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Walks Respectfully Over Sacred Ground - 99%

VirginSteele_Helstar, August 23rd, 2012

Had Virgin Steele's fifth album "Life among the Ruins" maintained a sound and style exhibited on "Snakeskin Voodoo Man" from start to finish, it would to this day be hailed as a classic and not frowned upon as it often is. "Snakeskin Voodoo Man" was as DeFeis puts it; “A time to get in touch with my Zeppelin and Blues roots". And he does so in a mightily pompous style that Robert Plant might roll his eyes at but one which David Coverdale and Ronnie James Dio would applaud.

The song also appeared on the soundtrack to "Casualties of Love: The "Long Island Lolita" Story", a made for TV movie starring Alyssa Milano. It was the kind of song that could easily get on the radio but still maintain a distinct flavor that the older, fastidious rock community could appreciate. For being able to strike that balance, Virgin Steele get my full respect. DeFeis constantly mentions Howlin'; Wolf as an influence when it came to his Blues explorations and "Snakeskin Voodoo Man" wears those influences well. His voice booms over Edward Pursino's fiery guitar riffs with an energy and vivacity that came easy to Howlin' Wolf a la "Smokestack Lightnin'".

"Snakeskin Voodoo Man" is a heavy metal song with a vintage air. One that works on the strength of its deliverers' ability to pick from the past and present and meld with great tastefulness those nuances. It is loud, it is sheer rock n' roll in its entire unapologetic glare but it possesses a classiness that can't be contrived. Sadly, the magic only lasted one song as the rest of "Life among the Ruins" is the definition of "contrived".