Review Summary: An amazing finale to an epic trilogy
Hailing from New York, heavy metal band Virgin Steele
has left quite an overlooked legacy in their trail. Not only have they create a slew of consistent efforts, but they've successfully varied their sound enough release after release. From the more traditional savagery of "The Last Supper"
, to the harmonious theatrical melody of "A Symphony of Steel"
, a considerable amount of variety has been placed in their 90's catalog. Though Virgin Steele
hasn't reinvented the wheel with their 8th studio outing, Invictus
works splendidly as a final act in the conceptual trilogy of religious exploration, while also shining a light and tapping into more varied emotional values.
Most of the material on the album could be seen as more dramatic in style, with particular attention on tragic romanticism. "Through Blood and Fire"
has a sympathetic tone in its chorus, with a very humanitarian theme. While the sinister self titled track elicits dramatization through hysterical playing, like violin strings adding tension at the turning point in an epic opera. Solos are also more apparent throughout, adding a certain multi-layering to the record that had not been featured on past releases. "Dust From The Burning"
speaks of the after math of all out war with hellish venomous vocals and sorrowful events. "A Whisper of Death"
is almost relateable to grunge, with dreamy serine guitars being fronted by grimy foreboding notes. Though the album can feel more raw with such tracks, the use of artificial orchestral pieces returns. While it might not be as prevalent, the choice to stray away from the overuse of such instrumentation has ironically all the more put the spotlight on them when they appear, like the grand entrance of the main course being introduced to an audience of hungry listeners. This allows them to be more potent than ever before, and punctuates a songs climax better as a result. It's also worth mentioning that in this point in their career, the New York rockers had come accustomed to such effects. As such, some of their most interesting artificial musical compositions are glazed throughout Invictus
. The mixture of all these ideas seems more balanced than that of its counterparts, which bodes well considering that Part I and Part II both suffered from to much consistency or bad deviations for variety's sake.
All of this leads up to a great album. The only real problem would be that by the end, it feels like the album drags on a bit. Don't misunderstand - this isn't nearly as bad as its two predecessors, which while great, had problems both in the middle of the album, and problems with their lengths. Invictus
on the other hand only has the issue of dragging a bit by the end. Ultimately, this is the best Virgin Steele record
I've heard thus far. Highly recommended!
Recommended Tracks :
Mind, Body, Spirit
Through Blood and Fire
Sword of the Gods
Dust From The Burning
A Whisper of Death
A Shadow of Fear