US Power Metal / Heavy Metal / Hard Rock • United States — the ultimate metal music online community, from the creators of
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 albums / top albums

VIRGIN STEELE Virgin Steele album cover 3.57 | 10 ratings
Virgin Steele
Heavy Metal 1982
VIRGIN STEELE Guardians Of The Flame album cover 3.11 | 10 ratings
Guardians Of The Flame
Heavy Metal 1983
VIRGIN STEELE Noble Savage album cover 3.42 | 15 ratings
Noble Savage
Heavy Metal 1986
VIRGIN STEELE Age Of Consent album cover 3.53 | 16 ratings
Age Of Consent
Heavy Metal 1988
VIRGIN STEELE Life Among The Ruins album cover 3.58 | 8 ratings
Life Among The Ruins
Hard Rock 1993
VIRGIN STEELE The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, Part One album cover 3.79 | 22 ratings
The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, Part One
US Power Metal 1994
VIRGIN STEELE The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, Part Two album cover 3.86 | 25 ratings
The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell, Part Two
US Power Metal 1995
VIRGIN STEELE Invictus album cover 3.96 | 21 ratings
US Power Metal 1998
VIRGIN STEELE The House Of Atreus: Act I album cover 3.48 | 13 ratings
The House Of Atreus: Act I
US Power Metal 1999
VIRGIN STEELE The House Of Atreus: Act II album cover 2.48 | 11 ratings
The House Of Atreus: Act II
US Power Metal 2001
VIRGIN STEELE Visions Of Eden album cover 3.37 | 11 ratings
Visions Of Eden
US Power Metal 2006
VIRGIN STEELE The Black Light Bacchanalia album cover 2.94 | 12 ratings
The Black Light Bacchanalia
US Power Metal 2010
VIRGIN STEELE Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation album cover 1.50 | 3 ratings
Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation
Heavy Metal 2015


VIRGIN STEELE Wait For The Night album cover 0.00 | 0 ratings
Wait For The Night
Heavy Metal 1983
VIRGIN STEELE Magick Fire Music 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 re-issues & compilations

VIRGIN STEELE The Book Of Burning album cover 2.64 | 5 ratings
The Book Of Burning
US Power Metal 2002
VIRGIN STEELE Hymns To Victory album cover 2.00 | 2 ratings
Hymns To Victory
US Power Metal 2002

VIRGIN STEELE singles (0)

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


VIRGIN STEELE The Black Light Bacchanalia

Album · 2010 · US Power Metal
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Way back in the eighties, there was an advert somewhere near the back of Circus magazine (or was it Hit Parader) for an album by a band called Virgin Steele. It was their second album, and the text quoted a review of their first album which expressed that it was "the album Judas Priest should have made." The original American releases of both albums were not available in Canada; however, two albums with different cover art and different track listings were to be found, and I snapped them both up fairly soon. Aside from the rough production, specifically for the debut, I though the music offered a lot of metal thrills, and there was no mistaking the outstanding high shrilling shrieks of singer David DeFeis.

The third album was "Noble Savage" and I'm afraid it was less to my liking. I dropped interest in any further releases, and though I stopped to check out the band's CDs several years later, the cover art convinced me that Virgin Steele had become darker and more sinister. I forgot about them.

Perhaps because I bought the second album, "Guardians of the Flame" on CD around 2010, "The Black Light Bacchanalia" showed up in recommended albums on my Amazon page. Curious, I ordered it and was rather surprised. Here was David DeFeis still puncturing eardrums with those shrieks that were high enough to challenge any first grade elementary school girl on the playground. The music was still metal, but there had been an obvious evolution in the Virgin Steele sound. I decided that i liked it, but didn't love it. Good enough for the one album; no hurry to get any others.

And now it's 2019. For the last two months, I've had my ears buried in eighties thrash metal, old school death metal, and the second wave of black metal. I've begun dabbling in power metal and slowly, little by little, adding to my doom and stoner metal collection. And for some reason, I suddenly felt like listening to "The Black Light Bacchanalia" again.

Thoughts! Impressions!

On this album, Virgin Steele are power metal by lyrical topics and presentation, not to mention the essential inclusion of keyboard piano or keyboard orchestra. But the music is not like the group sing-a-longs of some bands or the speedy and precise agility of others. In fact, I can't help but feel this album is more like a theatrical performance, with DeFeis playing the lead role of the protagonist and the lyrics serving as his monologue when speaking to himself or his enemies. To read here on MMA that Virgin Steele play "romantic-barbaric" metal really hits the minion on the head. The music is bold and at times forceful but it more often has a graceful caress to it than straight out brutality and force. It is the Noble Savage, swinging his sword sunward and striking a symbolic pose with pectoral muscles bronzed in the sun.

Though there are some cool riffs as well as some tremolo picked chords backed by double kick drum, there are plenty of chords struck and left to support the vocals. The drums can be a flurry of sticks at times but often they hold a modest place keeping a steady beat. My feeling at one point was like the music is a bit like driving a standard transmission sports car down a city street: sometimes you can speed up and swoop around in traffic but more often you're changing gears, slowing down and speeding up just a little as you deal with traffic and intersection lights. Again, the reason seems to be that the music is a theatrical performance with the lyrics and vocals taking the lead role.

DeFeis tends to sing in a calm, smooth voice throughout most of the songs. It's almost like the lines are meant to be whispered with conviction but need to be sung. He throws in some snarls and growls but more like a wild cat and not like thrash metal sneers and barks or death metal roars and bellows. He can also sing in a higher register and again does so softly as if to serenade the sorceress. Then there will be another one of those sky high notes.

The songs have a pretty decent length and at times almost seen more like progressive metal or symphonic metal. The keyboard piano (which I distinguish from real piano) does more than offer safe, pretty notes and in a track or two it takes over for the rhythm guitar as the primary instrument of melody. Some dramatic symphonic blasts give a grandness to certain passages.

I'm not familiar with Virgin Steele's releases between Noble Savage and 2010 so I can't compare my impressions here with other albums. But I feel thrilled enough by my return visit to have ordered another Virgin Steele album. This music is not for everyone. It doesn't have the rush and charge of thrash metal, the pulverizing assault of death metal, or the cold grimness of black metal. There might be too many abrupt changes in the music without a steady supply of full-on metal power for some folks. It does not have enough of that power metal conqueror swing to it. But if you've come to hear some of Virgin Steele's story telling and drama, then this album offers some rewards.

VIRGIN STEELE Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation

Album · 2015 · Heavy Metal
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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
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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
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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 · Heavy Metal
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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 Movies Reviews

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