Virgin Steele
Virgin Steele
American Heavy Metal!

Guardians of the Flame Virgin Steele - Guardians Of The Flame (Music For Nations) 1983

1. Don't Say Goodbye (Tonight)" (4:23)
2. Burn The Sun" (4:23)
3. Life Of Crime" (4:40)
4. The Redeemer" (7:05)
5. Birth Through Fire" (:39)
6. Guardians Of The Flame" (6:45)
7. Metal City" (04:12)
8. Hell Or High Water" (3:16)
9. Go All The Way" (3:11)
10. A Cry In The Night" (4:04)
11. "I Am The One" (3:47)
12. "Go Down Fighting" (2:20)
13. "Waiting for the Night" (4:18)
14. interview (6:41)
15. "Blues Deluze Oreganta (I Might Drown)" (6:13)

Ahhhh, another nostalgia trip. I loved this album back when I was in high school. This album was finally remastered for its first ever CD release in late 2002. The CD edition contains five bonus tracks, which are the three new tracks as well as and interview from the follow-up "Wait For The Night" EP, plus "Blues Deluxe Oreganata (I Might Drown)". "Guardians of the Flame" is the band's sophmore album and is a heavy metal classic--galloping riffs, beautiful vocals, shredding guitar solos, pounding bass, pure heavy metal power. "Burn The Sun" is one of those screamin' heavy metal tacks that got me into metal back in the early 80's. Not unlike Accept's "Fast as a Shark" or Queensryche's "Queen of the Ryche" this was one of those songs that we would crank over and over again. DeFieis' just tears it up on this track with some of the highest screams ever. Guitarist Jack Starr's guitarwork here is excellent as well. Absolutely the highlight of the album in my opinion. That is not to say, however, that this is the only good song on the album. On the contrary, this is a pretty solid platter. Virgin Steele is one of the early, legendary American heavy metal bands. Unfortunately for now I only have a cardboard promo copy, but I am now going to keep my eyes open for a regular copy.

consent Virgin Steele - Age of Consent (Locomotive) 1988

1.   The Burning of Rome (6:39)
2.   Let It Roar (4:49)
3.   Prelude to Evening [instrumental] (1:10)
4.   Lion in Winter (5:32)
5.   Stranger at the Gate (1:28)
6.   Perfect Mansions (Mountains of the Sun (8:32)
7.   Coils of the Serpent (1:24)
8.   Serpent's Kiss (8:15)
9.   On the Wings of the Night (4:41)
10. Seventeen (4:19)
11. Tragedy (4:21)
12. Stay on Top (3:37)
13. Chains of Fire (3:35)
14. Desert Plains (4:52)
15. Cry Forever (4:32)
16. We Are Eternal (4:10)
17. Screaming for Vengeance (5:11)
18. The Curse (2:55)

"Age of Consent" is the fourth full length album by US heavy metal band Virgin Steele. The album is more polished in both sound, musicianship and production than any past Virgin Steele album. The style, though still straight forward US heavy metal, would be considered power metal by modern standards. "The Burning of Rome" starts things off and is a fine example of American heavy metal. The more polished studio sound slightly robs the song of it overall heaviness. "Let It Roar" follows-up and is an fast tempo song that sees the band reaching back to it's roots. This song easily could have been on "Guardians Of The Flame". "Serpents Kiss" is an epic, mid-tempo, heavy metal song. It has a much heavier sound than "Burning of Rome" with the guitars out front and David DeFeis giving a raw, aggressive vocal performance.

There are a few tracks that felt a little out of place, the piano-instrumental "Prelude to Evening" seems to just come out of nowhere, though it does act as an intro to "Lion in Winter". "Seventeen" is a pop rocker that was most likely aimed at radio play. Though it feels a little out of place, I actually like the song. It's an upbeat rocker, but is definitely of the pop metal variety, as opposed to the traditional heavy metal that compromises the majority of the album. On the original vinyl release "Seventeen" was in the number two slot on the A-side, which was a fairly typical slot for the album's single. Likewise, "Tragedy" is a melodic, AOR rocker and is an obvious attempt at a more commercial sound. "Cry Forever" is the album's obligatory ballad.

The album includes three cover songs, one of which is listed as a bonus track. "Stay on Top" is a cover of Uriah Heep's song from the album Head First, while "Desert Plains" and "Screaming for Vengeance" are Judas Priest covers. "Screaming for Vengeance" was taken from the "Tribute to Judas Priest: Legends of Metal Vol. II" CD.

