VIRGIN STEELE
US Power Metal / Traditional heavy metal / Hard Rock • United States

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Virgin Steele is a heavy metal band from New York, founded in 1981. Over their career they have drifted from traditional heavy metal to hard rock, but moving back to traditional metal and then into power metal territory.

They play what they call "barbaric-romantic" metal, which is very symphonic and contains many elements from classical music. Band-leader David DeFeis describes the music as "From a whisper to a scream, barbaric, romantic, bombastic, yet subtle, grandiose, yet earthy. A call, a shout, an invocation to Freedom and the continual awakening to the awareness that every moment of life is lived to its fullest potential. It is a force, a sacred quest which drives Virgin Steele on."

Some members of Virgin Steele also released a speed metal album under the name Exorcist.
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VIRGIN STEELE Discography

VIRGIN STEELE albums / top albums

.. Album Cover 3.87 | 7 ratings
Virgin Steele
Traditional heavy metal 1982
.. Album Cover 3.46 | 7 ratings
Guardians Of The Flame
Traditional heavy metal 1983
.. Album Cover 3.71 | 12 ratings
Noble Savage
Traditional heavy metal 1986
.. Album Cover 3.22 | 13 ratings
Age Of Consent
Traditional heavy metal 1988
.. Album Cover 3.68 | 6 ratings
Life Among The Ruins
Hard Rock 1993
.. Album Cover 4.22 | 17 ratings
The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, Part One
US Power Metal 1994
.. Album Cover 4.31 | 21 ratings
The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, Part Two
US Power Metal 1995
.. Album Cover 4.18 | 19 ratings
Invictus
US Power Metal 1998
.. Album Cover 3.77 | 12 ratings
The House Of Atreus: Act I
US Power Metal 1999
.. Album Cover 3.18 | 10 ratings
The House Of Atreus: Act II
US Power Metal 2001
.. Album Cover 3.77 | 10 ratings
Visions Of Eden
US Power Metal 2006
.. Album Cover 3.36 | 10 ratings
The Black Light Bacchanalia
US Power Metal 2010
.. Album Cover 1.67 | 3 ratings
Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation
Traditional heavy metal 2015

VIRGIN STEELE EPs & splits

.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Wait For The Night
Traditional heavy metal 1983
.. Album Cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Magick Fire Music
US Power Metal 2000

VIRGIN STEELE live albums

VIRGIN STEELE demos, promos, fans club and other releases (no bootlegs)

VIRGIN STEELE boxset & compilations

.. Album Cover 3.05 | 4 ratings
The Book Of Burning
US Power Metal 2002
.. Album Cover 2.00 | 1 ratings
Hymns To Victory
US Power Metal 2002

VIRGIN STEELE singles (0)

VIRGIN STEELE movies (DVD, Blu-Ray or VHS)

VIRGIN STEELE Reviews

VIRGIN STEELE Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation

Album · 2015 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
adg211288
Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation (2015) is the thirteenth full-length studio album by US heavy/power metal act Virgin Steele. This is the group's first album in five years, following on from The Black Light Bacchanalia (2010).

I've enjoyed the work of Virgin Steele quite a bit in the past, so it's to my complete surprise that Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation just isn't doing it for me. This is a pretty long album (about seventy-nine minutes), as is usual for Virgin Steele, but for the first time since I started listening to them I don't think they pull it off. Their sound has largely drifted away from power metal and back into traditional metal territory which gives the impression that they're plodding along with little to no energy. The first track Luzifers Hammer is more in line with what you'd expect from Virgin Steele and shows promise but it all starts going downhill from there, ending up with something that is too drawn out for its own good, bland in terms of songwriting and lacking in power, so is ultimately downright boring.

I could only get through the album by taking it in chunks due to the long duration. Had this been by a band I was trying for this first time I think, no actually I know I would have given up long before the last song ended but since I have enjoyed albums like The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, Part Two (1995), The House Of Atreus: Act II (2001) and Visions of Eden (2006) I did my best to stick with Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation, hoping to find some sort of positive thing to say about the album. Unfortunately it's the sort of record that upon conclusion that leaves me with absolutely no desire to give it a repeat spin. A bit of trimming may have helped a bit so the record didn't drag on so long but not by much, not without a few more moments that manage to shine out. Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation is my first major disappointment of 2015. 1.5 stars.

VIRGIN STEELE The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, Part Two

Album · 1995 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Like its predecessor, I don't think Virgin Steele's second The Marriage of Heaven and Hell album quite measures up to the glories of Invictus, the third album in the triptych, but it's still an interesting classic and symphonic-influenced power metal experience given a mild boost thanks to the interesting allegorical direction the lyrics take and the high quality of the band's performance. David DeFeis' vocals are energising enough but I keep finding myself missing the rawer, more feral edge they have to them on songs like the title track from Invictus. Worth checking out if you liked the first in the series, but be advised that the best is yet to come.

