NEVER SAY NEVER, KEEP BOTH YOUR EYES ON THE FLAME ... THE POWER THAT LIES WITHIN YOU COMES FORTH ONCE AGAIN ...'
That has been a constant theme in my life, even before I composed the song in which those lines appear, (THY KINGDOM COME). The sentiments expressed in that track, gave me strength to carry on then and are still relevant today, which is why I thought it appropriate to begin these new liner notes with.
'NOBLE SAVAGE', is an extremely important album in the History of VIRGIN STEELE. It was a huge accomplishment for us at the time, and an immensely satisfying recording that I feel still holds up and wears very well today! It was the most focused, most well recorded, written and performed album we had done thus far. Many fans of VIRGIN STEELE, and METAL in general feel that it is one of the Landmark Metal Albums of All Time!!! To me that is very gratifying and I thank all of you out there who have taken the album so warmly to your hearts!!! It was a magickal time in our lives, and the unbound wildness, sheer joy and pride we felt upon it's completion still touches us today. In its sonic landscape are all my/our hopes, dreams, joys, sorrows, passions and Lives! Many thought this album would 'never' see the light of day 'again', yet here it is because of the overwhelming demand from you Ever Faithful And Eternal Metal Listener!!!
Now, as we enter the 10 Year Anniversary of this album, I thought it would be a good idea to release the album with some bonus tracks that were originally written and/or intended for this album but were left off or 'never' released due to the limitations of the technology/format of the time, (the VINYL record). An album then couldn't be as long as a cd of today. Come celebrate with us now, and let me guide you through these tracks both new and more familiar ... The first bonus track OBSESSION (IT BURNS FOR YOU), was actually the very first song that Edward and I collaborated on, not THE EVIL IN HER EYES, as I had stated in the double 'MARRIAGE' albums liner notes. I had forgotten about OBSESSION, SORRY!!! 'EVIL', was really our second collaboration. If you were in the audience in 1987 at any of the shows we did with MANOWAR in Europe, or saw us in the States at any of our shows during this period, then you heard this song, as it was our set opener at the time. The beginning sounds like a Chinese Opera, and it does get quite Bombastic, with the entrance of the band after the atmospheric introduction. Lyrically it speaks of love turned to possession and ego gone completely out of control. It has been re-mixed, re-mastered, and new tracks and orchestration have been added since it was first conceived, but the main early ingredients have been maintained to represent the original fire of the 'Era'. If you wish to know more precisely what was done, feel free to write, or ask me on Tour.
The other song that was originally intended for the album but not included, is COME ON AND LOVE ME. Once again if you saw us in '87, then you know this one, as it was our Encore song. (By the way and BY THE GODS, THANKS for making that time so memorable and enjoyable for us)!!! Straight ahead Metal with screaming vocals mark the presence of this track. As before with OBSESSION, new tracks have been added, new mix and mastering, but the original feeling remains. Incidentally this song was also intended for inclusion on 'AGE OF CONSENT', but it strangely never made it on that album either! ('NEVER SAY NEVER')! Oh yes, please !!! ... NO comments about the subject matter!!! YES, it is possible to be Spiritual as well as Earthy! I explained all that with the whole 'MARRIAGE' CONCEPT! Remember that the Flesh and the Spirit are one and the same, and if you deny that, then you deny yourself the complete picture and pleasure of LIFE!!! Balance is the word! OK, I know, enough of my rambling. WHERE ARE YOU RUNNING TO, is another product of the 'NOBLE ERA'. It was written for the album, and like the other 2 titles I mentioned, was kept off because it physically couldn't fit time wise. Perhaps it was also felt at the time that one Ballad per album was enough, and DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES, was the one we chose. Here, both can now be heard. This one has undergone a major, major transformation, ('blending mind and matter'). It has been fully orchestrated, re-mixed, added to, etc., but the main ingredients like the vocal, are from the earlier period. I must tell you it was not easy to restore all of these tracks. The tapes were in a terrible state, and wearing out before my eyes. Therefore everything had to be transferred before I could even begin to contemplate any new ideas, changes, etc...
The more familiar songs that were originally released, like NOBLE SAVAGE, FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL, etc., were all re-mastered from the original mixes, to keep faith with what you originally heard, enjoyed, and said you wished to have once again. I think it is faithful to the 'ERA' - to you - your memories and to us, and I hope you are pleased with the results.
