Friday, April 2, 2010

Exorcist - Nightmare Theatre

This is one of the most bizarre things in my collection. Not because of the music itself; to that end, it’s fairly standard Venom worship – not bad, but nothing to write home about. No, the real draw of this is that it’s actually Noble Savage-era Virgin Steele, under pseudonyms, who wrote, performed and released this album, apparently over or during some copyright dispute with their band founder, Jack Starr.

Now, that right there blows my mind because it exists. It’s just – imagine if Nightwish decided to put on masks and play Cannibal Corpse worship, or if Mayhem put up a fake name and started a Dream Theater cover band.

Well, I suppose it’s not THAT far-fetched. After all, Virgin Steele do exist on the more aggressive side of the power metal spectrum, and Venom were influential to more than just black and thrash. None the less, listening to this is a surreal experience; all of a sudden, David DeFeis is taking on borderline harsh vocals for the duration, while elements of the Steele sound are incorporated into a ripping thrash base. Plus, there are a few nuggets here and there for Steele fans – there’s a part that even acts as a prototype for a part that would later be used in Virgin Steele’s song The Fire God.

Shaking off the weirdness of this being DeFeis and co. and looking at it as I would any other album, though, I have to say that the constant interludes don’t really add much. The concept running through most of the album’s duration, about the Salem witchhunts, is always a welcome topic in this kind of music, and they make it work.

I’d tell you to check it out, even if just for the “what the Christ is this…?” factor, but apparently it’s kind of rare, and by “kind of”, I mean, “I don’t even know if there’s an official release”. Hell, I’m pretty sure my copy is unofficial – the liner notes are copied directly from one of the album’s reviews on metal-archives, so somebody is plagiarizing somebody, at any rate. If you can’t find it, torrent it or something, because I’m pretty sure the band isn’t making any money off this thing.

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