| Virgin Steele
- "Virgin Steele 1. (re-release)"
Sanctuary Records 2002
It was 1982 when four youngsters, full of self-confidence, launched their first release. Best days of bands such as Rainbow, Black Sabbath or U.F.O. slowly drifted away. But their influence was still very much present in the air (and fortunately still is). NWOBHM was shaking those days European Heavy Metal trends that were led by Iron Maiden. What about U.S.A.? The gates for Virgin Steele in U.S.A. at that time were opened and the band, full of enthusiasm and working energy, took a chance in making their way towards the top. They really believed in what they were doing.
Starship on the cover carries under its tail an interesting insignia: NWAHM (that sounds so familiarů hmm, perhaps New Wave Of American Heavy Metal?). Band's musical approach can simply be called "virginsteeleized" Heavy Metal style. There is still no band and it also never existed, that can be closely compared with what Virgin Steele were and still are.
Band that consisted from four very talented musicians brings out alchemy that is incarnated with full power voltage drive into entire record. Very alive and dynamic rhythm section with fat melodic bass line. The magic between David Defeis' unique singing and thundering power of Jack Star's guitar is untamed and so alive, full of passion, going extremely wild all the time. Ear blasting David's screams accompanied by great guitar work. Jack Star, a "three-fingered" guitarist whose impressive hammering, licking and pull offs in his solos are extremely fast this time. Fantastic. With great feeling and full force. All the motives, melodic passages, opened and crushing riffing reminds me very much of Michael Schenker. Of course also by Jack's traditional (in meanings of presence) "Gibson" guitar sound.
What they tried to achieve on their first release was to combine classical music (mainly David's keyboard arrangements) with those days' trends of Heavy Metal on American grounds. Heavy Metal of Virgin Steele was much influenced by the hard rock giant's legacy. And this influence was never so present in future releases of the band as it is on the first official recording. Bluesy and Hard Rock feeling is involved all the time ("Still In Love With You" with fantastic guitar solos in slower middle section of the song, "Pictures On You" or kicking "Dead End Kids"). This colliding of classical music and metal is a trademark of Virgin Steele even nowadays.
Virgin Steele also succeeded to offer an epic touch straight from the beginning. Just listen to "Children Of The Storm", in my opinion a first class striker, full of turnovers, changing of rhythms and motives, a song that beats real high. A Heavy Metal masterpiece that connects bands history with its presence. In that same vein goes "Virgin Steele", which closes the debut album.
Also never released demo bonus tracks can be found here and David's linernotes about evolution of "Virgin Steele 1.". An erotic, alive, high voltage album, full of passion, that still sounds so fresh. This is it. Pure classic.