Great Metal Albums of 1988: Virgin Steele- Age of Consent

Not sure if I said this in a previous Virgin Steele post but I was introduced to this band in 1983 by the ultimate metal sister, the late Stacy Kroger. While I got into their previous three albums, the fact that this 1988 album, “Age of Consent,” received little promotion and therefore fewer sales combined with the fact I was living in the UK, this album totally passed me by. To be honest, it’s a pretty good album but it does sound like they compromised their sound a little in order to gain more commercial success. Maybe they should have stuck with what they knew.

“Age of Consent” starts off well enough with a good opener in “On the Wings of the Night.” The theatric keyboard intro draws you in and then the power of the guitars comes in with a powerful but catchy vibe. Exactly what a good album opener is supposed to do. I won’t call the next few songs a let down as they keep the album ticking along satisfactorily but none of them really grab my attention either. I also get the feeling that “Tragedy” was meant to be the single from the album. It ticks all the boxes for a single but for me, there are better songs on the album.

Things change somewhat when you get to the fourth song, a cover of Uriah Heep’s “Stay on Top.” This is a rock song with a bit of 70s swagger and it does generate a renewed vigor to the album. Furthermore, it sparks life into the middle of the album. “Chains of Fire” remind you that Virgin Steele are still a metal band. Then we get to my favourite song of the album, “The Burning of Rome (Cry for Pompeii).” True, there is a bit of history in the lyrics but if more history was taught with music like this in the background, a lot of metalheads would have gotten A’s in history, especially with that guitar solo from Ed Pursino.

Two songs after comes the other standout track from the album, “Lion in the Winter.” While not as theatrical as “The Burning of Rome,” it’s a great straight ahead power metal tune with a catchy melodic chorus. It’s probably singer David De Feis’s best vocal effort. Then the album goes out, first with the power ballad, “Cry Forever,” which is decent but unmemorable and I can say the same about closing track, “We Are Eternal.”

Another reason behind the album’s lack of success was the turmoil going on behind the scenes. During the recording of the album, the band was besieged by financial and legal setbacks. On top of that, bassist Joe O’Reilly was ghosted by Pursion and lead singer David DeFeis. That explains why Pursino is listed in the credits for playing bass on the album.

Track Listing:

  1. On the Wings of the Night
  2. Seventeen
  3. Tragedy
  4. Stay on Top
  5. Chains of Fire
  6. The Burning of Rome (Cry for Pompeii)
  7. Let it Roar
  8. Lion in the Winter
  9. Cry Forever
  10. We Are Eternal
Virgin Steele

David DeFeis- lead vocals, keyboards

Ed Pursino- guitar, bass

Joe O’Reilly- bass

Joey Ayvazian- drums

The end result for “Age of Consent” is that it with all the issues surrounding the band, it would lead to its unofficial break up. Virgin Steele wouldn’t record another album for five years. The tragic aspect is that this album, while I’m not bowled over by it, it’s not bad either. In fact, it’s pretty good.

Next post: Wratchild- The Biz Suxx

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8 Responses to “Great Metal Albums of 1988: Virgin Steele- Age of Consent”

  1. Good album but it is a bit patchy. Their 90s albums were their best stuff. And the expanded version they released of Age Of Consent is much better as it has more epic stuff added, different running order and Perfect Mansions which is one of their best songs.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Actually, I was going to stop after 1989.


  3. Oh, I am not stopping posting, but I am just going to end the history tour. My main objective was to show that the 80s was the golden age of heavy metal. But I will continue to post on musical topics.


  4. They never got any traction in Australia and still to this day remain unheard. The beauty of streaming means this will change soon.

    Liked by 1 person

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