"Black Light Bacchanalia"

 By Dark Starr

When I first got this CD I thought it was heavy metal because of the band name and some of the titles. In fairness, the band’s website calls them a metal band, too. Frankly, I think they are more progressive rock than metal.Tunes such as the Queen-like "In A Dream of Fire" and "The Orpheus Taboo" tend to emphasize that aspect of the band more, but there's no lack of metal crunch and fiery soloing on the record. The real kicker is the mammoth two-part epic "To Crown Them With Halos", where the band's ambition and execution puts them in the prog category for sure. Virgin Steele has been around for over 30 years and it's amazing to see a band with that length of service stretching themselves like they do here.

Whatever you call this music, though, it’s powerful and dynamic. It’s quite diverse in terms of music and vocal styles. It’s a great album. In fact, I’d consider it one of the best releases of the year. If you like your progressive rock with some serious metal built in, you’ll love this. It should be mentioned that some of the lyrics do deserve a parental warning.