'Surrender To No One'
Release Date: 19th November 2013
David T Chastain is a Metal guitarist who was part of Mike Varney's Shrapnel Records roster of shredding guitar players in the early 80s.
While Chastain the man put out a bunch of project and solo records full of trademark Metal shredding guitar his most successful releases at the time were under Chastain as a band name where he played in an early form of power Metal band confining the shredding solos within song structures and fronted by the vocals of Leather Leone, a Californian woman who paved the way for the likes of Veronica Freeman of Benedictum with her powerful raw vocals.
Leone appeared on several albums (including 'Ruler Of The Wastelands', an undiscovered Metal classic in my opinion) then left after 1990s 'For Those Who Dare'. There have been occasional Chastain albums since hen with a different singer but the big news here is that Leather is back and this is Chastain as it was for the first time in 23 years!
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The press release says this is a band keeping one foot in the past and one in the present. That's kind of true as new drummer Stian Kristofferson (of Pagan's Mind and Firewind) gives the band a drive and energy slightly different to the old days but over all this album is pretty interchangeable with their 80s ouput.
The formula of heavy riffing guitars, pounding drums and wailing vocals interspersed with some guitar virtuoso solos combining melody and amazing technique is all there.
The same issues that I had with the band then are still there too, namely the songwriting. Inconsistent at best you play this album through and enjoy the vibe and the power but afterwards you can't remember any individual songs.
My ears prick up every time there's a guitar solo as David T Chastain really is a fabulous player and there are some great riffing moments such as at the start of 'Deep Down In The Darkness' but overall the material just needs to be stronger.
Verdict: If you are into modern acts like Benedictum and Kobra And The Lotus then I recommend you check this album out and see where this kind of Metal started.
This is good as a taster and introduction for Chastain's body of work but there are better albums in the back catalogue to check out.
I believe that some of the 80s albums are to be rereleased soon so I look forward to reacquainting myself with them.
David T Chastain - guitars
Leather Leone - vocals
Mike Skimmerhorn - bass
Stian Kristofferson - drums