Virgin Steele


Visions of Eden, August 2006
Questions by Edmund Alscott
Photos: Gail Flug,

1. You are just about to release a new album called "Visions of Eden". How would you describe the album with your own words? What is it about? And why should people buy it? What are your favourite moments on it?

Frank: I would describe “Visions..” musically as predominantly romantic, barbaric, symphonic epic power metal. However, Dave’s melodies, and his knowledge and use of harmony are in a class all of its own. As a result, there are many musical moments in “Visions..” which clearly transcend that which we normally hear in that genre.

David: It is an album filled with Epic Barbaric-Romantic songs of anguish, struggle, Love, Death, and Melancholia. I will quote a line from it: “Rape of a Life, Rape of a Soul, Rape of us All VISIONS OF EDEN... Why do we Live, Why do we Die, When will we Know VISIONS OF EDEN?”...
Again... this album “VISIONS OF EDEN” is not about happiness, peace, contentment or Eternal tranquility... it is the opposite. It is about disorder, strife, struggle, dominance, and the annihilation of a culture, a way of Life, and the violation & annihilation of a human being. It is a Work based on the destruction of Paganism, Gnosticism and the desecration & eradication of the Goddess Principle that once dwelled so freely within Divinity.
A massive blow was struck against these early beliefs, by first, the rise of the "Father-God" principle, and second by the development of the "organized" religions. The album concerns LILITH, first wife of Adam, (he of Biblical fame, as in Adam & Eve and the apple, the snake and all that fig leaf and rib propaganda), plus Ancient Sumerian Myths concerning Lilith’s relationship with Adam, Eve and God. However, that being said, in actuality, it is really about today... modern times and how we might have arrived here at this strange place we are now in…
My favorite moments are many... THE HIDDEN GOD, WHEN DUSK FELL... ANGEL OF DEATH, etc... I am pleased with all the songs.

Edward: The " Visions of Eden" album is a powerful, dark complex hardhitting work of art. We pushed the envelope musically, I must say. The songs are based on the story and myths of Lilith >the Queen of the Demons< and the songs help paint the picture perfectly. There are simply no other metal records to compare this work to. I challenge any band to have the balls to put out a record this advanced!!! However, we still managed to bring it to light in true VS fashion, so I´m sure all our noble fans will love this mighty metal adventure.

Josh: The album contains many different musical elements. It’s classical, dark, heavy, progressive, epic and a whole lot more. It’s a concept album based on the goddess Lilith. The story itself is really something special and takes you on a journey from Heaven to Hell and back so to speak. The packaging booklet with this CD is great... the story synopsis, photos, and color scheme are all done so well and really go perfectly with the music. Not to mention you get a full 80 minutes of music which is unheard of!!

2. The new album Visions Of Eden - "The Lilith Project” - (A Barbaric Romantic Movie Of The Mind), will be released the September 8th. What is different in this CD?

Frank: The CD is the story of the destruction of the feminine goddess cultures, which existed in the ancient world by invaders who imposed their patriarchal order of the universe upon their subjects to consolidate their power. I can’t say exactly what is different about “Visions..” but what I will say is that I believe they are David’s strongest compositions yet. I believe his song writing skills took another leap forward on “Visions..”.

David: It comes from the same place all of our albums come from... the Heart, Mind & Spirit of VIRGIN STEELE. And as is our style, it does bring in new elements. We have always managed to incorporate new ideas on every album. We do not wish to make the same album every time. This one has a new Melancholia to it, which is perhaps more Autumnal, more Lunar than ever before. It is possibly our Darkest subject thus far.
VIRGIN STEELE albums take time to absorb and to fully comprehend. There is so much going on musically, lyrically, emotionally, that it often can take years to fully understand some tracks. It is meant to be this way. The songs are meant to be companions on your journey through life! And as you change, the ideas both musical and otherwise will reveal themselves more & more to you. It is not easy listening in one ear and out the other Music. It demands something from the listener, and it rewards as well.

