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by the gods - 95%

TheStormIRide, February 6th, 2006

Virgin Steele has been in the metal scene for a very long time. They definitely show they know how to rock, especially for such an underrated and overlooked band. I, for one, believe that Virgin Steele deserve a much wider audience. They have all of the elements that make great bands, and they have that wonderful eighties vibe without sounding dated.

The production on this album is near perfect. It retains that eighties vibe and still sounds like a modern album. DeFeis’s vocals are excellent in the mix, the guitars are excellent in the mix, and the drums are excellent; everything is excellent. Virgin Steele has definitely found a production sound that works for them.

This album starts out with a really cool intro that really sets the tone for the album to follow, although it seems to have a darker undertone then the majestic styling of the rest of the tracks.

The album’s true kick off is “Invictus” which shows Virgin Steele at their best. DeFeis’s vocals are excellent, but when are they not. He seems to have a more lethal approach on this song, almost more angry than ever. The chorus has that almighty, angelic chanting in the background. The guitars are definitely in the speed metal arena for the most part. The band also shows that they are not afraid of slowing down with a nice piano slash power chord melody. The drums are the usual Steele style; fast double bass and rolls on the snare. And this is what you should expect from the rest of the album.

Instead of doing a song by song synopsis, I’ll just give the general flavor of this release. It definitely picks up where the Marriage albums left off; this being the conclusion. Everything Virgin Steele is known for is on this album. Stellar riffs, double bass drumming, wonderful keyboard and piano pieces, and DeFeis’s excellency on vocals.

This album is not dominated by any certain style, such as speed metal or ballads, but instead it is a mix of all that is Virgin Steele. The interludes they are known for are here, short musical pieces that keep the flow of the album interesting. That may just be the best point of this album: it doesn’t get boring. This is one of those albums that should be listened to from start to finish. All of the songs are great. There are no real filler tracks here. Excellent writing in both the lyrical and musical aspects. There are some really good solos on here, nothing too flashy but enough to get the blood pumping.

Overall, the song writing is excellent and the musicianship is excellent. The vocals, as always with Virgin Steele, are definitely a highlight. All of the songs are excellent, and that is hard to find on metal albums in this age of bands filling albums with eighty minutes of total crap. I can’t pick a favorite song off of this album because there is no filler! This album is recommended to all power metal and traditional metal fans, especially the Manowar fans out there. This is one of the best in the genre and should be heard, by the gods! Invictus!