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American metallers Virgin Steele pretty much take off from where they landed with its last effort, The Black Light Bacchanalia, although a few songs seem to hail somewhat from a pair of decades back. There's however no doubt whatsoever that they have chosen to continue the path of the band's barbaric romantic music, which mainly symbolizes heavy metal with a kind of symphonic and grandiose appearance.
This CD comes with 3 different front covers spread on 3 different versions and musically it perchance eventually gets a bit too much of the good since the jewel case version finds its way up to almost 80 minutes of playing time and add to this that the 2 CD set contains an additional 15 songs.
Besides the bombastic aspects of this entire experience, lead vocalist David DeFeis is certainly in charge of things from start to finish. His distinct vocals range from his own type of howling falsetto mode, through kind of relaxed moments and finally down to when he utilized his rather fierce key. Those of you who are familiar with this unit before know what he's able to come out with and to sit here and try to explain with words what he's up to is kind of a mission impossible.
Anyway, I think that he, just as he does on the live performances nowadays, expresses himself a little bit too frequently with his patented features and specifically the high tones and I definitely prefer him keeping his tone a little lower or untamed.
The album is indeed 100 percent in the Virgin Steele vein and it's just as varied, gripping and dramatic as the previous work, but somehow the songs aren't really able to come out enchanting and massive at the end of the day. The metal is present, some riffs are ripping or heavy and the adorable overall appearance fills my room with mystique and a sense of allurement, yet I can't fully connect to the end result.
Normally I would love this type of music and without even exaggerating, I believe I have listened to this effort over 30 times without finding that last thrill, which supposedly could have set this record in a favorable position in the end. When taking everything into account, it's nevertheless a reasonable outcome and therefore I hand out 6 chalices to Nocturnes Of Hellfire & Damnation.