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The beginning..... - 82%

UltraBoris, December 17th, 2002

This is where Virgin Steele suddenly got their shit together in a really massive way. I mean, after the ludicrously bad Life Among the Ruins, it seemed this band was dead, and next thing you know, they release this masterpiece. The first of five - count 'em, FIVE!! - works of epic power metal.

This one is probably the most song-oriented of all their latest albums, as in there are songs on here that really don't go directly with "the story" and are meant to stand on their own, both musically and lyrically. Some are a bit more vague, for example "I Will come for You" which opens the album, or perhaps "Weeping of the Spirits".

"Blood and Gasoline" is possibly the highlight of the album. It's short and sweet and works amazingly well, and is a bit different from a lot of other Virgin Steele songs, so it may just work so well as the counterpoint. In any case, great stuff.

"I Wake Up Screaming" is also quite good, even though I should point out that they stole a Butthole Surfers riff!! The main under-the-verses riff is also the after-chorus riff of the "Who the Hell's been in my room???" song.

Other highlights include the great ballad "Forever will I roam", the classic concert staple "Life among the Ruins" (not to be confused with that horrible album), or perhaps "Blood of the Saints" or maybe even the closing track, which is a little instrumental that highlights the great songwriting capabilities that Defeis and Pursino have. Also,"Weeping of the Spirits" has an awesome solo, as well as the great line "kill me, or die where you stand!!" Epic as fuck, kids. Don't forget Trail of Tears, which turns into a monster about two minutes in.

Overall, this one is definitely worth having - any of the last five are. It's not quite as good as the sequel, but still very incredibly solid.