"A Feast of Virgin Souls"

By Dr. Abner Mality

Ever since I was a little fiend, I've been attracted to the evil side of femininity. Nothing is as sexy as a female vampire or an aroused witch! I've still got a poster of Vampirella on my wall So if you, like me, are drawn to the deadly sex, Wooden Stake is the band for you and "A Feast of Virgin Souls" will be your bloody theme song!

One look at the sexy creatures on the cover and I was sold! Delving into the tunes within, I discovered a sound that matches the allure of a wicked woman. Is Wooden Stake death metal? Doom metal? Gothic metal? It's all three and the term I personally would use to describe it is "horror metal"! This is yet another production of the Razorback Horror Hive and features goddess of gore Vanessa Nocera on vocals. Who better to express the evil within the feminine breast than another woman? Vanessa's sinister growls and ghostly croons make Wooden Stake what it is. Without her incredible vocalizations, this band would be merely very good; with her at the helm, they are great! Her raspy death-like hissings cannot be duplicated by any male...they convey the essence of Gothic horror. Her more "normal" female voice also has an eerie quality to it. In many of Wooden Stake's tunes, those two sounds intertwine like life and death itself!

Each tune here tells the tale of a different cursed female, ranging from infamous Countess Bathory to little Regan McNeil to many another vampiric babe. It's VERY well worn territory, but Wooden Stake put their own spin on it. The pace is often slow and funereal, somewhat along the lines of Hooded Menace but not as "rotten". The pace can pick up and keyboards add some Gothic atmosphere. There's also some excellent multi-tracked guitar harmonies from Willie Whitelaw. I love the unforgettable chorus of the title track, where both vocal styles interact so well, as well as the faster and almost NWOBHM sound of "Cross-scalded Flesh" and the final horror metal overload "Curse of the Cauldron Countess", where Vanessa shows just how sick female vocals can be!

Final analysis: take a look at the cover of "A Feast of Virgin Souls". If that gets a rise out of you like it did me, chances are you'll dig what's inside of it.