Virgin Steele - The Black Light Bacchanalia

Virgin Steele have been around since the late 80s, and up to this point released a pretty steady discography. The Black Light Bacchanalia will be their twelfth studio album, and fans who have enjoyed their power metal/ heavy metal style so far will love it all the same. In fact, one would say that Virgin Steele has just gotten more melodic, with the inclusion of piano-like-keyboards and a soft, soothing tempo throughout the album. Part of this is accredited to the soft, mellow vocals of David Defeis. He has a very unique style that suits the power metal genre perfectly. Instead of reaching those soaring, operatic highs, he tends to keep his voice at a crooning low, though he can reach those high pitches every once in a while. This is also partially due to how Virgin Steele has a lot of piano driven music on their album, such as "Nepenthe" and "Regret." This type of power metal is slow and moody at purely atmopsheric; something you don't really see in a lot of power metal bands except for groups like Kamelot. Usually there is too much guitar and keyboards, but Virgin Steele manage of avoid this pitfall.

Of course, there is plenty of guitar driven music here too. "Bread Of Wickedness" is an excellent example, and so is "Orpheus Taboo." However, one can tell that heavy, guitar driven music isn't really Virgin Steele's style. Even the hard tracks like these are too smooth and feel like they are being performed with the utmost caution, like someone walking across broken glass or performing surgury. That raging energy that fast paced songs require just isn't present with this band. Instead, their music is better suited for slow, brooding tracks like "Black Light Bacchanalia" with it's plodding, doom metal paced guitars or a mix of piano and short, buzzing guitar notes on "Necropolis." Even the drums sound better when they sound more percussive than thunderous such as on the opening track, "Hammer Of Zeus."

Whether fans will admit it or not, Virgin Steele is a different kind of power metal. Don't expect anything typical or high energetic here, but instead, consider this something to mellow out to. Take the softer parts of Dream Theater with a mix of bands like Dio and Opeth, and that is how you get Virgin Steele. Of course, some of the bands just mentioned probably ended up basing their music of Steele's style. With a focus more on melody and lyrical content that is in depth, the laid back atmosphere allows listeners to really take in all of the music, as opposed to bits and pieces when when being rushed by the music. One won't really find themselves in a mosh pit to this kind of power metal, but they may find themselves capable of doing other things that normally wouldn't be associated with faster paced music (such as studying or meditating).

  1. By The Hammer Of Zeus (And The Wrecking Ball Of Thor)
  2. Pagan Heart
  3. Bread Of Wickedness
  4. In A Dream Of Fire
  5. Nepenthe (I Live Tomorrow)
  6. The Orpheus Tattoo
  7. To Crown Them With Halos
  8. The Black Light Bacchanalia
  9. The Torture's Of The Damned
  10. Necropolis (He Answers Then WIth Death)
  11. Eternal Regret

SPV/ Steamhammer
Reviewer: Colin McNamara
Oct 18, 2010

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