Virgin Steele - The House Of Atreus Act I
Kingdom Of The Fearless. A Barbaric-Romantic Opera!
If you think that secondary title sounds dramatic and full of tension, wait to you hear the album.
This grand opus contains a unique mix of Heavy, Power and Symphonic Metal and a special inexplicable element known to connoisseurs as "the Virgin Steele touch", said in a another way this album has aspects of well known genres, but it's very much the ultra orchestral and dramatic way it's woven together that makes it something completely its own.

This time around David has once again engaged in a very ambitious and far-reaching project.
The setting is ancient Greece where tradition, religion and culture are important aspects in this quite complex concept, being very character focused. This gives it a very vivid, deep and relatable nature; feelings of love, hatred, anger, despair and sorrow are presented in the most thrilling manner.
The album goes through different phases, continually changing from one characters point of view to another; you feel that you get to know the persons and their background quite well, all in all this is a extremely well written tale, some historical some fiction.

There are so many huge tracks on this disc and very importantly the flow is just incredibly natural and smooth, it's just like the songs gets even better by the way they are built into the entire compound, here are some of the most intense moments in my opinion:

Kingdome Of The Fearless (The Destruction Of Troy) is something you can get away with calling a more traditional Virgin Steele song, feeding on a huge chorus line and a monstrous drum attack. The extensive solo spot takes ones breath away and overall this is bound to make your adrenaline pump wildly.

Just as you had worked you blood pressure up into the high levels Blaze Of Victory (The Watchman's Song) helps you get it down again. A sombre and gloomy track featuring some of David's most compelling and magical vocal lines.

Flames Of The Black Star (The Arrows Of Herakles) starts out in a down to earth manner and then it suddenly gains speed and lots on intensity. The mid-section, featuring dreaming keyboard moods coupled with David's emotional voice, gets me every time.

I don't think that the piano has had such a dominant and important part in any other Virgin Steele album, the piano solo A Song Of Prophecy is not only beautiful, it also leaves you very sedated due to its mesmerizing effect.

This album is in no shortage of fast and powerful Heavy Metal hymns, Great Sword Of Flame being a great example with its raw guitar riffs, groovy bass passages and vigorous refrain, all of this is of course added epic symphonic orchestrations given it that "special Virgin Steele touch".

The Gift Of Tantalos is an amazingly dark and revengeful epic, the vocals are haunting and the drama level reaches spectacular dimension, talking about a thrill.

With Garden Of Lamentation we come to one of my absolute favourite Virgin Steele songs, the soft melodic acoustic guitar, hypnotic keys and David performing some of his most emotional vocals ever is no less than magical, it doesn't get any sadder than this.

As a warm and refreshing breeze Gates Of Kings makes its grand entrance as the last song before the short symphonic instrumental outro. Edward's solo most have a mention in this one, played with tons of feeling and catchiness, David's roaring high pitch screams remains in my head even after the record has faded out, these 22 songs truly leaves an impression.

Some of the instrumental songs are quite long but I have begun to see them as minor buffer zones separating the more aggressive and direct compositions.
David DeFeis, Edward Pursino and Frank Gilchriest all deliver some of their best performances here; I simply don't know how they will ever top this album compositionally or musically.
Production-wise everything is also top notch, the basic foundation is extremely tight and every detail is crystal clear.

This album gets all the way to the most inner core of my soul. It is without any doubt one of the few essential things I would pick for a couple of years on a deserted island.
This is Metal in a totally new way, more bombastic, emotional and effusive than ever before.

Written by Tommy
Monday, October 25, 2004
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Tommy: 10/10

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RevelationZ Comments


Comment by Cristóbal (Anonymous) - Tuesday, August 5, 2003
KINGDOM OF THE FEARLESS RULES!!!
What a incredible song, it blows you away with that intensity and power filled with lots of emotion and that awesome solos. The rest of the tracks are great too, and the piano parts are, in my opinion, the best that David had done. If you don´t have it, buy now.
Rating: 9.5/10



Comment by Hyena (Anonymous) - Thursday, November 6, 2003
I like Virgin Steele more than it even desreves. And this album is one of their bests. A nuanceful entity indeed.

Lots of instrumental tracks and parts with heavy keyboard reliance. In these aspects The House... act I is better than act II.

This is not pure metal. At least some of the tracks are not. But there are a lot of heavy tracks also. Kingdom of the fearless, the fire god and through the ring of fire to mention a few.

On the act I album Virgin Steele creates an album with good intensivity and forward carrying power. Considering that there are so many instrumental- and short atmosperic tracks, this is an impressive achievement.


Comment by Hyena (Anonymous) - Thursday, November 6, 2003
I like Virgin Steele more than it even desreves. And this album is one of their bests. A nuanceful entity indeed.

Lots of instrumental tracks and parts with heavy keyboard reliance. In these aspects The House... act I is better than act II.

This is not pure metal. At least some of the tracks are not. But there are a lot of heavy tracks also. Kingdom of the fearless, the fire god and through the ring of fire to mention a few.

On the act I album Virgin Steele creates an album with good intensivity and forward carrying power. Considering that there are so many instrumental- and short atmosperic tracks, this is an impressive achievement.


Comment by Charles T (Anonymous) - Tuesday, August 31, 2004
Sweet Jesus 'G minor invention' rules all. Spooky and so well composed, anyone who likes classical will love this track. I would buy this cd just for that track. As for the rest of the CD, it is also a 10/10


Comment by Pat (Anonymous) - Friday, December 31, 2004
The best Virgin Steele album I've heard, although I have yet to experience Act 2. Some say it's even better.











Review by Tommy
Virgin Steele - The house of Atreus - Act I

Released by
Modern Music - 1999

Tracklisting
1. Kingdome Of The Fearless (The Destruction Of Troy)
2. Blaze Of Victory (The Watchman's Song)
3. Through The Ring Of Fire
4. Prelude In A Minor (The Voyage Home)
5. Death Darkly Closed Their Eyes (The Messenger's Song)
6. In Triumph Of Tragedy
7. Return Of The King
8. Flames Of The Black Star (The Arrows Of Herakles)
9. Narcissus
10. And Hecate Smiled
11. A Song Of Prophecy
12. Child Of Desolation
13. G Minor Invention (Descent Into Death's Twilight Kingdom)
14. Day Of Wrath
15. Great Sword Of Flame
16. The Gift Of Tantalos
17. Iphigenia In Hades
18. The Fire God
19. Garden Of Lamentation
20. Agony And Shame
21. Gates Of Kings
22. Via Sacra


Style
Symphonic Heavy Metal

Related links
Visit the band page

Virgin Steele - Official Website

Other articles
Invictus - (Tommy)

The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell - Part One - (Tommy)

The Marriage of Heaven and Hell - Part Two - (Tommy)

Band Information - (Steen)

Life Among The Ruins - (Tommy)

Age Of Consent - (Tommy)

Noble Savage - (Tommy)

The House Of Atreus Act II - (Tommy)

I - (Tommy)

Guardians Of The Flame - (Tommy)

Interview With David DeFeis - (Tommy)

Visions Of Eden - (Tommy)

Life Among the Ruins - (Alanna)

The Black Light Bacchanalia - (Steen)

The Black Light Bacchanalia - (Steen)



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