Virgin Steele front man David Defeis finally decided to break the ice on their new album, The Black Light Bacchanalia, after hearing some questions regarding what our ears should expect to hear on November 9, the day of release.
The lead singer himself recently wrote provided a blog entry answering his own questions about the new album to give some insight on what to expect, also shedding light about new artwork featured, thus promoting even more anticipation then already for its upcoming release.
Q: What does the title, “The Black Light Bacchnalia” mean?
A: My answer is this…Well…it is my way of saying something like “This insane Life”….It should be thought of in the same spirit as the way Dante called his Work “The Divine Comedy”. He was discussing Life in all its multifaceted craziness, and I mean something similar with the phrase, “The Black Light Bacchanalia”. I too am speaking about Life and all its attendant drama, aches, & pains, pathos, joys & sorrows. By that phrase I also mean “The Great Reversal”. Where when one culture conquers another, the deities of the conquered people become the demons of the conquerors religion. Everything is turned upside down…topsy-turvy. This is essentially what happened to Paganism & Gnosticism. The Pagans were killed off, and their worship of Bacchus/Dionysus with their bacchanalias was suppressed. But…in the glow of the Black Light things that are white are illuminated… the other colors fade into the shadows…The Pagans went underground….
Q: Is this a concept album? And if so what can you tell us about the concept?
A: Yes it is a concept album. It does continue the tale I began on the “Visions Of Eden” album, and brings those elements to their conclusion, with the death of Lilith (in TO CROWN THEM WITH HALOS), & also God finally lamenting all the damage he has done & the havoc he has wrought in ETERNAL REGRET. I equate Lilith with Hypatia (the ancient Pagan astronomer/philosopher of Alexandria, who was murdered by Monks) & Joan Of Arc, and & Lyzebel, (a Sumerian Queen who most people know as Jezebel), (but that name is a perversion of the original Lyzebel, which means Baal is exalted) (She too was murdered), as well as all the various Goddess figures. I continue the discussion of the death of Paganism and the eradication of the Female Goddess Principle due to the rise of the Mountain-Fire-Father God, but I go further with discussing the rise of “organized” religion and its mark upon Paganism, and the subsequent coming of the Dark Ages. However, that being said, I am really discussing today’s Dark Ages, and the rise of fundamentalism in all walks of Life, not only religion, but politics, and everywhere else. And ultimately the album is about Rebellion. Rebellion against authority, God, government, whatever…. etc….This is quite clear in songs like THE ORPHEUS TABOO.
Q: How did the recordings go?
A: ANSWER: They went very well for the most part, but we did have a few problems along the way. Due to the late summer storms we had a few electrical/technical mishaps! We lost various tracks that had to be re-recorded…I did panic at one point, as I had lost a fair amount of information that needed to be done again…Fortunately I do write everything down the old fashioned way, so I always have my notes to refer to…this helped! It was quite stressful, but it only made the album even more passionate and raw. I can somewhat laugh about it now, as I have gotten it all together…but…living through it was a bit unnerving…
Q: What is different about this album compared to your others?
A: Using the 12 notes that are found in Western Civilization’s Music, I feel that I was able to invoke new emotions and new combinations of these notes and chords that I have not utilized before. For example tracks like TO CROWN THEM WITH HALOS & THE BLACK LIGHT BACCHANALIA (The Age That Is to Come), contain various Musical elements & moods that have never before appeared on a VIRGIN STEELE album. That kind of mutant riffing and that kind of bizarre sequence in the bridge of the latter tune are quite different for us. It is darker than before in certain areas, and also more straight ahead in others. I think there is a nice balance between the various styles we do. I think that everyone really played their collective asses off. Frank G., gives the drum performance of his Life on these tracks. There is just so much virtuosity coming out of him these days. Josh did amazing guitar solos and fat rhythms, and Edward played with tremendous passion and great energy. I think it may be among our finest recorded performances thus far. All the feeling of our summer live shows went into these recordings. Performing gigs first and then recoding right after definitely can spice up one’s studio game!
Q: I am also really pleased with the artwork. I chose 3 separate yet related covers for each of the 3 configurations we are releasing the album in. The covers are all from around 1400 or 1500, and have to do with the Inquisition or the occult. They are wood carvings or etchings, and I have used a few more of them inside the booklets. These are “found” images that I have located among various items in my house. I have been going organic with our covers for quite a while now. For example the HOUSE OF ATREUS covers were made from a shield that hangs on a wall in my house. While I am working on the albums I look around and see if anything will leap out at me and scream “this is the sound of the album in visual form”. Again for example, with THE HOUSE OF ATREUS shield…when I looked at that it screamed to me” KINGDOM OF THE FEARLESS”…so I immediately took it down from the wall and had it photographed. The same with these 3 images for the new covers. I heard the moans of THE BLACK LIGHT BACCHANALIA when I viewed them…
The other images inside the booklet are kind of media-manipulated artworks that are part paintings and part something else. These were done by my friend Julian Ilieve, and they are great, & they too capture the Spirit residing inside the sounds. All these various components were Nobly put together by one Jens Reinhold. Jens did a Glorious job bringing all these elements together.
Q: We have heard that you said this album seems like a debut album. What do you mean by that?
A: I mean that it has that kind of ” we’re out to prove ourselves” fire that many debut albums have, and it is well paced and diverse yet also quite connected. It contains that kind of spontaneity and raw passion that makes it seem so fresh. It sounds like we are all very excited about what we are doing. When I first heard all the tracks back to back in one go, it reminded me of the feelings I got upon listening to the first 2 Led Zeppelin albums, or Van Halen’s debut or Queen 1. It just felt so alive and reckless, polished, yet wild. I hope that everyone will enjoy it…
Look out for The Black Bacchanalia, available in stores along with a special edition digipack on November 2. On November 29, a Strictly Limited Collector’s Edition LP Box Set will also be available for purchase.