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Virgin Steele - The House Of Atreus Act I review


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Band: Virgin Steele
Album: The House Of Atreus Act I
Release date: 1999

01. Kingdom Of The Fearless (The Destruction Of Troy)
02. Blaze Of Victory (The Watchman's Song)
03. Through The Ring Of Fire
04. Prelude In A Minor (The Voyage Home)
05. Death Darkly Closed Their Eyes (The Messenger's Song)
06. In Triumph Or Tragedy
07. Return Of The King
08. Flames Of The Black Star (The Arrows Of Herakles)
09. Narcissus
10. And Hecate Smiled
11. A Song Of Prophecy
12. Child Of Desolation
13. G Minor Invention (Descent Into Death's Twilight Kingdom)
14. Day Of Wrath
15. Great Sword Of Flame
16. The Gift Of Tantalos
17. Iphigenia In Hades
18. The Fire God
19. Garden Of Lamentation
20. Agony And Shame
21. Gate Of Kings
22. Via Sacra

'The House of Atreus Act I' represents the first part of Virgin Steele's 'barbaric-romantic' (to quote David DeFeis) metal opera, which revolves around a story of betrayal, murder, and revenge situated in ancient Greece around the time of the Battle of Troy. This album (along with the second part) showcases the band's full potential like none of its predecessors in Virgin Steele's long career. The opener, 'Kingdom of the Fearless' takes us into the story (which is rather complicated - read the booklet!) with double-bass drumming, exploding guitars, and David's voice, which, on this one, he uses more to scream than to sing. As we proceed through the album, the story is told with instrumental pieces, spoken words, swords? clanging, and acoustical renditions of heads being chopped off - very entertaining indeed.

The most memorable pieces, in my opinion, are tracks 10, 11, and 12 ('And Hecate smiled','A Song of Prophecy,' and 'Child of Desolation'). Number 10 begins with a vocals performance that only very few singers can pull off. David displays an amazing vocal range, going from soft and melodic into rough and powerful. In number 11, David shows us that, yes, indeed, he is a classical pianist, and an amazing one at that. Number 12 is one of the most emotional and beautiful, piano-driven heavy metal ballads I have ever heard in my entire life. 'Agony and Shame,' (track 20) finally, is carried by a very catchy chorus and pounding drums that will stay in your head for days. Noteworthy also, is the conclusion to the album, 'Gate of Kings,' a very powerful, if maybe a little over-the-top ballad that leaves us hungry for the conclusion of the story and also more of this fabulous music!

In summation: unbelievable, creative, powerful, romantic. This piece of work is truly unique. Why only 9 stars then? Because Act II is even better.

Written by Emalaith | 25.08.2003

Guest review disclaimer:
This is a guest review, which means it does not necessarily represent the point of view of the MS Staff.

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