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By all the gods of Olympus... - 100%

ShadowSouled, January 22nd, 2008

A number of people have repetitively told me to check this band out, but being the lazy human scum that I am, and my musical preference being what they are, I didn't till sometime last week. I obtained The House of Atreus Act I, and now power metal has been murdered for me. I have not listened to a better power metal act (then again, I haven't listened to all that much power metal), and definitively one of the few that actually deserve the title of "epic".

This album is twenty two tracks long, clocking in at roughly one hour and 13 minutes, and every second of it is pure gold. The riffing is brilliant; the soloing is literally some of the best that I've heard in my life, and you can count on at least one per song, which makes it all the more enjoyable. The drumming varies from almost nonexistent from some tracks (see Narcissus or Via Sacra for examples, among others) to speedy, such as in Kingdom of Fearless. The keyboards are tasteful, varied and not overbearing, unlike a lot of bands seem to make them. The vocals... Ye gods, a better power metal vocalist than David DeFeis there cannot be. His singing is powerful and commanding when need be (such as Kingdom of Fearless), but also heartrendingly beautiful as seen in Gate of Kings. He also does a lot of choral work, which I am always partial to in this kind of music. The album is based around the greek mythos, most prominent being the events of the fall of Troy and what befell after.

If you are a power metal fan and haven't heard this band or album, do yourself a favour and do so right away. Virgin Steele simultaneously deliver a masterpiece and blow anything calling itself "epic" power metal out of the water. Picking out individual songs as highlights would be a disgrace to the rest of the album; just listen to the whole damn thing, the way it's meant to be heard.