Virgin Steele

Life Among The Ruins

Written by: TL on 30/12/2008 00:43:23

It's time for the last chapter in the triology of Virgin Steele reviews that have come as a consequence of Dockyard 1 providing us with 3 of the 5 albums they re-released back on October 31st of this year. You may have already read PP's articles about both halves of "The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell", and now it has fallen upon me to deal with the the older sibling of those, namely "Life Among The Ruins", which was originally released back in 1993. Actually, I've learnt that the two previous albums "Age Of Consent" and "Noble Savage" (albums no. 3 and 4 of the band's career) were also reissued, but for some reason, we haven't been charged with reviewing those, but that's all the same if you ask me, because if you didn't get interested in Virgin Steele from reading these other three reviews, I doubt two more will do the trick. - And if you're already a fan, shouldn't you already own all this music?

In any case, if this is the first time you ever read about Virgin Steele, let me just bring you up to speed by drawing up the main comparison, namely that to Iron Maiden. In terms of sound, and especially in terms of vocals, this band sound very similar to Maiden, and like them, their music is typically characterized as heavy metal with epic soundscapes. This album however, was never a typical release for the band, and it's hard for me to believe, that the band I know for currently bringing the power metal scene some of its grandest and most ambitious content, can sound like they do here. Again, start with Iron Maiden, then for the purpose of imagining "Life Among The Ruins"' sound, clone them into a bastard hybrid with Guns N' Roses and have them play love songs, Sunset Strip-style, the way you remember Whitesnake doing. That's pretty much what's being offered on this baby, as the only thing that's really epic here is the tracks' length, most of them falling between the 4th and 5th minute marks - You gotta' have room for those ballsy solos you know.

Reading up on the band has taught me that this album is arguably the least favoured of the band's fans, and I can see why. Anyone who's ever listened to GnR's "November Rain" and thought for a moment that it's just a bit too long and pretentious will know why, as the same problem applies here. Call it the Sunset-sickness if you will, as band's of this style have always brought out all the big guns to write their great romantic anthems, only to have them sound hollow and fake, and the same thing goes for most songs on "Life Among The Ruins". By track 8, I'm thoroughly bored, despite my best efforts to stay interested, and that doesn't bode well for an album that counts 19 tracks, all re-issue bonus material included. With even dedicated Virgin Steele fans seemingly giving this a second thought before purchase, I wouldn't count on it selling a whole lot of copies, as even the extra acoustic tracks can't make this more than a record that you'll only ever buy for the sake of your Virgin Steele collection's completion.

4

Download: I Dress In Black, Never Believed In Goodbye
For The Fans Of: Iron Maiden, Whitesnake, Guns N' Roses,
Listen: myspace.com/virginsteele

Release Date 31.10.2008
Dockyard 1

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