Published on October 27th, 2016 | by Justin G.
Virgin Steele: The House of Atreus – Act I & Act II
At the turn of the century, long-running US heavy/power metal band Virgin Steele delivered a 2-part set of epic concept albums. The House of Atreus – Act I came in 1999, with the double-disc The House of Atreus – Act II following in 2000. It wasn’t the first time Virgin Steele attempted a multiple-volume epic (see 1994-95’s The Marriage of Heaven and Hell albums), but The House of Atreus, with its Greek mythology subject matter and sprawling cast of characters, was the band’s most ambitious offering.
Both installments of The House of Atreus were very well received by fans. Unfortunately they were released/distributed by the now-defunct Noise Records label, so they’ve been out of print for quite some time…until now.
As they did so well with so many other Virgin Steele titles, SPV has delivered a deluxe edition of The House of Atreus. Titled The House of Atreus – Act I & Act II, this massive 3-disc set contains the full 1999 release The House of Atreus – Act I on the first disc, the full 2000 release The House of Atreus – Act II on discs two and three, with the rare Magick Fire-Music EP from 2000 included on the third disc. The EP had two original songs as well as four alternate versions of album tracks, so it makes a nice addition to this already impressive set.
The liner notes show that both albums (and the EP) were newly remastered by Dave DeFies. They’re recent enough releases that they don’t really need remastering, but it certainly doesn’t hurt. The booklet also includes lyrics, story notes and some vintage photos. The set comes in a gatefold digipack, which is not ideal, but it at least matches the rest of the SPV Virgin Steele reissues in appearance.
Now for the $15.00 question: is this set worth getting if you already own the previous versions of The House of Atreus albums? The answer: only if you’re a Virgin Steele super-fan or a completist. The albums themselves aren’t noticeably different, and the bonus material might not be enough to justify the double-dip. Still, if you want it all and want to see all your reissues lined up nicely on your shelf, this deluxe set is going to be awfully hard to resist. If you’re missing one or both of the originals, this one is a no-brainer. You get two fantastic epic heavy metal albums in one shot, and at a reasonable price.