Virgin Steele - Guardians Of The Flame CD
After their less than iconic debut the year before, Virgin Steele cast aside their wild spirited approach to music for a more ambitious, carefully molded stance. The result is a lovable 49 minutes of wonderfully made stomping metal with distinct shades of the epic craft that would define the band in albums to come. "Guardians of the Flame" was also the last album to feature guitarist Jack Starr and he owns every bit of it with his fiery chops burning the last word in every musical statement. These were the days before David DeFeis singularly controlled all the songwriting and the band was a more cohesive and collaborative unit. The playing was the tightest it had ever been, void of any excesses, and the songs were all the more memorable for it. Room was made for only one ballad and DeFeis and Starr's lofty aspirations were satisfied with two certifiable epic tracks that barely cracked the eight minute mark. It is a very honest album - concise and straightforward, baring its heart and soul yet still proud and noble in demeanor.