The name CHASTAIN has its firm place in the history of Heavy Metal, since David T. Chastain has been part of the scene since the Mid-Eighties already and most people have heard from him either way. With the exception of his last solo album, though, I had not heard any of his creations, so that I was quite interested in finally hearing the comeback album of the band CHASTAIN, “In An Outrage“, seven years after their last effort. The line-up of David and singer Kate French saw the addition of former VICIOUS RUMORS veterans Dave Starr on bass and Larry Howe on drums and recorded the ten tracks of this album in altogether four studios.
So let’s enter this CD, my first contact with CHASTAIN… I had read a lot about the band, especially the powerful female voice of at first Leather Leone and now Kate French and I was really looking forward to it and, well, I was disappointed. Not that the music was weak, no, the musicianship is out of question, we have true masters here, who nicely combine traditional and modern riffing without selling their souls, there is just this one element that throws me off apart from three songs, Kate French’s voice.
The opening title track is almost a prime example for my dilemma with CHASTAIN: a stomping, powerful rhythm, heavy riffing, very good melodies, but a voice that for me just contains too little melody and more damages the song than helping. For my ears Kate’s voice simply sounds too limited and at times forced, even though legions of fans will hate me for this, but I can only transmit what my ears signal to me.
I had mentioned that there are three exceptions: “Souls The Sun“ with its Egyptian touch and a certain epic side, “Tortured Love” that also is more sluggish mid-tempo, full of riffs, and the closing, again Egyptian “Hamunaptra”, where voice and music find their union, also thanks to more melodies in the voice.
The guitar work of David is strong, without ever drifting off into showing off, the songs are compact and gripping, just the voice doesn’t do it for me, who likes the vocals will definitely like “In An Outrage” a lot more than I do.
Oh yeah, even though the cover has been done by none less than Travis Smith, it won’t win any prizes whatsoever either… (Online March 2, 2005)