LOVE AND DEATH, originally started life as a song called GIRL GONE BAD and if you saw us on Tour in 1993, you heard that song. It was re-written completely, for the 'MARRIAGE' series, but still .. somewhat incomplete, so we left it alone. It has now finally come together in the proper style, and we thought it would make a nice inclusion on this release. Straight ahead Metal that fits comfortably alongside earlier tracks like, I'M ON FIRE and THE EVIL IN HER EYES. The lyrics deal with the personification of DEATH and LOVE, and Death's insistence that Love will eventually succumb to his dark charms. Musically it moves around quite nicely and has great energy. I wrote the SPIRIT OF STEELE for the 'MARRIAGE', but like LOVE AND DEATH, it remained unfinished. I have completed it now for this release. In fact the lyrics and vocal were only recorded a few days ago. It is a METAL HYMN, dealing with History, Nobility, Tradition and the handing down of a great Sword of Power, like Excalibur! I think it is in keeping with the 'NOBLE' SPIRIT, and is dedicated to what we are, were and will remain to be!!! (Stay tuned for the next album will be a full blown Epic, like the 'MARRIAGE OF HEAVEN AND HELL PARTS I & II'. In fact some of the themes explored on those albums may return once again ... hmmm ... A Part III ??? ...)!!!!!!! THE PYRE OF KINGS, was written not so long ago, and I think of it as the sequel to THE SPIRIT OF STEELE, where the old King after passing on his sword and lineage to his son, goes off with his 'CROWN OF GLORY', to the Great Hall of Heroes in the sky!!! It is mournful, yet quite 'NOBLE', Stately and Proud in its tone! Let's continue with a discussion of the original 10 tracks, shall we WE RULE THE NIGHT, is an Anthem that we still perform today. It is dedicated to all you loyal VIRGIN STEELE FANS!!! LONG MAY YOU LIVE!!!! I'M ON FIRE, is a straight ahead rocker with a sing along chorus and frantic riffing from Edward. THY KINGDOM COME, I wrote at a time when I was feeling really low, and it brought me back to life and action. May it help you in time of need as well! IMAGE OF A FAUN AT TWILIGHT, was a mood and moment that I wished to capture forever. The vision I saw outside my window was the inspiration behind the piece. Mist, Twilight's arrival, trees and shadows blended together to create a Magick scenario that moved me. NOBLE SAVAGE, hey what can I say, I am extremely proud of this work. We still play it live, and it stands as a testament to Honor, Power, Beauty and Grace. Its meanings are multiple. Men/Women, are part of the Animal Kingdom, and we would do well to watch, study and live our lives along the guidelines of how that Kingdom works. Yes, the Spiritual element is quite evident as well. The ending sounds like a Viking Funeral. FIGHT TOOTH AND NAIL, an aggressive song to help you deal with any and all the bullshit you may encounter in life. It probably took the least amount of time to compose, of any song I ever wrote. I think I finished it in 10 minutes, music, lyrics and arrangement all came out fully born at once. THE EVIL IN HER EYES is based on certain people I knew at the time on the club scene. It is the second song that Edward and I completed as I said before. ROCK ME, well that's another song that was a product of the time and scene we moved in. Fun, energetic, with some piercing screams and an easy to hum chorus. DON'T CLOSE YOUR EYES, is a Ballad with romantic notions, and a catchy chorus. We sometimes perform a stripped down version of this one. THE ANGEL OF LIGHT, is the other epic track to balance out the album. Lyrics about Revelations and a multi part feast of music. I find it interesting that it clocks in at exactly 7 minutes ...
I could go on forever talking about each track, but I'll save that for in person discussions. So to conclude, here it is, our Celebration of Life, Death, Darkness and Light, Love, Beauty, Struggle and Strife. I was proud of it 10 years ago, and I'm proud of it today. So much of our History is bound up with this album, and in returning to it, many memories both good and bad were stirred up. At the time we recorded it, there were great difficulties in all our personal lives, and we weren't sure if the album would be our last one, so all our passion for living went into it's creation. We explored new sounds and production techniques and went for it, no holds barred on the performances. I will leave you with a statement I made when 'NOBLE SAVAGE' was first released. 'May this work bring you joy in days of happiness, and Power and strength to deal with dark days and times. Remember Freedom isn't dead!!
HEED THE VOICE THAT IS CALLING, FOR THY KINGDOM AWAITS YOUR CROWNING'!!!!!!!
September Friday 13th, 1996