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Virgin Steele - 1982 Virgin Steele

ARTIST: Virgin Steele
ALBUM: Virgin Steele
LABEL: Music For Nations
YEAR: 1982
CD REISSUE: 2002, Sanctuary, TT00572


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

TRACK LISTING: 01 Danger Zone * 02 American Girl * 03 Dead End Kids * 04 Drive On Thru * 05 Still In Love With You * 06 Children Of The Storm * 07 Pictures On You * 08 Pulveriser * 09 Living In Sin * 10 Virgin Steele


I will go on record by saying that the debut Virgin Steele LP was my very import LP from the UK back in 1982. Of course my package was littered with other goodies, like Night Ranger's 'Dawn Patrol', Saga's 'Worlds Apart' and a couple of others, but yes, VS took the prize. Back then believe it or not, I had to pay Customs Duty on these packages coming in from overseas. What a rip-off.. lol! Back then, and even thinking about it now, David DeFeis and Virgin Steele were a very professional band, considering they were unsigned to a major. They were quite raw and under-developed initially, but had so much potential. They had a licensing arrangement with British label Music For Nations (MFN's first signing!), and were featured on Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records label as part of the second installment of U.S Metal (U.S Metal II). Virgin Steele were one of the first American bands to give American heavy metal a real injection, despite their unknown status at the time. The band was formed by Jack Starr, the first signing was Ayvazian, then DeFeis and O'Reilly.

The Songs
I remember these songs like it was yesterday. The MFN LP was the version I had, featuring the sci-fi cover, unlike the original boring US cover. The (in some cases) classical arrangements, Jack Starr's striking guitar work, and of course, David De Feis' vocals, complete with all those echo effects made Virgin Steele quite a good listen for 1982. Listening to this decades later, it actually sounds a whole lot better than it did originally. The LP hasn't changed any, so that must mean I've changed! Songs like 'Danger Zone' and 'American Girl' have so much early 80's appeal, I'm already having flashbacks! 'Dead End Kids' features some stunning axe work from Jack, while Joey Ayvazian brutalises with some double kick drumming. My favourite cut from the LP is the amazing 'Drive On Through'. Just OTT metal from the good old days. De Feis and the boys try out a power ballad 'Still In Love With You' which isn't quite as subtle as it should be, coming off too ham-fisted for my liking. Virgin Steele get back to tearing up the neighborhood with the power metal of 'Children Of The Storm', which also appeared on the aforementioned 'US Metal II' compilation. 'Picture On You' was less epic and more mainstream, while 'Pulverizer' was Starr's instrumental solo, a perfect onslaught for the US Metal series. 'Living In Sin' was again a straight-forward affair, the LP completed by the muddling title track 'Virgin Steele'.

In Summary
Music For Nations only released 5000 copies of the LP, and it went out of print not long after. (Glad I was one of the 5000.. haha!). Sanctuary Records with DeFeis' assistance reissued the LP in 2002, along with a selection of bonus tracks. Originally released on a shoestring budget, I kinda like the way some of these older recordings sound. Listening to them on vinyl )to my way of thinking) is a more authentic listening experience than the remastered 'cleaner' CD's which followed. Virgin Steele's early attempts at heavy metal should be celebrated and left alone as an example of the legacy and history of early American Metal.

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