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Virgin Steele
Age Of Consent
February 2012
Released: 2012, SPV
Rating: 3.5/5
Reviewer: JP

This is just a quick review of the reissue, of the reissue, of Virgin Steeles’ AGE OF CONSENT. For the record I don’t have the physical double digipak, this is just a few comments on the digital version. First and foremost I can’t believe that SPV made the same mistake Noise did in 1997. Namely they got the track-list wrong and mixed the sequence of the tracks incorrectly. (Original track sequence on the left) Very disappointing. The original album was 10 tracks. Secondly SPV used alternate cover art. (Pictured right) I hate that. Labels have to learn that albums should be issued the way the artist intended it. Would you paint in extra characters (and rearrange where they were sitting at the table) in a reproduction of the 15th century painting, ‘The Last Supper’ by Leonardo da Vinci ? Of course not! Labels need to start treating albums as art not just a commodity that they own to make money.



So what we have it essentially a reissue of the reissue of the ’97 Noise version but with the added bonus of another seven (!) tracks. For a guy like me who didn’t get the first reissue that makes a total of 13 bonus tracks from the original 1988 pressing. For me that’s pure heaven!



The bonus tracks start with two cover tunes ‘The Curse’ from Original Sin’s 1986 album SIN WILL FIND YOU OUT (who were essentially tied to Virgin Steele anyway) and another Priest cover in the form of ‘Screaming For Vengeance’. There are five unreleased songs; some semi-acoustic stuff from NOBLE SAVAGE, and oddly enough all five of the new bonus tracks are slow songs. It’s like a Virgin Steele ballads EP. Each song is long, in the six-minute range and slow with long intros, acoustic piano, acoustic guitar but giant choruses and sweeping soundscapes.



AGE OF CONSENT has always been one of my favorite Virgin Steele album. Many people say it’s a schizophrenic (or at best transitional) album with a wild mix of melodic Hard Rock and driving Metal anthems. One of the ‘new’ songs, the 8 minute epic, ‘Serpent’s Kiss’ (10 minutes with spoken word intro) with it’s pounding double-kick attack is the best song Manowar never wrote. This album has it all, the sexual rock anthems ‘Seventeen’ (the age of consent!) and one of my favourite Virgin Steele songs of all time, ‘Chains Of Fire’ as well as the pounding Metal of ‘Let It Roar’ and ‘Lion In Winter’.



It goes without saying this (sort of) 25th Anniversary edition of AGE OF CONSENT is the ultimate edition. If they had issued the original album with the proper track-list and sequence, and the original art and then added all the other bonus stuff on the second disc, it would have been perfect. Even if you already have the other two versions, this is well worth your money as it has the seven tracks for a total of 45 minutes of rare and unreleased material.
Track Listing

Original 1988 Album Tracklist


1. On the Wings of the Night
2. Seventeen
3. Tragedy
4. Stay on Top
5. Chains of Fire
6. The Burning of Rome (Cry for Pompeii)
7. Let It Roar
8. Lion in Winter
9. Cry Forever
10. We Are Eternal

This version

Disc One

01. The Burning Of Rome (Cry For Pompeii)
02. Let It Roar
03. Prelude To Evening
04. Lion In Winter
05. Stranger At The Gate
06. Perfect Mansions (Mountains Of The Sun)
07. Coils Of The Serpent
08. Serpent’s Kiss
09. On The Wings Of The Night
10. Seventeen
11. Tragedy
12. Stay On Top
13. Chains Of Fire
14. Desert Plains
15. Cry Forever
16. We Are Eternal

Disc Two

01. Screaming For Vengeance (bonus track)
02. The Curse (Bonus Track)
03. Breach Of Lease (previously unreleased)
04. Another Nail In The Cross (previously unreleased)
05. A Changling Dawn ("Noble Savage" acoustic version) (previously unreleased)
06. Under The Graveyard Moon (previously unreleased)
07. Down By The River (previously unreleased)

Lineup

David DeFeis-Vocals, Keyboards
Edward Pursino-Guitars
Joe O'Reilly-Bass
Joey Ayvazian-Drums

Other reviews

Next review: » Virgin Steele - Age Of Consent
Previous review: » Virgin Chapter - From The White Side

Virgin Steele
Age Of Consent
February 2012
Released: 2011, Steamhammer / SPV
Rating: 4.0/5
Reviewer: Erich

Virgin Steele is now an institution. Their brand of power metal has been embraced by legions of fans worldwide, particularly in Europe. Back in 1987, Virgin Steele was flying high, getting their first real taste of success. They had just completed two tours of Europe which saw them supporting Manowar and Black Sabbath. The bands previous album, the hurried NOBLE SAVAGE was recorded in just a few weeks, but for the new album AGE OF CONSENT, the band would spend eight months. During the sessions, both David DeFeis and guitarist Edward Pursino would split duties on bass guitar for then ill bassist Joe O’Reilly.



