VIRGIN STEELE — Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation (review)

VIRGIN STEELE — Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation album cover Album · 2015 · Heavy Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
1.5/5 ·
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.
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DippoMagoo wrote:
more than 2 years ago
This actually isn't the worst 2015 album I've heard so far, but it's certainly the most boring. I actually took a break to have a nap with four songs left, because the album was sucking all the energy right out of me. Definitely far worse than any of their other albums I've heard.
adg211288 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
I'm usually rating lower these days on anything than I would have done even last year, when I might have given this a more middling rating. But at the end of the day it's boring and almost entirely missing one of the key elements of their sound (power metal). I nearly gave it 1 instead of 1.5.
666sharon666 wrote:
more than 2 years ago
Not used to seeing such low scores from you Adam, I'm pretty concerned about this one now. Though I didn't have high expectations before reading this as I'm not a major fan of their last two records either. Their best stuff is from the mid to late 90's IMO.
more than 2 years ago
I used to love Virgin Steele back in the mid-eighties. I picked up "Black Light..." a couple of years ago. I thought it had some great music but was a little long and repetitive. I'm curious about the albums you mentioned, but you have convinced me to stay away from this one. Thanks for the warning.

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