Chastain – The 7th Of Never (Divebomb Records)

Tuesday, 10th February 2015
Rating: 9/10

During the 1980’s, seeking out information about metal bands would be key to developing broader tastes as well as a wider collection of albums. In print magazines, specialty radio shows, and those precious Metal Mania hours on MTV (pre-Headbangers Ball my friends) would be the holy grail beyond raiding your friends wares – and as such led me to an article in Faces magazine back in 1987 for guitarist David T. Chastain. Reading about the man’s prolific writing/recording schedule and obvious neo-classical/mystical tendencies in the metal world, the first album I would buy would be Chastain’s third studio record – The 7th of Never.

Originally hitting the streets in 1987 on David’s own Leviathan Records, Matthew Rudzinski of Divebomb felt the time is necessary for a deluxe edition re-issue of said album – complete with loads of pictures, quotes, special interviews from Leather Leone and David T. Chastain, as well as 2 bonus tracks to sweeten the deal. To those unfamiliar in all things Chastain, this act would be more of his darker, traditional power side of songwriting – imagine a marriage of classic Judas Priest and Metal Church if thrown into the Yngwie J. Malmsteen/Shrapnel Records stable neo-classical blender.

You’ll get a lot of frantic speedy songs with thunderous Ken Mary drumming such as “Paradise” and the tank-like title track charge, as well as some restraint on the nastier “The Wicked Are Restless” plus the 6 minute moody ballad “Forevermore”. David would also deliver a memorable instrumental for the ages in “827” – allowing bassist Mike Skimmerhorn an equal spotlight in terms of displaying his low end prowess. Not to mention the one of a kind vocal ability of Leather Leone – cut from the Ronnie James Dio cloth and given a grittier bite, her highs and manner of phrasing on classics like “We Must Carry On” or “Feel His Magic” are of elite status, as many of my childhood friends would think they were listening to another male soaring to heights they dream of in car ride/concert crooning.

Many when looking at the Chastain catalog consider the predecessor Ruler of the Wasteland the better album (Hammerfall covering “Angel of Mercy” during their time), but I’d wager The 7th of Never stacks up very well in David’s long standing discography. One of the rare metal guitarists in that fluid era that could not only showcase exemplary arpeggio skills – but write some catchy riffs, hooks, and melodies which translate into eternal metal songs. Dig in and enjoy the 1980’s once again.

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