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Review: Virgin Steele - The House Of Atreus - Act I
Virgin Steele
The House Of Atreus - Act I

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


Review online: September 16, 2003
Reviewed by: Sargon the Terrible
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Rated 4.59/5 (91.88%) (101 Votes)

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.

More about Virgin Steele...
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Review: Hymns To Victory / The Book Of Burning (reviewed by Christian Renner)
Review: Invictus (reviewed by 4th Horseman)
Review: Life Among the Ruins (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: Noble Savage (reviewed by Bruce Dragonchaser)
Review: Noble Savage (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: Nocturnes of Hellfire & Damnation (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The Black Light Bacchanalia (reviewed by Christopher Foley)
Review: The Black Light Bacchanalia (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Black Light Bacchanalia (reviewed by MetalMike)
Review: The House Of Atreus - Act I (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The House Of Atreus - Act II (reviewed by Michel Renaud)
Review: The Marriage of Heaven & Hell: Part II (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: The Marriage of Heaven and Hell: Part I (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
Review: Visions of Eden (reviewed by Larry Griffin)
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