Historically, if there are any bands that are the forefathers of theater metal or the classic heavy metal opera, New York's Virgin Steele is one of the grandest and strongest proponents. Blending elements of traditional heavy metal with symphonic and power metal, Virgin Steele has always presented us with concept albums on epic and glorious scale. Their latest release The Black Light Bacchanalia is certainly continues this path. The work is nearly 80 minutes of pure mythology and magic, barbaric romanticism as they would have it, wrapped in bombastic melodic heavy metal fitting a movie score.
Principal visionary, player, and lead vocalist David DeFeis writes and choreographs this metal adventure. He calls it a follow up to Visions of Eden (2006), but more a reversal of the things from previous story. (You can visit the Virgin Steele site or Google the album for more detail.) The music follows a similar motif, yet less heavy and dark. The music moves with melodic ebbs and flows from classic heavy metal and more subtle American power metal. By the Hammer of Zeus, Nepenthe, and Necropolis, three of the best tracks, reflect this movement. Most everything turns on DeFeis' Dio meets Gillian meets Billy Idol vocal stylings, moving from nearly mysterious whispering to punches of metal emphasis. Even so, in total, the arrangements are the pleasure, sweeping and convincing in all aspects. In other words, The Black Light Bacchanalia is pure and classic Virgin Steele.
Now signed to SPV/Steamhammer, hopefully Virgin Steele's legendary status and style will increase from the release of The Black Light Bacchanalia and the re-release of their back catalog from Noble Savage forward.