Virgin Steele
The Black Light Bacchanalia

01. By The Hammer Of Zeus (And The Wrecking Ball Of Thor)
02. Pagan Heart
03. The Bread Of Wickedness
04. In A Dream Of Fire
05. Nepenthe (I Live Tomorrow)
06. The Orpheus Taboo
07. To Crown Them With Halos (Parts 1 & 2)
08. The Black Light Bacchanalia (The Age That Is To Come)
09. The Tortures Of The Damned
10. Necropolis (He Answers Them With Death)
11. Eternal Regret

David DeFeis (V, Kb, orchestration & effects)
Edward Pursino (G)
Frank Gilchriest (D, chaos & pandemonium)
Josh Block (B)

Virgin Steele (1982)
Wait for the Night (EP '83)
Guardians of the Flame ('83)
Noble Savage ('86)
Age of Consent ('88)
Life Among the Ruins ('93)
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell P I ('94)
The Marriage of Heaven and Hell P II ('95)
Invictus ('98)
The House of Atreus Act I ('99)
The House of Atreus Act II (2000)
Magick Fire Music (EP '00)
Visions of Eden ('06)


Ed Warriner (Eng)

Released 25/10-2010
Reviewed 8/10-2010


Next year celibrates the 30th anniversity for Virgin Steele. The only member that has stayed in the band since then is the vocalist David DeFeis who joined Jack Starrs band after the drummer Joey Ayvazian and more or less took over the band when Starr left the band three years later. All the controversy that followed with band name and copyrights ought to be since long forgotten and my guess is that we'll see a best-of album being released next year to celibrate the anniversity.

With the 30 year-day closing in , the obvious question to ask ought to be: do this album have songs strong enough to be on a best-of album? One might think that after 29 years with Eleven albums and lots of experience, the album released just before the anniversity should have the strongest material... However, that is the same logic that also would mean Iron Maiden only gets more creative, that Judas Priest do bigger classics today than in the 70's and 80's or that Rolling Stones have more energy on stage. Experience and quality does not walk hand in hand very often, we've seen it many times and only a handful of bands can keep triumphing their albums over and over in a career this long. It hard to keep getting better during half of it. So I guess the real question is: Are Virgin Steele a band that keeps getting better and better?

The carreer untill now haven't really been straight upwards, the Eleven albums that have been released have both doubts and diamonds. From them, the Two concept series ’The Marrige of Heaven and Hell’ and ’House of Atreus’ is probably the ones who sticks out the most as carreer hights. I think they'll continue to do so even after 'The Black Light Bacchanalia' because this is an album that doesn't feel as the best album Virgin Steele can do. Instead, I think, it feels pretty much as a collection of everything Virgin Steele has done wrong in their carreer.

First of all, there's the mixing. Then there's the sound quality. And then the song structure. I actually think Virgin Steele haven't found a single right on this album. As a whole it's not even close to qualify for a best-of album and seen to the songs individually I can't find many songs that's even good to be considered. But then there's the introducing By the Hammer of Zeus who sounds pretty decent. And the ballad Nepenthe (I Live Tomorrow) is also okay. Overall, I think, the songs sounds better than the album. The album as a whole gets boring, dull and agrevating to listen at. It's long in playing time (well over 70 minutes) and it's slow to sit through it with lenghty songs and that feels strangly produced or mixed. The only real way around it is to raise the volume to the level where you can only hope not to break either the speakers or the ears. Virgin Steele have more or less always had this sound on their albums, it sounds like they've recorded the album on a train plattform, it's to breathy and hollow. It doesn't feel finished for some reason, that last thing that closes the sound is missing.

What's positive is nothing in particular. There is nothing I really take a special liking for, but I do think the album have a pretty ingenious structure. As usual with Virgin Steele, they've written a thematical album and that this time deal about the right to stand up for yourself, especially against authority. The story takes place in ancient Greece (again) and those who like mythology will definitly get their piece of it.

The problem I find with 'The Black Light Bacchanalia' is that whatever they do it feels uninteresting. It never shines up entierly - the refrains feels lame, the powerful parts seems tired and nowhere is there a real show off. The sounds eat up the music, the vocals are grey and the only way to get something good out of 'The Black Light Bacchanalia' is to raise the volume to almost unbarable. As what's become tradition with Virgin Steele the mix and production is the big problem, but here it feels ten times worse than usual. I think some songs and parts are really good and just to hear them works really well, it's in the whole collection it goes wrong.

After 29 years, I think David DeFeis and his merry men could do well better than this. However, I think the real Virigin Steele fans will like 'The Black Light Bacchanalia' more than I do. But I assume not as much as the big classics from earlier. My opinion is that clearly Virgin Steele can and should sound better than this and I hope they celibrate their anniversity tith an album that in contradiction to this shows the best the band have done. Me, I turn of the light for 'The Black Light Bacchanalia' pretty quick.


Label - SPV/Playground
Three similar bands - Savatage/Aina/Zandelle
Reviewer: Caj Källmalm