There are three things that you definitely cannot complain about with VIRGIN STEELE:
1. Lack of originality
2. Too short playing time
3. Bad "value for money"-relation
to 1. VIRGIN STEELE are active for 20 years by now and even in their early times had been among those bands that differed from the rest, for one because they, despite being American, did not sound typically American, adding classical elements, and then because of the truly unique voice of mastermind David DeFeis, who is a very integral part of the New Yorkers' sound ever since the beginning.
Musically "The Book Of Burning" also contains orchestral Power Metal of the typical VIRGIN STEELE-vein, so no "Happy Metal" or any shallow melodies, rather, like said, very orchestral, broadly arranged, with classical quotes and a very varied and expressive vocal performance by "The Lion".
After "Nobly Savage" and "Age Of Consent" had been re-mastered and enriched with bonus-tracks, DeFeis has had the plan of doing the same with the first two albums "Virgin Steele" and "Guardians Of The Flame", which had not been available on CD before, but because of some nasty quarrels with then-co-songwriter Jack Starr it could not be done.
So "The Book Of Burning" consists of eight new recordings of tracks off the first two albums and eight new or previously unreleased songs.
To 2. Since the two "Marriage"-albums VIRGIN STEELE always provide us with lots of playing time, not always on the same high level, but still, you get something for your money, heh.
To 3. The new tracks are clearly VIRGIN STEELE, apart from a reduced classical element compared to the two "Atreus"-albums, they have not changed and why should they, epic/bombastic Power Metal always has been the metier of the Americans, so we can enjoy great songs like the fast "Rain Of Fire", the epic "Hellfire Woman" or "The Final Days", even though a track like "The Chosen Ones" with its more than eight minutes cannot hold the level, it is too long and long-winded. And with "Hot And Wild" they also feature a really shallow and very commercial song, which might have worked with Cock Rockers like POISON, but seems to be truly out of place on a VIRGIN STEELE-album.
The re-recorded songs have not lost anything of their class in all those years, the galloping "Children Of The Storm", the stomping "The Redeemer" or the great, epic "Guardians Of The Flame" (at least in their new version, I do not know the original) still work in the year 2002, too!
It's really a problem with VIRGIN STEELE. They release quite a lot, but because of the quality of their material a genre-fan (or a fan of quality-Metal) just cannot pass by even a single release, because he would miss some great music...
Novices in VIRGIN STEELE should rather try out the "Marriage"-albums or the first "Atreus"-album, all VS-fans should not even ask the question, if they should by "The Book Of Burning"!