|Virgin Steele - The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell Part II
01. A Symphony Of Steele
02. Crown Of Glory
03. From Chaos To Creation
04. Twilight Of The Gods
05. Rising Unchained
07. Prometheus The Fallen One
11. Unholy Water
12. Victory Is Mine
13. The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell Revisited
14. Life Among The Ruins [live] [2008 re-release bonus]
15. I Wake Up Screaming [live] [2008 re-release bonus]
Welcome to part 2 of the Marriage Saga! This Saga, which consists of 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell parts 1 and 2' and 'Invictus', centers on Endyamon and Emalaith and their story of love that never dies. In my opinion, Virgin Steele display their uniqueness of songwriting, lyrical topics, and instrumentation truly for the first time with this album. It contains work from 3 different drummers, but Frank Gilchriest (who plays on 3 tracks) decided to stay with Virgin Steele for good afterwards and what a blessing that was!
This album holds a special place in my Virgin Steele collection because it contains several of my all-time favorite Virgin Steele songs: 'Unholy Water' and the song of the heroine 'Emalaith' (gee, I wonder why!). True to form, Virgin Steele invent themes and bring them back for several songs. Doing this not only ties together the 3-album Marriage Saga, but unifies all of Virgin Steele's work. It is intriguing and always makes me go back to the other albums on which I have heard a particular theme. 'Prometheus the Fallen One' for instance introduces the 'Emalaith' theme. What will on 'Emalaith' turn into a chorus is played here by Edward Pursino on the guitar. Moreover, 'Prometheus the Fallen One' starts out with an eerie intro of David's incredible vocals. Finally, the beginning and end of 'Crown of Glory' will be heard again on 'The House of Atreus Act I'.
Although this album contains more characteristics of the mature Virgin Steele sound, it also has some elements left over from their earlier years. 'Devil/Angel', for instance, is a lot closer to Virgin Steele's 80's style and, unfortunately, almost reminds me of ZZ Top (sorry, David). 'Strawgirl' on the other hand has its own feel and doesn's fit any Virgin Steele category, old or new. With the final piece on the album, 'The Marriage of Heaven and Hell Revisited', Virgin Steele round off part 2 of the Marriage Saga beautifully.
In conclusion, this album represents an important phase in Virgin Steele's journey to find their own unique style. This album is not yet as marvelous as the third part of the Saga, 'Invictus', but Virgin Steele are a lot closer to this goal than ever before.
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