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Virgin Steele - 1983 Guardians Of The Flame

ARTIST: Virgin Steele
ALBUM: Guardians Of The Flame
LABEL: Music For Nations
YEAR: 1983
CD REISSUE: Reissue List..


LINEUP: David De Feis - vocals, keyboards * Jack Starr - guitars * Joe O'Reilly - bass * Joey Ayvazian - drums

TRACK LISTING: 01 Don't Say Goodbye (Tonight) * 02 Burn The Sun * 03 Life Of Crime * 04 The Redeemer * 05 Birth Through Fire * 06 Guardians Of The Flame * 07 Metal City * 08 Hell Or High Water * 09 Go All The Way * 10 A Cry In The Night


'Guardians Of The Flame' would be Virgin Steele's second album, but the last to feature both Jack Starr and David DeFeis as a song-writing collective duo. Jack would go on to form another new band Burning Starr, which would be more in keeping with his style of HM versus the pomp/operatic style DeFeis would lead VS toward. Still operating under an independent management, 'GOTF' is still a very raw sounding record, but it is not without it reward.

The Songs
'Don't Say Goodbye (Tonight) starts out impressively, galloping guitars operate at above-tempo, the song more a melodic rocker with an edge, rather than heavy metal. DeFeis' trademark high-pitched warble introduces 'Burn The Sun', an along with the growling 'Life Of Crime', this sits somewhere close to the debut Icon LP. Epic is the best way to describe 'The Redeemer', which fuses Dio with early Rainbow, especially that brief brain-shattering keyboard solo in the mid-section. Segueing through the brief instrumental 'Birth Through Fire', the album's title track soon appears on the horizon. This one is quite mild by comparison, the tempo doesn't do anything silly, a straight forward rocker in the end. 'Metal City' is where the speed goes on, a frantic rhythm section and chugging guitar, in the zone of a band like Malice for instance. The rampant 'Go All The Way' is just good-time metal, not weighed down by serious lyrics, just an aggressive rocker played at full tilt. The finale 'A Cry In The Night' is an operatic number, probably out of the sync with the material on this album, but a forerunner of what was to come from the pen of David DeFeis.

In Summary
On 'GOTF', Virgin Steele sound more like a cohesive band, rather than the collection of ideas cobbled together on the debut, which to mind was fragmented, but still quite good nonetheless. DeFeis would not bring the band back until 1985's 'Age of Consent', with new guitarist Edward Pursino taking over the six-string duties. The album would receive numerous reissues in later years, the T&T reissue from 2002 in particular includes an additional five tracks, some of which were sourced from Virgin Steele's two EP's released in 1983.

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