Thirty-one years ago, the band Chastain signed to Mike Varney’s Shrapnel Records on a wave of heavy shredders that made the guitar solo a must-have item. Years later, David T. Chastain re-ignited the molten fires with original vocalist Leather Leone and We Bleed Metal is the second album recorded since Surrender To No One saw them reunite after twenty years apart.
The energy of the record is undeniable, with Leone and Chastain leading the charge across a modern Power Metal landscape. However, it is not an easy record to get into and it does take a number of listens to appreciate how well put together the whole album is.
I am a big fan of this type of classic metal, with its mixture of epic grinding anthems, allied to a sense of theatre and drama. Unfortunately, I actually didn’t much care for the opening track “We Bleed Metal”, which seemed a somewhat forced rallying call with lyrics (although well meant) that didn’t engage me much. Nevertheless, the energy did make me want to listen to the rest of the record and it was uphill from here on in.
“All Hail The King” kicks like a mule on Methadone and Leather’s vocals really carry this galloping grower. I felt the chorus from a mile away and the song is a standout for the album.
The greatest title of any of the tracks is definitely “Against All The Gods”, which is an awesome pun and a fantastic song. The song is almost Pantera-like Groove Metal and the fretwork is tight, surprising the listener by going all acoustic in the latter stages…Nice!
The spirit of Dio is found whispering around the epic “Search Time For You” and you can feel ancient sandstorms ripping through this soundscape. The solos are tasteful and the drumming by Stian Kristoffersen is exceptional, as is also demonstrated on the following track “Don’t Trust Tomorrow”.
The record also features original bassist Mike Skimmerhorn, but, unfortunately, his contribution is somewhat lost by a mix which has (probably rightly so) Leone and Chastain dominating. It is a cardinal sin not to ensure that such a talented bass player is heard higher in the production, but it doesn’t undermine the strength of the album.
Without a doubt, David T. is a very gifted shredder and his work on “I Am A Warrior” is quite amazing. The way in which the solos flow and yet have character is a credit to his tasteful use of the instrument. Strangely, this track reminds me of Dokken circa Back For the Attack, but that is no bad thing in my book.
“Evolution of Terror” features the best drumming of the record, with Kristoffersen absolutely killing his kit with ringing shots on the snare.
Restrained acoustic guitar work ushers in “The Last Ones Alive” and minor key power takes the penultimate song to the edge. The drumming is also superb on this, with much double-bass kicking the backside of the tune to hell and back.
“Secrets” closes the disc with another nod to Last in Line Dio and the guitar creates minor chord chaos with some staccato drumming ramping up the taut semi-Thrash out – breathe!
I enjoyed the latest Chastain chapter with We Bleed Metal, but I’m sure it will grow even more for me after repeated listen!