Virgin Steele – “Noble Savage” (1985)

I have a real affinity for things that don’t suck.  Case in point: Noble Savage by Virgin Steele!

This here is Virgin Steele’s third full-length LP, and first without guitarist and founding member Jack Starr (replaced by Edward Pursino).  That means that vocalist David DeFeis no longer had to share band leadership with Starr.  So it was DeFeis’ show from here on out.  And DeFeis was an interesting character to say the least.  His lyrics revealed a man of two sides.  One obsessed with epic fantasy and the heart of a warrior.  The other, a pubescent teenage pervert.  It’s like he adorned himself with animal pelts, but underneath he was secretly wearing nipple clamps.  I guess that’s how we have a record like Noble Savage, with wang danglers like Rock Me sitting there alongside lion-hearted hymns like Thy Kingdom Come.  But I will say this, the man had an innate ability to write extremely catchy vocal melodies.  I really like Virgin Steele because of DeFeis’ style (even if some of his high-pitched squeals were a bit “embarrassing”). 

So here we have a record in Noble Savage that’s a real mixed bag of metal styles.  There are lesser tracks like the aforementioned cheese wheel Rock Me, as well as Evil In Her Eyes (with its Judas Priest circa Point Of Entry main riff).  But we also have the triumphant album opener We Rule The Night, and of course the brilliant title track Noble Savage!  If anyone ever needed a reason to give Virgin Steele a try, the song Noble Savage should be all the reason they need.  At seven and a half minutes, it’s a “true metal” masterpiece of soaring melody and epic atmosphere.  Worthy of worship.  Other highlights include the seven minute album finale The Angel Of Light, and the guilty pleasure ballad Don’t Close Your Eyes.  If you’re not scared of a little cheese sprinkled atop your warrior’s feast, here’s one that won’t disappoint!  My score: A-

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