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I feel genuine pity for all the pseudo-intellectual jokers who have their heads too far up their asses to enjoy this. Stop trying to be so deep, sometimes something has to just kick the ever-loving shit out of the entire universe. This is perfection. This is a god damn masterpiece that is completely true to the foundations of me'ul. So let's try to review this without using the word "Epic"
A monumental and grandiose production, Virgin Steele's Invictus stands tall at 16 tracks and 75 minutes, more than 3 episodes of The Simpsons, for the record. There's no denying, this album is big, and it feels even bigger than it is. I can chalk some of that up to the keys, they've been implemented in such a way that you'd think you were listening to an entire orchestra, but no, this is 4 men, the manliest of men. This is what I want from power metal, and I fucking got it.
Behind the gloom of his keys, vocalist and master swordsman David DeFeis offers an incredible vocal performance, not by showing us any insane falsetto, but with a vicious voice, a voice that keeps the very gates of hell from coming unsealed, and a voice that might turn to an angelic and sublime lullaby without warning. I absolutely hear a lot of Eric Adams in there when he gets particularly aggressive (Especially, I think, in Dust From The Burning.), that special kind of commanding power that only a few voices have, it's fucking great. My only issue is that his vocals are a little doctored, but I'm a traditionalist fuck motherer so I won't harp on him too much for it, it sounds great either way.
Riding alongside him, on steeds of steel and fire, rides the incredible and versatile guitarist, Edward Pursino, the architecture threatening drummer, THE KRAKAN, and the unstoppable bass force of Rob DeMartino. These three bring some of the strongest heavy metal musicianship seen in that entire decade, and they damn well know it. The 90's had few heroes, but those heroes shone like a fucking quasar. After all, they had to compensate for a lot of garbage.
Rob and THE KRAKAN make up a brilliant rhythm section, controlling the pace of this massive tale is a feat in and of itself, but to do it so fucking well, that's just gravy, delicious gravy. I wish THE KRAKAN would have jumped out at me a little more, some more sick drum fills here, something a little unexpected there. To be fair, he's got like a trillion time changes to keep track of so I can forgive him. I could say the same for Rob but he does seem to indulge a little here and there.
My man Ed comes in with a seemingly endless arsenal of sick licks, skull smashing riffs, and fucking explosive solos. Just like Dave, he's able to jump from viciously battling the legions of hell with the magicks of the ancients to a somber march towards oblivion, through valleys of mist. I've already said it but versatility is the key here, this guy just offers a bit of everything, and I want it all. I could pick out so many fantastic instances of ridiculously badass guitar work, but I'll make a long story short and point to the closing track.
An awesome story told by way of a relentless heavy metal maelstrom, I got what I expected, and then some. A mandatory album for absolutely every person who is presently alive.
Top Track: Veni, Vidi, Vici (Though Defiance nearly ties it.)
Worst Track: God Of Our Sorrows was the only one of the minute long interludes that really threw me off my violent testosterone binge. I'm sure I'll learn to love it in time though. (EDIT: I Do.)
My advice? Have my babies so that they may grow to be kings.
This was my introduction to the band, I've since learned that they are amazing and the world needs to know about them.