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Virgin Steele - "Age Of Consent (re-issue)" (CD)

Virgin Steele - "Age Of Consent (re-issue)" CD cover image

"Age Of Consent (re-issue)" track listing:

CD 1
1. The Burning Of Rome
2. Let It Roar
3. Prelude To Evening
4. Lion In Winter
5. Stranger At The Gate
6. Perfect Mansions (Mountains Of The Sun)
7. Coils Of The Serpent
8. Serpent's Kiss
9. 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

CD 2
1. Screaming For Vengeance
2. The Curse
3. Breach Of Lease
4. Another Nail In The Cross
5. A Changeling Dawn
6. Under The Graveyard Moon
7. Down By The River

Reviewed by on January 1, 2012

"If you like '80s metal, you'll definitely something to like on at least a few tracks."

Obviously inspired by the likes of Maiden, Dio and Judas Priest, Virgin Steele has been rocking a classic metal style since 1981. Now, SPV has re-released the band's 1988 album, "Age Of Consent," which singer David DeFeis describes as "the one that got away" with little in the way of promotion, in a new deluxe edition.

If you like '80s metal, you'll definitely something to like on at least a few tracks. The album's a bit of a hodgepodge of then-current styles, ranging from the epic, synth-brightened sounds of tracks like "The Burning Of Rome" and "Serpent's Kiss" (complete with spoken-word intro, "Coils Of The Serpent") to the Dio-esque empowerment anthem "Let It Roar," to the power balladry of "Cry Forever" and the horny hair metal of "Seventeen," which DeFeis reminds us is "the age of consent."

The problem with this approach is that it creates something that feels less like an album, per se, and more like a collection of tracks — and the pair of Judas Priest covers ("Desert Plains" and the bonus track, "Screaming For Vengeance") don't exactly help with that.

You do have to give the band credit for its chops, though. DeFeis' vocals run the gamut from a Dio growl to a Halford shriek, and the bonus track "A Changeling Dawn" serves as a potent showcase for him, even if it does get a little silly in parts.

Guitarist Edward Pursino is also never anything short of excellent, with solos on "The Curse," "Serpent's Kiss" and "Tragedy" that recall the likes of Steve Vai.

The rhythm section(s) are adequate to the task, though you'd have a hard time guessing which tracks were played by original bassist and drummer Joe O'Reilly and Joey Ayvazian and which were played by their modern counterparts, Josh Block and Frank Gilchriest.

All in all, Virgin Steele's "Age Of Consent" is a relatively solid slab of 1980s metal. Sure, it's more than a little incoherent — and at nearly two hours, the reissue feels more than a little too long. That said, the musicianship on the part of band mainstays David DeFeis and Edward Pursino is excellent, and worth the price of admission.

Highs: "The Burning Of Rome," "The Curse" and "Serpent's Kiss"

Lows: The album's a little too long and feels a bit disjointed.

Bottom line: A solid, if sometimes a bit incoherent, bit of little-known 1980s metal.

Rated 3 out of 5 skulls
3 out of 5 skulls

Rating Description
Rated 5 out of 5 skulls Perfection. (No discernable flaws; one of the reviewer's all-time favorites)
Rated 4.5 out of 5 skulls Near Perfection. (An instant classic with some minor imperfections)
Rated 4 out of 5 skulls Excellent. (An excellent effort worth picking up)
Rated 3.5 out of 5 skulls Good. (A good effort, worth checking out or picking up)
Rated 3 out of 5 skulls Decent. (A decent effort worth checking out if the style fits your tastes)
Rated 2.5 out of 5 skulls Average. (Nothing special; worth checking out if the style fits your taste)
Rated 2 out of 5 skulls Fair. (There is better metal out there)
< 2 skulls Pretty Bad. (Don't bother)