Virgin Steele – Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation

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Almost five years has passed since the release of “The Black Light Bacchanalia” and there were many out there who eagerly expected what David DeFeis and Co. had in store for all the epic metal fans around the globe. Despite the fact that I don’t find any of the recent Virgin Steele offerings to be nothing less than brilliant, I totally understand why the majority of the traditional metal fans think that they are below par. Especially the last three studio albums weren’t received well by the fans and press alike.

I had read in various forums –before the release of the new album- that many fans expected a return to the sound of “Marriage…” and “Noble Savage”. I thought that these expectations were ludicrous (to say the least) as DeFeis himself is following a –more or less- different sonic path in the last 15 or so years. Also, it didn’t take a genius to realize that even the mere look at the album’s title referred almost immediately to the latter period of the band. And I wasn’t wrong…“Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation” has a lot in common with “Visions of Eden” (mainly) and “The Black Light Bacchanalia”. Although, it’s not a concept album per se, the overall atmosphere of the album is quite dark and sinister while DeFeis lyrically touches upon the subject of the relationships and how people consider their faith towards the Gods and Goddesses.

Musically speaking, instantly you recognize that you are listening to a new Virgin Steele record (of the latter era) with the addition of a few blues rock elements in there while DeFeis doesn’t spare any of his trademark high pitched screams. However, I think that this album won’t gain favorable reviews and I truly believe that DeFeis doesn’t pay much attention to such matters given his course in the last 15 years. By the Gods!

Highlight: The album’s best cut is called “Black Sun – Black Mass” which is really a rendition of Exorcist’s song “Black Mass” that DeFeis wrote back in 1986.