AGE OF CONSENT was released on tiny label Maze in 1988, and received scant promotion, prompting DeFeis to call the album “the one that got away”, at least in terms of a wider audience. Upon hearing some of the commercial leanings of the album, it is as clear now as it was then, that AGE OF CONSENT was ambitious in its goals and clearly aimed for the conquest of a much larger fan base. One need look no further than “Cry Forever”, a power ballad that is embarrassingly, only slightly better than anything from Air Supply, and clearly aimed for mass consumption. AGE OF CONSENT would prove to be a definitive and transitional album for the band though. After this album, the band would abandon the NWOBHM style as well as some occasional sappy lyrics for a more epic and muscular sound, drawing lyrical inspiration from classical mythology and literature. While AGE OF CONSENT failed to win over many new fans, those already on board praised the album, upholding it today as one of the band’s finest. Indeed, it contains four of the bands greatest tracks “The Burning of Rome”, “Lion In Winter”, “On The Wings of The Night”, and “Perfect Mansions”, with PM being my favorite Virgin Steel track of all time, one that I always envisioned would make a great background track to a slow motion extended battle scene in a movie like Gladiator or Braveheart for instance.



Now, on the 30th anniversary of the band’s incarnation, SPV has painstakingly re-issued this near classic, completely re-mastering and changing the original track sequence while adding a total of 13 bonus tracks in addition to the original ten of the 1988 release, and a sizable booklet with informative liner notes. The bonus CD is what the core fan-base will be most interested in as this contains 5 previously unreleased bonus tracks, consisting of new tracks as well as older re-written tracks that did not make any of the studio albums. The two strongest tracks of the five are “Under The Graveyard Moon” and “Down By The River”, each featuring keyboard propelled vocals and patented crashing choruses, a Virgin Steele trademark. Only “A Changeling Dawn” stumbles, being a coma-inducing 11 minute piano and vocal only snooze fest, as bad as anything the band has ever done. Still as evident as it was in 1988 is the somewhat unfocused lack of unifying styles on the album, something corrected in their later concept albums.



As expected and in keeping with current production trends, the album is “louder” and perhaps punchier in some frequencies but not necessarily better than the original production. No question, when considering the overall quality and quantity of the reissue it is well worth the money. For Virgin Steele fans that did not pick up the 1997 reissue, this is mandatory and even the new unreleased tracks are worth it. New fans might not want to start with this one, as Virgin Steele has evolved considerably since then, but they should definitely acquire the four amazing tracks mentioned above being classics of the band’s catalog.
Track Listing

CD1

01. THE BURNING OF ROME (CRY FOR POMPEII)

02. LET IT ROAR

03. PRELUDE TO EVENING

04. LION IN WINTER

05. STRANGER AT THE GATE

06. PERFECT MANSIONS (MOUNTAINS OF THE SUN
)
07. COILS OF THE SERPENT

08. SERPENT’S KISS

09. ON THE WINGS OF THE NIGHT

10. SEVENTEEN

11. TRAGEDY

12. STAY ON TOP

13. CHAINS OF FIRE

14. DESERT PLAINS

15. CRY FOREVER

16. WE ARE ETERNAL

CD2

01. SCREAMING FOR VENGEANCE (Bonus Track)

02. THE CURSE (Bonus Track)

03. BREACH OF LEASE (Bonus Track – previously unreleased)

04. ANOTHER NAIL IN THE CROSS (Bonus Track – previously unreleased)

05. A CHANGLING DAWN (Noble Savage Acoustic Version) (Bonus Track – previously unreleased)

06. UNDER THE GRAVEYARD MOON (Bonus Track – previously unreleased)

07. DOWN BY THE RIVER (Bonus Track – previously unreleased)

Lineup

Original Lineup
David DeFeis – vocals
Edward Pursino – guitars
Joe O´Reilly – bass
Joey Ayvazian – drums

Current Lineup
David DeFeis – vocals
Edward Pursino – guitars
Josh Block – bass, guitars
Frank Gilchriest – drums

Other reviews

Next review: » Virgin Steele - Guardians of the Flame
Previous review: » Virgin Chapter - From The White Side





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