Virgin Steele

The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell Part 1 (Reissue)

Written by: PP on 27/12/2008 14:42:17

Virgin Steele are considered as one of the founders of 'epic metal', the style of power/heavy metal which relies on fantasy themes and colossal soundscapes. In other words, a genre that sounded fairly dated already in mid 90s, which on the eve of 2009 sounds like stone age to anyone accustomed to the more modern genres of music. For some reason, Dockyard1 has seen fit to reissue the band's 'epic' "The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell" albums (parts 1 and 2), as well as a third album that TL will be writing about slightly later, but I'm still having hard time imagining there are power/heavy metal fans out there who a) don't have this release already because they are fans and b) would care if they don't already own it.

As you might have deduced, I belong to category b. It's not that I hate Virgin Steele, because "The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell Part 1" has some awesome guitar solos and surprisingly tight melodies in places. So that isn't the problem, the problem lies within sheer inconsistency. When the band kicks up the speed a notch and adds a variant of speed metal to their otherwise cliché form of heavy metal, it's not uncommon to see me headbanging along to the songs, "I Wake Up Screaming", "Blood And Gasoline", and "Blood Of The Saints" being good examples of this. But when the band resorts into progressive wankery, attempting to create "heavy metal ballads" as in "Forever Will I Roam", I'm instead banging my head against the wall. In fact, whenever the band plays their slower material here, they sound like a cliché 70s/80s band that doesn't know to stop, as the Danes say it, when the game is still good.

Don't mind me being overly critical here, because if you do happen to be a massive power/heavy metal fan, Virgin Steele is your second coming of Manowar. Occasionally they also manage to reach outside of the genre loyalists as well, such as myself, and it is there where Virgin Steele is at their most enjoyable. But that being said, this is a re-issue, and the new version of "Blood And Gasoline" with Crystal Viper helping out on vocals isn't exactly worth re-purchasing this album.

Download: Blood And Gasoline, Blood Of The Saints
For the fans of: Manowar, Iron Maiden
Listen: Myspace

Release date 31.10.2008
Dockyard 1

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