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Virgin Steel playing early occult blackened thrash metal? Hell yeah! And what an album! This is something so weird that is even so difficult to image, also referring to the results…in 1985 Venom are at the top for their music and lots of group decided to embrace those sonorities that were fresh air in a continue musical evolution. Exorcist too took this road and decided to mix heavy metal, speed influences and horror music.
Useless to say how much I love these sonorities, when the production was perfect for the rituals in a desolated forest and the music was really something extreme for the period. We are not talking about the sheer, malevolent assault of an album like Seven Churches that was put out in the same year, but Exorcist’s music is always able to be scary and violent at the same time. Sometimes they reminded me a bit the very first Onslaught on their debut Power From Hell. The sounds are more or less the same as the way the music was played.
There are some scary intros between the songs and the music is based on Venom patterns with lots of the speed metal influences to result faster like in “Burnt Offering”. The solos are in pure early Slayer style, as the sound is very similar too. Furthermore, the vocals are really extreme for the period, on the borderline between early Sodom (but less screamed) and the classic Cronos’ rough tonality. During the slower songs like “Possessed” and “Black Mass”, the sulphur atmosphere grows and you can really imagine to take part to strange rituals.
During the horror atmosphere and the scary but melodic refrains, sometimes they are so similar to the Italian legends Death SS. Basically, the influences were the same: classic metal/doom music and horror influences. This album is one of those things that really capture the intensity and the atmosphere of those, forever gone, years where few things were enough to make a really obscure album that surely sounds more vicious and sincere than most of the black albums nowadays.
You can think that the titles of the songs were immature or childish. Maybe. But in that period were far ahead for this music, because it was a new think and from now on everybody would have been inspired by this image and lyrics. All in all, a must for any lover of this magic, dark sonorities that bring you back to the 80s, with nostalgia but with pleasure too.