Virgin Steele - The Black Light Bacchanalia review
|Album:||The Black Light Bacchanalia|
|Release date:||October 2010|
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
1 - Part 1
2 - Part 2
08. The Black Light Bacchanalia (The Age That Is To Come)
09. The Torture's Of The Damned
10. Necropolis (He Answers Them With Death)
11. Eternal Regret
Disc II [Limited edition Digipak bonus]
01. When I'm Silent (The Wind Of Voices)
02. Silent Sorrow
03. From A Whisper To A Scream (The Spoken Biography)
If you ever wondered what a Power Metal band such as Virgin Steele would sound like trying to mystify and/or darken their sound, you will enjoy The Black Light Bacchanalia. The latest oeuvre from the New York legends takes several spins to sink in, which is definitely a good indication in my book. The first listen left me disappointed though, almost puzzled by the whole thing. And I am slowly starting to grasp the strengths and shortcomings of the album.
The first noticeable change is the emergence of Josh Block as a major player in the band. Usually used as a bass player, his role on this album grew to a power guitar player. On top of handling most of the guitar solos, Josh provides the newer darker guitar sound that was needed to achieve their goal. As a matter of fact, their flagship guitar player Edward Pursino is only credited on 5 of the 11 tracks. On some tracks, the two of them collaborate brilliantly. As is the case with the song "In a Dream of Fire", which represents the perfect blend of old school and newly darkened Virgin Steele. But fear not, their trademark elements are still the driving force behind the music. David DeFeis classical composition skills, his voice(s) and his charisma are the epitome of class. Drummer Frank Gilchriest quietly impresses once more.
Despite the overall more sinister tone, some songs are images of internal struggle between light and shadows. A composition like "The Orpheus Taboo" made the album so much better for that reason alone, on top of being another fantastic vocal performance.
In their effort to sound mystic though, a few key elements have been overshadowed. The production is way too soft in my opinion. A greater emphasis should have been put on the guitar and drum sounds. Secondly, the power songs of the album are not on par with their classics. After each listen, it feels like an extra couple of more powerful tracks could have turned The Black Light Bacchanalia into something much bigger. Sure, "To Crown Them with Halos" is a spellbinding song; but a little more oomph would not have hurt. The same goes for the title track.
Regardless, The Black Light Bacchanalia is an album to savor. It was born out of a brave musical decision to darken their trademark sound while keeping the foundations untouched. In that regard, Virgin Steele succeeded for the most part. The question is now were their fans expecting something more traditional or are they ready to embrace the effort? Only time will tell.
Written on 12.12.2010 by
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