Virgin Steele

Visions Of Eden

Written by: TL on 25/10/2006 22:41:22

Despite the fact that these days the term power metal has become synonymous with Dragonforce, there are actually still other bands out there, releasing their takes on the genre. One such band is the eleven album-veterans from Virgin Steele and their newest effort is in more than one way a somewhat more classical approach.

For those of you that have never heard about this band, I'd like to quicky note that the band I find it easiest to compare them with is Iron Maiden, seeing as the vocal-style of frontman and mastermind David DeFeis is quite similar to the one of Bruce Dickinson. Judging from this album though, the similarities don't expand beyond that. Where Maiden has that loveable edge of rock 'n roll hysteria, Virgin Steele is one hundred percent dedicated towards completing the fantasy ideals that usually inspire bands of their genre. The music is softer and apart from the usual heavy metal intruments, this band also utilizes pianos, synths, horns and probably more that I haven't noticed, in order to compose a more theatrical sound. And really, if there's one word I think describes this band it would be just that - theatrical. As often before, the band has created a concept-album based on mythology. Every song is a long and huge dramatic epos and it is rather clear, that this is a band that has cast aside everything related to the concept of "popular music", and gone all in, in an attempt to make their grand stories come to life.

In my opinion however, this is, to use fitting fantasy-terminology, a double-edged sword. I realize that this is supposed to be everything power/hero/glory-metal has always been about, but something is just missing. Somewhere in the process of making this album everything it is, the feeling of rock 'n roll has disappeared. What is left is a kind of music I feel more tempted towards calling classical than metal. The sound is so huge I have trouble describing it, or relating it to anything, but it is also so far gone in this fantasy-world, that I have trouble finding myself captivated by it. I am fascinated by this record, but I don't think I would ever have listened to it more than once if I wasn't reviewing it, and I don't think I'm gonna listen to it again after doing so. It's the kind of CD I imagine I'd hear before going roleplaying in the forest or while playing D&D with some long-haired friends, if I did any of those. To tell the truth, I don't think that I'm enough of an escapist to fully enjoy this album. In case you are, feel free to add another grade or two.

Download: Immortal I Stand (The Birth Of Adam), Black Light On Black
For the fans of: Iron Maiden, Nightwish, Fantasy-inspired metal
Listen: MySpace (no tracks from the actual album available though)

Release date 08.09.2006
Sanctuary Records
Provided by Target ApS

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