Hard Reviews 5
by Martin Popoff

Virgin Steele - The Book Of Burning

Here's a big mess of history, rewritten and slightly restamped, all muddled with the present, Virgin Steele celebrating their 20 year anniver-sorcery with two albums of backswitched gumbo. Hymns To Victory is essentially newer material remixed and remastered, but The Book Of Burning examines the first two albums and EP, Defies re-recording select neo-pre-neoprene-praline power anthems with the current band, while confounding or camouflaging the event with a number of new songs. A Cry In The Night gets a fireside acoustic treatment, while others, like the meat and potatoes rocker Guardians Of The Flame get a pristine new sound, benefiting nicely, as does Don't Say Goodbye (Tonight), which is a gallop rocker that is probably the band's most famous song, sort of goth hair along the lines of W.A.S.P., melodically speaking (check, I'm right). New fathead rocker Hot And Wild is the leftest of field feels, an inexplicable bit of Kiss metal that... hell, I actually prefer this direction versus all that souvlaki metal. And The Final Days is a beer-ish, boorish stomping trashfest, sounding like one of Gene's bass farts, while The Succubus also speaks of interesting new possibilities (see specifically chorus), as does The Chosen Ones, which also oddly, come verse time, features a Gene-like riff flapping its back leathers. Verdict: playful new songs (not much for notes; maybe some of these are old and simply unrecorded until now) meshing well with old songs, culled from a simpler metal time when play was still around and expounded. Play on!
Rating 7.5