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Virgin Steele - Noble Savage (reissue)

Label: SPV
Format: CD
Released: 2011
Reviewed By: Mark Gromen
Rating: 8/ 10


The reissue of this ’85 album has been royally augmented: five bonuses and an instrumental to the original ten song version, plus a second audio disc, filled with previously unavailable material (four new tracks, another instrumental and an assortment of live pre-production and re-mixed versions of the old material). 28 offerings, all total, plus liner notes penned by mainman David DeFeis and vintage photos.

 

At the time, "Noble Savage" was the initial post-Jack Starr (guitar) album. As such, DeFeis’ keyboards began to take a more prominent role, moving from balls out metal (such as it was in the early 80s) to a slightly more accessible sound, including the odd power ballad (before it was the genre’s rage). Relationship songs were always a DeFeis mainstay. Amongst fans, it also appears to be the "favorite" in the back catalog, even if the topless, loin-cloth ‘savage’ on the yellow cover was decidedly "un-metal" back in the day. To this day, tracks like ‘We Rule The Night’, the title cut and the pair of 7+ minute songs: ‘Fight Tooth And Nail’ and the ‘Angel Of Light’ finale remain staples of the oft changing line set.

The tempo to most of the extra material is speedier than DeFeis’ most recent output, something Virgin-ites have been clamoring for, in vain. ‘To The Devil A Daughter’, bass driven ‘Obsession (It Burns For You)’ and grittier, Sunset Strip strut of ‘Come On And Love Me’ provide a more accurate retrospective of why metalheads embraced early Virgin Steele, while ‘Lord Of Violence Kill’ sees the singer at his best piercing falsetto yelp, backed by some adventurous guitar. ‘Ase’s Death’ is a regal, orchestral/organ processional, leading right into a rollicking, albeit lyrically redundant ‘Bitches From Hell’. ‘The Spirit Of Steele’ is an even more grandiose composition. Rarely are re-issued platters worth investing in again, even for the most ardent fan, but "Noble Savage" 2011 could be on everyone’s wish list, be it for first timers researching a part of the music’s history, or as a repeat purchase. Noble, yes. Not so savage.

 
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