Edward: There really isn´t anything different about this CD, it´s really the next step forward. However this time around David composed all the tracks on the piano so the guitars and orchestrations merely enhance the drama and passion of the music.The album wasn´t written from a handful of guitar riffs so it was challenging to bring it to light, however the song Invictus was also written on piano, so I´m quite used to the process of creating the sound of the mighty VS. I approached the guitar solo to "Immortal I Stand" the same way I approached the solo to "Symphony of Steele", it´s on that level to me.

Josh: The songwriting on this album is really in a class of its own. The composition and flow of one song to the next is near perfection, pushing songwriting abilities to the limits. It’s impossible to classify what genre of metal it falls into, so anyone who buys the album will get a taste of a completely original work; something that’s never been done before.

3. What are your favourite moments on it? Favourite tracks? Are you satisfied with the way the album turned out? Are you pleased with your performances?

Frank: People should buy the CD because it is different from what is currently available in the Genre. It is truly an original work of music and has an interesting story that relates to all the madness in the world today. My favorite moment on the CD is "God Above God”. Musically and lyrically that song brings a tear to my eye every time I hear it!
I am satisfied with my performance. I wish to clear up any confusion about the drumming on “Visions of Eden”. First of all, that is me playing on every song. There was no programmed drum parts used whatsoever!! I am very happy with my performance on “Visions..”. However, the drum sound is a different matter. This was the first time we used a digital drum kit and I’m not entirely satisfied with the outcome. Unfortunately, they sound so perfect that people are accusing me of not actually playing the parts. Some people think Dave programmed the drums on a computer. That is very distressful to me. I worked hard to get my endurance and speed up to the task of recording those parts. I can hear my own style of attack on the drums and, my particular way of phrasing things but at the same time I understand what some fans are saying. There is a machine like quality to due to the use of a digital drum kit instead of a real wooden one. I can’t wait to satisfy the doubters when in concert I’ll be ripping up those songs out on a real wooden drum kit.
I’ve always prided myself on being an old school player who doesn’t rely on computer, triggers, samples, etc. to make my drumming exciting. “Visions..” was a break from that thinking. Recording digitally is cheaper and a quicker process. Sorry to disappoint but, money was an issue plus, you can’t be afraid to try new things.

The problem is that triggers and digital technology enhance things so much that no one knows who is a good player and who is not anymore. With digital drums, plenty of hack drummers who have no style or technique sound monstrous in the studio. It’s really the producer and not the drummer you are listening too. It makes me sick when I see some of these guys in concert and if it wasn’t for all the triggers on their kit, they would sound like wimps. To my surprise, the fans don’t seem to know the difference. I don’t want to name names but you’d be surprised how many guys are out there, who are considered great drummers but are nothing without the digital technology. As a matter of fact I went to see a prominent speed metal band in Germany one night on a off day and when I got to the venue, the show was cancelled. I went back stage and found out that the drummer’s computer crashed and that he couldn’t play his parts without its aide. Meanwhile on their record the guy sounds like the second coming of Dave Lombardo. I looked at his bass drum pedals, which were rigged to barely move to impact the drumhead. What a fake! And to think, there are drummers all over the metal scene, (especially in Death Metal), just as pathetic as this guy whom the fans think are monster players.
For me, digital technology just gets in the way of my expression, and takes away from my power and finesse. I’d rather have a real organic sound even if it isn’t “perfect”. I hope I never get lumped into the category with all the hack drummers I’ve eluded too. It will really break my heart after all the work I’ve done to develop myself as an artist. I still say that John Bonham had the greatest drum sound in Rock history. Jimmy Page used just two microphones to capture that man’s brilliance and turn the world on its head. It’s no wonder that producers today are beginning to go back in time to rip off all the drum sounds from the past, before there was any of this digital nonsense and things were real.
I’m sorry to those of you who are disappointed with the sound of the drums on the new CD. However, before you doubt that I’m actually playing those parts, come out and see us on tour. When I get done ripping your heads off with my usual sound and attack, all you doubters will be silenced.

