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Epic power metal alert! - 91%

UltraBoris, August 8th, 2002

This is one of those albums that has to be listened to all at once. I've listened to it a few hundred times, and I still don't know the individual trackings - there are a total of 22 tracks, which vary in length from 7 minutes to about 30 seconds. Everything here has its place, from the little piano pieces, to the spoken word parts, to the long guitar segments.

Highlights - well, if I really gotta break it down into individual songs. "Agony and Shame" has a really cool middle part, with a melodic break that has the same general tune as "Sword of the Gods" from Invictus. It's kinda cool, I mean if you're going to recycle riffs, you may as well be completely and totally overt about it. It gives a sense of continuity, as that basic melody has appeared on about 4 Virgin Steele albums.

Also, "Great Sword of Flame" is nice speed metal. "Gate of Kings" and "Child of Desolation" are awesome ballads, some of the best ever written. David DeFeis definitely figured out how to write ballads since around Noble Savage. "Through the Ring of Fire" has some really cool layered vocals. Etc etc, there are highlights everywhere, but this album isn't about the individual pieces, it's about everything coming together for 71 minutes of musical perfection.