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It's been five years since long-running New York prog metal band Virgin Steele released a record. Par for the course, really; the group hasn't been prolific since the turn of the century, when they released the monolithic The House of Atreus Acts I and II.

The band is preparing to release their thirteenth LP, Nocturnes of Hellfire and Damnation, and already less savory corners of the internet ate skewering the band for some ridiculous lyrics on the music released from the record. I can't help but notice how lyrics only matter when armchair critics are faced with an easy target: Virgin Steele's brand of shreddy and operative metal hasn't been en vogue since the late 80's, but those willing to sink there teeth into something truly nerdy will find lots to love in Virgin Steele. Band leader David DeFeis composes with an ear for both complexity and melody—his vocals are still jaw-dropping. Listen to "Queen of the Dead" below and see what I mean.

—Joseph Schafer

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Nocturnes of Hellfire and Damnation is available on June 22 via Steamhammer/SPV. Follow Virgin Steele on Facebook.

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