The original vinyl release of "Age of Consent" featured only 10 songs, a different track order and a completely different cover. The more commercial songs, such as "Seventeen" and "Tragedy" were buried deeper in the album, with the heavier songs such as "The Burning of Rome" and "Let it Roar" moved to the front. The album was reissued on CD in 1997 by Noise Records, with a new song listing. The '97 Noise version was remastered and re-released in 2008 on Locomotive Records with two more additional bonus tracks. The Locomotive re-issue also contains a 16-page color booklet with lyrics, liner notes and tons of photos.

Life Among the Ruins Virgin Steele - Life Among the Ruins (T&T) 1993

1. "Sex Religion Machine" (4:43)
2. "Jet Black" (4:17)
3. "Love is Pain" (3:52)
4. "Invitation" (1:17)
5. "I Dress in Black (Woman with No Shadows)" (4:45)
6. "Crown of Thorns" (6:28)
7. "Cage of Angels" [instrumental] (:55)
8. "Never Believed in Goodbye" (4:22)
9. "Too Hot To Handle" (4:40)
10. "Love is Gone" (4:28)
11. "Snakeskin Voodoo Man" (5:16)
12. "Wild Fire Woman" (4:43)
13. "Cry Forever" (4:32)
14. "Haunting the Last Hours" [instrumental] (:54)
15. "Last Rose of Summer" (4:22)

Back in the early 80's I owned "Guardians of the Flame" on vinyl. The song "Burn the Sun" from that album was an immediate favorite. However, having sold my original vinyl collection in 1990, I hadn't heard Virgin Steele again until I received a copy of this CD. I had remembered Virgin Steele as being a Manowar-ish heavy metal band. Certainly a song like "Burn the Sun" or "Metal City" is exactly that. However, "Life Among the Ruins" isn't this at all. Rather it's melodic heavy metal with definite pop hooks and even some bluesy Whitesnake-ish moments. Once over the initial shock, I discovered an album that has more than it's share of memorable moments including album opener "Sex Religion Machine", '80s melodic rocker "Jet Black," the Led Zeppelin-inspired "I Dress in Black" and sappy ballad and album closer "Last Rose of Summer". A few tracks just stick out like a sore thumb. "Love is Pain" in particular seems to be foreign to the Virgin Steele sound. The song is a melodic pop rock song tailor made for radio play. It's not a bad song but sounds like something Journey might have recorded in the 80's rather than a heavy metal machine like Virgin Steele. Songs like "Crown of Thorns" and "I Dress in Black" definitely have a Whitesnake vibe going on, but doesn't seem quite as foreign to the band's sound as something more commercial like "Love is Pain".

My copy is autographed by David DeFeis - vocals, , Ed Pursino -  guitars, Rob DeMartino - bass and Joey Ayvazian - drums.

The Book of Burning Virgin Steele - The Book Of Burning (T&T / Noise Records) 2002

1. "Conjuration Of The Watcher" (4:24)
2. "Don't Say Goodbye (Tonight)" [re-recorded]" (4:42)
3. "Rain Of Fire" (6:27)
4. "Annihilation" (1:05)
5. "Hellfire Woman" (6:57)
6. "Children Of The Storm" [re-recorded] (6:19)
7. "The Chosen Ones" (8:04)
8. "The Succubus" (3:15)
9. "Minuet In G Minor" [re-recorded] (:48)
10. "The Redeemer" [re-recorded] (5:42)
11. "I Am The One" [re-recorded] (3:48)
12. "Hot And Wild" [re-recorded] (4:05)
13. "Birth Through Fire" [re-recorded] (:39)
14. "Guardians Of The Flame" [re-recorded] (6:44)
15. "The Final Days" (5:50)
16. "A Cry In The Night" [re-recorded/acoustic version] (4:45)

This CD is primarily songs from the first two Virgin Steele albums, although much of the material has been re-recorded. Also included are a few songs from various points in their career that were never before released. Tracks 5-8 are re-recorded versions of songs written by David DeFeis and Jack Starr (Burning Starr) in 1997. "Conjuration of the Watcher" and "The Succubus", written by Defeis, first appears on the 1986 Original Sin LP "Sin Will Find You Out". Because many of these songs have been re-recordinged, the production values are stepped up a bit from what I remember the originals being. Highlights are of the re-recorded classics such as "The Redeemer" and "Guardians Of The Flame". I was sort of bummed that "Burn the Sun" was not included ont hs CD..

Related collections:
Jack Starr's Burning Starr

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