David: Yes I am very satisfied with the compositions! They are among my strongest to date. I am satisfied with the performances. I am pleased that I could do many different types of vocal styles on the album, and I am very pleased with Frank’s drumming. I have said it before, and I will say it again. He is for me... the finest drummer in Rock Music today. And yes... that is him playing on the album. I did not program the drums. If I had I would say so and list that in the credits. We have always been a very honest band, even to the point of leaving in mistakes on a track, as long as the feel is right.
We did use a digital drum kit, which is a different sound. I find that for the slower tracks the digital sound is more than fine. Sometimes on the faster songs it can be a bit much. But I do enjoy the tom toms on this album. And I like that you can hear all of Frank’s playing properly. On every album I am never fully satisfied with the final mix, and if I were not stopped... I would still be mixing NOBLE SAVAGE! So this album is no exception.
There is nothing “wrong” with this mix. All things are in proportion to what really needs to be heard. I think it is a fair and decent mix, which does not detract in any way from the ideas in the compositions, but still that being said... I would have loved to have been able to spend a bit more time on it and to take it into another studio as well. I think it could have been improved in some areas, and the potential of the songs could be even more pronounced. A mix is a very relative, subjective personal thing.

Edward: My favorite moments are "Angel of Death", "Immortal I Stand" and "God above God". I do think the album turned out amazing, I wish we had more time and weren´t rushed to meet a deadline but the power and passion is there, the songs move me.

Josh: For me, I like "Childslayer", "The Hidden God" and " Visions of Eden". It’s hard to choose. I can say that I’m very satisfied with my performances. As they consisted of playing all the 7-string rhythm guitar tracks and a couple of guitar melodies here and there, I’m happy with the way it added to the character of the songs. Although you are always limited by time and money when recording, I think we are all satisfied.

4. What was the process by which the album came together?

David: I do not go anywhere near a recording studio until I have a song completely worked out in my mind, on paper and on cassette. I am very primitive in my approach. On this album I composed as I always do, on my acoustic piano, using a very cheap cassette recorder to capture all my ideas. After I maxed everything out on cassette, I went into the studio and made fairly elaborate demos of all the tracks and presented them to the Group. Once they learned the parts we began recording. We recorded far more music than actually appears on VISIONS OF EDEN, so there will be much more to come.

Edward: The songs were from David´s work on the Lilith project. The man wrote 60 songs so we picked what we thought would make a strong record. This also was good because it gave me a chance to stock up a bunch of new guitar riffs, so to all you guitar lovers stay tuned!!

Josh: It pretty much followed your typical process ... first the writing, then recording the ideas, the addition of each instrument. In this case most of the keyboards and orchestration were done first, then drums, then guitars, with the vocal performances being done along the way.

5. What do you think are the strongest moments in Virgin Steele’s musical history?

Frank: For me the strongest time in VS history was the Invictus era and tour. I might be a bit biased because that’s early on when I joined the band. It was all very exciting and new to me. Plus, the Metal concert scene was booming. We toured constantly.
Thanks again for all your support and belief in the band.
By the Hammer of Thor,
The Baron, The Kraken,
Frank G.

David: Now! We are entering our finest hour, and I believe that the coming years will see some of the most Glorious results.
Cheers to you All... Thanks for listening! David DeFeis

Josh: For me, I feel that we all get stronger with time. I’ve said before that we all grow as musicians, as performers and as people. So the best is still yet to come ...

Edward: All the years with the mighty Steele have been strong and if I had to pick the most exciting time it was the Marriage Era and the reissue of Age of Consent. I thought "Perfect mansions" was a masterpiece and for those of you who attended the acoustic shows witnessed David and I taking that song to the heavens.The shows have always been the best moments in VS´s history. It`s all about the music and our brothers and sisters of metal.
We thank you for all your support and dedication. Rock On!!!!!! Edward Pursino