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Some of you migthy consider this rating too high, and you might be right, but since everything is pretty subjective and I tend to get carried away, so be it. To be completely honest, it was pretty difficult to chose the title of the review, since you really can't find words when you're presented with something like this. Of course this is not the first time I listened to this album, but even after 2 years it strikes hard enough in my heart.
Why people prefer all those flower power metal bands, those symphonic bullshit "bands" called Rhapsody, Dark Moor or whatever, prefer silly heavy metal like Savatage, Iron Maiden or Saxon? Not that these are bad bands, but compared to the last 5 Virgin Steele albums they're like Reign in Blood compared to Darkness Descends. An eternal mistery, I suppose.
Back to the band though, got carried away. DeFeis is God. We all know that, his singing is amazing, melodic, emotional, atmospheric... well... you get my point. The usage of keyboards by mr. DeFeis also becomes more intense on this album, but I'm not talking about shitty power metal keyboards in the stupid "look I can play really cool" way, but actually making sense, going along with the guitars, in short making the music whole. (WASP and Manticora come to mind on good keyboard usage)
Symphony of Steele is the eternal live classic, the hymn of this band together with a few other songs (Veni, vidi, vici, Victory is Mine, Kingdom Of The Fearless, We Rule The Night). And as usual it's amazing speed metal with a Virgin Steele touch to it.
Crown of Glory is another highlight, a heavy metal song with a breathtaking chorus and some really interesting speed metal riffs. Also the "All that's alive consider holy, holy, holy " part is amazing, absolutely unbeatable in terms of emtions, riffs and atmosphere.
From Chaos to Creation is a pretty good intro to Twilight Of The Gods, another power/speed number, with great vocal, guitar, drum combinations. Yet another highlight.
Rising Unchained and Transfiguration are the last "shorter" songs on the album, one being a straightforward rocker, the other a great ballad/intro to the epic "Prometheus the Fallen One". Now this is something that takes your breath away. Almost 8 minutes of great heavy metal, with great keyboard and guitar pieces featuring the story of the infamous Prometheus who stole fire from Zeus and gave it to mankind. Was punished for it, but never gave up hope - "Cursed and tried, I am the man in god". A great Greek myth, and one of my favorites.
Emalaith is another epic number of amazing proportions. Won't say much about it, other than the song builds up slowly and gets more epic towards the end. Featuring a keyboard/guitar "battle" and a nice number of solos. Virgin Steele cannot do wrong it seems.
Strawgirl is the ballad. And Virgin Steele ballads rule. I would dare to compare it to Unholy Water, another ballad, a bit more heavier, but both are awesome and completely different, yet still manage to be great.
Um... and yeah, Devil/Angel is a bit Judas Priestish, and guess what, it works. Speed metal done the good ol' Judas way.
AND HERE IT COMES!!! The BEST Virgin Steele song EVER!!! Victory is Mine!
Whoa... this song is simply perfect, blazing from the start to the greatest chorus ever accompained with triumphal drumming and guitarwork, it brings epic power metal to another plane of existance. And when you think it couldn't get better the
"I will run to the hills where you hide, Seeking vengeance for all of my kind" part breaks through causing a strange sensation in your heart, either being a heart attack or pure joy it matters not for this song is perfect.
Definetly my favorite heavy metal album. And together with Invictus simply one of the best albums ever released. Noone is better than Virgin Steele, and they proved it 5 times by now. They're true kings of heavy metal, and the most amazing band I ever heard. Period.