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Virgin Steele | House of Atreus | Act I | review | metal | Lollipop

Virgin Steele

The House of Atreus Act I (Noise)
by Martin Popoff

Maybe it started out as simply amusing, but it's now quite inspiring the way this wobbly cult band from the lower rung of the '80s has regurgitated and reinvented itself as a power metal powerhouse that thinks and thrives beyond its concrete New York confines, much like the band they now sound like: Manowar. Indeed, The House Of Atreus Act 1 is like a complicated, riff-mad, but sonically-conservative Manowar epic, halfway to that band's quixotic midrange sound, the icing on the cake being David DeFeis' '70s transformation into the only man to sound like Eric Adams. Strange but pleasing; and DeFeis, of course, is his own man as well, adding his own bag of tricks to those perky precise thespian phrasings. It matches the over-reaching concept as well, The House Of Atreus Act 1 being a big-ass Greek tragedy of Savatage proportions. Musically, the rest of the tiny band, Ed Pursino and Frank Gilchrist, never lose sight of the drama, summarily laying a soundtrack bed a quarter of the time, background mood music another quarter, and smartly metal rocking the remaining half, again like prime Manowar or other purposeful '80s purveyors. Lots going on both sonically and lyrically, Virgin Steele willfully committed and surrendered to the idea of a concept record, which in itself is something to be admired given the usual fear at building something this challenging.
(12358 Ventura Blvd. #386 Studio City, CA 91604)


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