VIRGIN STEELE The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, Part One

Album · 1994 · US Power Metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
Warthur
Capturing Virgin Steele in the process of transitioning into an American-style power metal outfit from their traditional heavy metal roots, and working in a symphonic touch here and there, I found this album somewhat less gripping than the curiously compelling Invictus, not least because it's mildly more inclined to indulge some of the cheesier excesses of power metal than they are on that subsequent release (which I understand the two Marriage of Heaven and Hell albums are thematic prequels to). Still, as far as ambitious multi-part concept album projects go, this isn't a terrible kick-off to one, and it entertains me much more than it annoys me so I consider it fairly passable.

VIRGIN STEELE Guardians Of The Flame

Album · 1983 · Traditional heavy metal
Cover art Buy this album from MMA partners
voila_la_scorie
Oh, boy, do I remember this one. “The album Judas Priest should have made” was the critic’s quote about Virgin Steele’s debut in an ad promoting the new album in Circus Magazine. I was adventurous when it came to finding new metal bands and to liken a band to my heroes Judas Priest was like opening my wallet to the nearest record store to have this on cassette. The Canadian release, however, was different from the American one. First, it was called “Burn the Sun” and featured a plain red cover with the album title and band name branded on in black. My best friend picked up his secure purchase of a band he knew he liked while I took my experiment back to his place.

After listening to the single off the album my friend bought, we put in “Burn the Sun” and the album opened with the synthesizer heavy “Don’t Say Goodbye (Tonight)”. My friend burst into laughter. I asked him to skip to the next track as his stereo came with one of those features where you could skip tracks on cassette, and the piano chords of “A Cry in the Night” came up next. He laughed even more. Next track. This was “I am the One” which wasn’t included on the American release and opened with gentle acoustic guitar strumming. My friend was in tears by this time, laughing at me for having wasted my precious paper route earnings on this rubbish.

But it was I who had the last laugh. I refused to be beaten and took the cassette home where I listened to it front to back. I discovered that the gentle acoustic opening to “I am the One” was just an intro to one of the heavier and totally rock-out aggressive songs on the album. The title track of the Canadian release, “Burn the Sun” was definitely in the same league as Judas Priest. “Guardians of the Flame” was an epic metal track that had some unfortunate wild synthesizer solo but was otherwise very good. Other songs followed a more standard metal course along the lines of, say, Y&T but with a New York feel as opposed to the California outlook of Y&T. “Don’t Say Goodbye (Tonight)” did lean a little too much on the synthesizer for my taste but still it galloped along in a traditional 80’s metal flair. “A Cry in the Night” was a gentle piano ballad that was good enough but didn’t match some of the power ballads we were hearing in those days. Overall, I liked the album enough to buy the debut (also with different cover and track listing in Canada) and when “Noble Savage” came out I snickered at the irony of my best friend spending his hard-earned paper route earnings on it.

So, back in late 2011, I decided to track down this old classic and bring “Burn the Sun” and “I am the One” back to my music collection. The remastered disc includes all the original tracks from the American release, “Guardians of the Flame” (some of which I hadn’t heard) as well as the songs that were on Canada’s “Burn the Sun”. As it turns out, the more aggressive tracks had been saved for Canada! This disc also includes an interview with the band around the time of the album’s release and some bonus live tracks.

How does the album sound now? Admittedly, the recording quality is pretty poor, though not as bad as the first album. It was recorded in someone’s home studio, I think. “I am the One”, “Burn the Sun” and “Guardians of the Flame” still hold up like those old blues albums from the 1930’s hold up. Other songs like "Go Down Fighting" and "Metal City" sound pretty trite and cliche now. I can picture young headbangers in leopard skin-pattern spandex with feathered hair thinking this is the bomb, but these days it sounds really dated. Still, fun at the time. The other tracks are not bad but for me they are also forgettable.

Of course, this reissue includes the songs from the original American release and so there are some new tracks for me. "The Redeemer" is another longer track like the title track and could be said to be another example of early power metal. Of the previously unheard songs, this one makes an impression.

How do I feel about spending my hard-earned teaching money on this CD – imported from the US – now? It’s OK. I still love two of those old tracks and from time to time I’ll drop this in my iPhone and give it a listen. It is a perfect relic from those days when metal was making a comeback. It captures the boldness of making an album that was meant to nudge the boundaries of metal into new directions (power metal perhaps?) and the rawness of home studio recording. Jack Starr delivers on the guitar and David Defeis has his trademark high pitched vocals already in gear. It’s a fun album in a way.

So dust off your old denim vest with the Iron Maiden patch on the back, tie on a Motorhead headband, but forget about fitting into those paint-on tight jeans. This is 80’s metal on its way up from the underground. Welcome to “Metal City”.

VIRGIN STEELE Invictus

Album · 1998 · US Power Metal
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Warthur
An intriguing release from Virgin Steele. It took me a little while to get into this - in particular, I found the production track offputting and downright odd, but it's grown on me since, as has the album as a whole. David DeFeis has an unusual vocal approach which works better than I expected, adding a desperate, paranoid air to his megalomaniac proclamations, whilst musically speaking the band tick most of the power metal boxes without even mildly suggesting the cheesiness of so many other groups in the subgenre. I wouldn't say it's an album I'd listen to every day but it's certainly something I'm glad to have acquired and it's truly powerful when I'm in the right mood.

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