June 10, 2011 with the 2010 line up with John Cyriis as lead vocalist.
Since Agent Steel's reunion, the status of the band is unknown. The remaining members, excluding Cyriis, have been performing under the name Masters of Metal, which is taken from the lyrics of the song "Agents of Steel".
- Skeptics Apocalypse (1985)
- Mad Locust Rising (1986)(EP)
- Unstoppable Force (1987)
- Omega Conspiracy (1999)
- Order of the Illuminati (2003)
- Alienigma (2007)
- US Speed Metal Attack (1985)
- Mad Locust Rising: Live at the Hammersmith Odeon June '87 (1987)
- Live @ Dynamo Open Air (2005)
- Mad Locust Rising (2007)
- John Cyriis - Vocals (1984-1988, 2010–present)
- Juan Garcia - Guitar (1984-1987, 1998–present)
- Bernie Versailles - Guitar (1985-1987, 1998–present)
- Robert Cardenas - Bass (2007–present)
- Rigo Amezcua - Drums (2002–present)
- Eric Keck - Drums
- Chuck Profus - Drums
- Karlos Medina - Bass
- George Robb - Bass
- Mark Marshall - Guitar
- Bill Simmons - Guitar
- Kurt Kilfelt - Guitar
- Michael Zaputil - Bass
- James Murphy - Guitar
- Brett Reigel - Guitar
- J. Weslord - Guitar
- Richard Bateman - Bass
- Bruce Hall - Vocals