» Virgin Steele Recycling  
« back

Virgin Steele Recycling:
A Lack of Imagination or an Act of Genius?

Written by Mat, January 2002

t all began about six years ago when I made my first acquaintance with a band called Virgin Steele. My first thoughts and reactions were to the name itself: Virgin Steele. Associations with Iron Maiden copies and such immediately came to mind for obvious reasons. But after being a bit reluctant for quite a while I finally bought their at the time latest album, The Marriage of Heaven and Hell part II. But after a month or two the album just occupied some space in my CD-rack and didn't get any attention what so ever. I can't really explain why I didn't even listen to it but one day I decided to at least give the album a fair trial. I had bought it after all. So after the first sincere hour or so of listening I (to my surprise really but that's beside the point) began to raise a few eyebrows. It sounded really good and I immediately pressed play on my CD-player and heard it for a second time. After that I realized that my earlier "like" had turned into true love.
So this album soon became the most played album in my entire collection.

hen after some time the songs began to sound very familiar and as usual I learned the major part of the lyrics and melodies. Nowadays Virgin Steele is one of my absolute favorite bands and I'm a proud owner of all their albums. So after really getting to know their sound and their music I soon discovered a phenomenon I hadn't noticed before, nor do I know of any other band that does the same thing to this extent. The phenomenon I'm talking about is recycling. Now what do I mean by this? Well, Virgin Steele "recycle" some melodies from one song and uses them in the same, or slightly changed, version in another. If you still don't know what the heck I'm talking about, let me give you some examples.

n the Marriage of Heaven and Hell part II album the interlude instrumental melody after the second chorus in the song Prometheus the Fallen One is the exact same melody as the chorus in the following track, Emalaith. On the Marriage part I album, the instrumental title song also occurs in the slower part of the first track, I Will Come for You, but this time David Defeis has added some lyrics to it:"Fair Child of the Desolation cry to me…". These words (with some smaller changes) can also be found on previously mentioned Emelaith but in this case with a faster rhythm but still the same melody. This melody returns once again in instrumental form on the track Resurrection Day on The House of Atreus act II album.
On act I an entire song, Child of Desolation, is based on this Marriage theme. This song also ends exactly as the track Crown of Glory from the Marriage part II album starts and finishes: "Bury me beside the Endless Sea…"

think you get the picture by now so I'll wrap this up with one final observation on the issue. The instrumental interlude and ending of the track Sword of the Gods from the Invictus album has been reused as the main theme and melody in the song Agony and Shame on The House of Atreus act I release and once again David Defeis has added some new words. So this brings along the question: is this a lack of imagination or an act of genius?

ince it's David Defeis and Virgin Steele we're talking about here, I have to say that it's the latter part of the question that gives us the answer.
It doesn't only prove that the man's got a great feeling to what's good and what goes with what, but it also gives a continuum and a feeling of a continuing story that surely/hopefully will go on for a long time.

o By the Gods- keep up the recycling and let us true and loyal fans continue to enjoy and embrace the glory and grandeur of your work!

Mat - January 2002