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Review: Virgin Steele - The House Of Atreus - Act I
Virgin Steele
www.virgin-steele.com
The House Of Atreus - Act I

Label: Noise Records
Year released: 1999
Duration: 74:34
Tracks: 22
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 5/5

Review online: September 16, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
Readers Rating
for:
The House Of Atreus - Act I

Rated 4.53/5 (90.68%) (73 Votes)
Review


Virgin Steele, like Manilla Road, have been toiling in the metal underground for decades, releasing quality music album after album, and getting almost no recognition at all. VS mainman David DeFeis has been writing songs for twenty years and it really shows here, on Virgin Steele's umpteenth release. "House of Atreus" is an enormously impressive and mature album that is sure to become a classic.

There is so much variety in the songwriting here, I don't know where to start. There are straight-ahead metal cuts like "Kingdom of the Fearless", "Flames of the Black Star", and "Great Sword of Flame" (on this album you can be pretty sure a song will kick ass if it has the word "Fire" or "Flame" in the title.) There are atmospheric songs like "Prelude in A Minor", ballads like the haunting "Child of Desolation", and literally everything in between. The one and only thing that all the music on this album has in common is that it is all very, very cool. I would have expected a self-proclaimed "Barbarian-Romantic Opera" by a metal band to be insufferably pretentious and to wallow in atmospheric keyboards in lieu of actual metal, but that is just not the case. True, there are lots of moodier passages, but these differ greatly from the usual tracks of this type by not sucking. The songwriting is just spot-on, song after song, with a maturity and grace that younger bands can usually only dream of. Far from being overblown, the concept and the lyrics on this album are really well-done.

As one who never paid attention to this band before, I have to do a maximum mea-fucking-culpa here and say that this is one of the best, and certainly among the most ambitious metal albums I have ever heard. "The House of Atreus Act 1" never lets up or loses interest from beginning to end – and that is quite a feat, as this is a looooong album. Any melodic metal fan will find this a feast for the ears. This album grabs you from the first song and just gets cooler every time you listen to it. Highly impressive, and very highly recommended.


Track Listing:
  1. Kingdom of the Fearless
  2. Blaze of Victory
  3. Through the Ring of Fire
  4. Prelude in A Minor
  5. Death Darkly Closed Their Eyes
  6. In Triumph or Tragedy
  7. Return of the King
  8. Flames of the Black Star
  9. Narcissus
  10. And Hecate Smiled
  11. A Song of Prophecy
  12. Child of Desolation
  13. G Minor Invention
  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
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