Virgin Steele - Hymns To Victory

Year of Release: 2002
Label: Noise Records
Catalog Number: n/a
Format: CD
Total Time: 00:00:00

Best-Of albums. Good, usually, for introducing people to a band. Bad though for long time fans who usually pay full price for a disc for maybe one or two bonus/unreleased tracks. According to figures, best-of albums usually sell one third of a bands previous release. But they are usually cheap to produce. Virgin Steele's semi-best of album Hymns To Victory has been a long time coming since VS have been around for aeons now.

To begin with, Virgin Steele opens with tracks from Atreus I, Atreus II, & Invictus. These remastered versions don't differ much from their original counterparts, which is why the more interesting tracks from this album are the older re-mastered/re-recorded tracks that begin with track 4's "Crown Of Glory." When you hear "Flames Of Thy Power" (which is in its third CD pressing, appearing on the EP Magick Fire Music and Atreus II) it just makes me wonder why. It's a terrific song and the mix may be slightly different, but how anally retentive can you be about one song? So, having established that the more appealing parts of this CD are the re-recorded tracks from Noble Savage, Marriage Part I & II, & Age Of Consent, let's move on to them.

The re-recorded songs show how far Virgin Steele have come in their 20 odd years of heavy metal. "A Symphony Of Steele," originally from Marriage II, sounds magnificent! The return of "Noble Savage" also marks where Virgin Steele are now and where they are headed. With "Crown Of Glory" and the acoustic "The Spirit Of Steele," Virgin Steele have added new parts and have altered songs completely. These are the surprises that fans want to hear with pseudo best-of discs. Previously unreleased, "The Mists Of Avalon" was a song that was created around the time of Noble Savage and this new version was recorded "live" in the studio with just David and Edward. A semi-acoustic version that sounds terrific! Hymns To Victory finishes off with the monster 10 minute track "Emalaith," once again remastered. Again, glory-personified! One embarrassment though is the tacky track "Saturday Night." An absolute shocker if ever I've heard. Should have been some kind of hidden bonus track to my ears. Plainly old school, in a Twisted Sister kind of way, but in a bad way methinks. Hear it once, skip it for the rest of your life.

Overall, this best of gets better as it moves away from recent Virgin Steele and into the re-recorded material which sits as nice here as what Gamma Ray's old stuff did from their Blast From The Past. Is it worthy? Well, considering VS are releasing two single albums in the same month, I would consider The Book Of Burning to be the better choice. Although if you have money to throw around or are new to Virgin Steele, then this will also do wonders.

Still love the swords ("Kingdom Of The Fearless")!

[This review originally appeared November 2002 at the ProgPower Online review site -ed.]

Flames Of Thy Power (From Blood They Rise) / Through The Ring Of Fire / Invictus / Crown Of Glory (Unscarred) / Kingdom Of The Fearless (The Destruction Of Troy) / The Spirit Of Steele / A Symphony Of Steele / The Burning Of Rome (Cry For Pompeii) / I Will Come For You / Saturday Night / Noble Savage / Mists Of Avalon / Emalaith

David DeFeis - all vocals, keyboards, orchestration, keyboard bass/guitar, swords & effects
Edward Pursino - all electric guitars & bass guitars
Frank Gilchriest - drums

Virgin Steele (1983)
Guardians Of The Flame (1983)
Noble Savage (1986)
Age Of Consent (1989)
Life Among The Ruins (1994)
The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell: Part I (1995)
The Marriage Of Heaven And Hell: Part II (1996)
Invictus (1998)
The House Of Atreus: Act I (1999)
Magick Fire Music (EP) (2000)
The House Of Atreus: Act II (2000)
Hymns To Victory (2002)
The Book Of Burning (2002)
Visions Of Eden (2006)

Genre: Traditional Metal

Origin US

Added: March 29th 2005
Reviewer: Gary Carson
Artist website:
Hits: 925
Language: english


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