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.
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Original 1988 Album Tracklist
1. On the Wings of the Night
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
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
12. Stay On Top
13. Chains Of Fire
14. Desert Plains
15. Cry Forever
16. We Are Eternal
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)