|Review: Virgin Steele - Noble Savage|
Label: Dockyard 1
Year released: 2008
Originally released in: 1986
Genre: Heavy Metal
Review online: April 22, 2009
Reviewed by: Bruce Dragonchaser
Rated 4.65/5 (92.94%) (51 Votes)
I view it as a personal affront, a castigatory offence, and a punitive insult that despite their indefatigable efforts and resolute determination, Virgin Steele remain virtual unknowns, when in actual fact, their contribution to the world of Heavy Metal would play a hugely important role in what would become Power Metal in the late nineties. What's more, Power Metal, or at least some of its major players, would simply not exist were it not for Virgin Steele's uncompromising feat of metal mastery, 1985's Noble Savage. And now those who have let it slip into the folds of time can access its genius once more thanks to the generous folks at Dockyard 1. Thank you, universe.
Led by powerhouse screamer David DeFeis, the US metal behemoth really stepped up to the plate with this little beauty, and in spite of more ambitious subsequent releases, it remains their defining moment, where all aspects of their creativity coalesced into an hour full of punchy, anthemic, fist-in-the-air manifestos. Shifting effortlessly from caustic intensity to sweeping symphonies, Noble Savage represents a graceful progression from the NWOBHM-inspired lunacy many bands were struggling to imitate at the time, moving steadily into more elaborate, complex structures and challenging changes. The use of orchestration – all composed and performed by DeFeis himself – would become a firm fixture of the Power Metal staple, and despite comparisons to fellow leather-bound Americans Manowar, Virgin Steele were always more likeable, purely due to their ability to have you screaming in anger one moment, and searching your soul for the reason why the next.
Tracks like the roaring "We Rule The Night", the pumping "Fight Tooth and Nail" and the incredibly fierce title cut attest to the influence Virgin Steele have laid upon Edguy, Primal Fear, and HammerFall, and even to this day, Noble Savage still sounds exciting – although the boxy production now feels incredibly claustrophobic – and with a couple of slick remixes and bonus tracks, this landmark signpost of melodic Heavy Metal can now be discovered by a new generation of savages. What are you waiting for?
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