Virgin Steele – Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation (Review)

Virgin Steele – Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation (2015)

I’m not a big fan of the most recent Virgin Steele album Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation but I still occasionally hanker for it. The opener Lucifer’s Hammer is classic chest-beating metal and Persephone is a grand retelling of the Greek myth that ranks up with the band’s best material. And do any of you remember the mysteriously anonymous 80s speed metal band Exorcist? Well, it turns out they were Virgin Steele all along and on this album they finally own up to it, reworking two Exorcist songs Queen Of The Dead and Black Mass in power metal fashion. It’s great stuff and a lot more rifftastic than the preceding VS album The Black Light Bacchanalia. But that album had a romantic, overblown grandiosity that proved fascinating and rewarding and Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation has none of that richness or consistency. The shifts from the Exorcist tracks to piano balladry like Hymns To Damnation to bizarre raunch metal like Demolition Queen and Glamour make for a disjointed listen and the overlong arrangements and dark, moody atmosphere means promising tracks like Delirium and Devilhead come across as dreary. If you’re a Virgin Steele acolyte like me there are just enough bright spots here to make it worth your time but everyone else will find Nocturnes a long, colourless night that will most likely send them to sleep.

Deluxe Edition with bonus CD

18 thoughts on “Virgin Steele – Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation (Review)”

    1. I believe it was label problems. They didn’t want to record for their label but couldn’t record as Virgin Steele for anyone else. So they did a few secret projects… Exorcist, one album with Piledriver and even pretended to be an all-girl band called Original Sin at one point!

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  1. Still only ever bought the one album of theirs and that was it. Than again it was the 80’s and it was always an avalanche of tunes and some stuff would fall by the wayside…
    Brent Jensen in hs ‘No Sleep Til Sudbury” book gives an excellent encounter of meeting Jack Starr in which I asked him about it in my “10 Questions With..’ segment

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