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Chastain - We Bleed Metal

Chastain - CD Review
We Bleed Metal

We Bleed Metal 


CD Info
Album: We Bleed Metal
Artist: Chastain
Label: Leviathan Records
Language: English
Tracks: 9 Total time: 46:05
Rating: 10 of 10


The year 2015 brought us many albums from well-established metal bands who have managed to survive the decadence of the ‘80s, the cynicism of the ‘90s, and the confusion of the 2000s. So many of these legendary bands are still here, still making music and still looking to connect with their longtime fans in a modern world that has seen a lot of changes come and go since their formative years.

But, some things never change, and as it stands with that which is timeless, the most important things survive through all the fads, all the trends, and all the cultural ups and downs. For all the changes in the metal scene over the last 3 decades, the basics still remain unchanged: metal is about expression; about standing up and speaking out when most others would rather sit down and remain silent. It’s about finding a sense of belonging when most places put up the “no vacancy” sign. For many (if not most) metalheads, metal is about more than the music: metal is a way of life, and metal is about remaining true and steadfast in an ever-changing world where nothing stays the same.

Perhaps that is the appeal of the staying power of these bands: that so many of them are still here; that they have managed to stick it out and muddle through every passing phase that has been thrown at them. Because for all the things that metal is, it is also a giant middle finger in the face of every upturned nose, every condescending sneer, and every judgmental eye.

One of the bands that perfectly embodies this attitude to the fullest is Chastain, and frontwoman Leather Leone exemplifies the metal credo to the core. She’s completely fearless, and tells it like it is, no matter what: when metal was predominantly a man’s game, she paid no mind to gender roles or nonsense about what a woman could and couldn’t do; she just opened her mouth and when that voice came roaring out, it shut up everyone else. Same with her musical partner, David Chastain: the most atypical “guitar god” around, Chastain dispels every myth about guitar players, and doesn’t desire glory, fame, or ego-stroking: he seldom gives interviews, doesn’t like touring, and completely shuns the spotlight. Neither of them have fallen into the trap of the “music industry machine”, where other bands in the ‘80s were quick to jump on whatever bandwagon they needed to get on to make a buck. Both he and Leather are musical kindred spirits in that they share the same goal, for all that they have a totally opposite approach: to simply let the music do the talking. This is likely the reason why their music has stood the test of time, because they did not appeal to what was currently fashionable; therefore their signature sound, even now, does not sound dated or out of place in 208, where a good deal of other bands from the era have fallen prey to the struggle of trying to find a way to stay relevant in a world that has gone on without them.

We Bleed Metal is the name of Chastain’s latest release, and it couldn’t be a more fitting statement for a band who has remained so true to themselves and their musical vision.

“We Bleed Metal”: From the second Leather’s voice proclaims those words with that proud, confident, enormous voice of hers, the album begins and it’s a full-on metal assault that throws down and dares you to challenge them. If that’s not enough, David Chastain’s kick-ass guitar solo comes along to whip you into shape!

“All Hail the King”: This is almost a foray into speed metal with its lightning-fast guitar work and equally rapid-fire drums; coupled with Leather’s vocalizations that so perfectly channel the late Ronnie James Dio that you are almost convinced that the Man on the Silver Mountain himself has come down from metal heaven to do a guest spot!

“Against All the Gods”: Between Chastain’s tasty guitar licks and Leather’s commanding voice, if you are not headbanging to this downright metal anthem, you should check your pulse, because you might be dead!

“Search Time for You”: This track kicks off with some guitar work that has almost a Middle-Eastern vibe to it, as well as a touch of almost industrial metal. This is another track where Leather summons her inner Dio to leave you completely spellbound.

“Don’t Trust Tomorrow”: Some lightning-fast guitar work by Chastain and more thrash-type drum work, this is another catchy, anthemic tune that not just requires you to rock out, but insists upon it!

“I am a Warrior”: If We Bleed Metal is the album’s mission statement, then “I am a Warrior” is its battle cry. The melodic guitar part at the beginning is pure power metal harmony, seducing the listener with its intricacy, until you are slapped right in the face with the heavy metal brutality that is Chastain. “I was raised by the fist!”, Leather proclaims loud and proud. And holy shit, Chastain’s guitar solo! “I am a warrior, I’ll fight ‘til the end”: a proud mantra for all metalheads everywhere. Definitely my favorite track on the album, hands-down.

“Evolution of Terror”: The tone of the album gets a little darker, as Chastain’s guitars sound a little more ominous, and Leather’s voice gets a little more wicked. When she sings the line, “it rules the fools”, I am completely convinced that Ronnie James Dio’s spirit has taken over her body just so he could sing that line. Seriously.

“The Last Ones Alive”: Chastain shows off more of his melodic side with slow, lovely guitar work, and Leather’s voice is downright emotional during the beginning of this song. Then the band busts into an all-out metal jam to let you know that even when they do slow harmonies, Chastain never goes soft.

“Secrets”: The final track of the album, and it’s no less fierce for being the last song, either! Unlike the rest of the album, however, this tune carries a slow, heavy groove rather than a fast-paced sonic attack, as Leather’s voice coils around you and slithers into your consciousness. By the time this track and the album ends, you are completely under the command of Chastain; don’t be surprised if you start bleeding metal right then and there.

Overall opinion: For over 45 minutes, Chastain grabs you by the throat and demands your full attention. If you are a fan of good, old-fashioned kick-ass heavy metal that pulls no punches, takes no prisoners, and gives zero fucks, then Chastain is dishing out all you can handle. The musical tag-team of David Chastain and Leather Leone is as powerful as ever, and We Bleed Metal completely blows Surrender to no One (their previous album) away. The last album was fantastic, as I wrote in a previous review, but We Bleed Metal kicks even more ass than that. It’s everything you would expect of an album that calls itself We Bleed Metal: from the title track to “All Hail the King”, “Against All the Gods”, and “I am a Warrior”, the album is filled with fist-pumping, pounding heavy metal anthems that fans will be singing along to and adopting as their own personal metal theme songs. From front to back, they are songs that embody what it means to be “metal” for so many of us: waving that flag proudly and not silencing ourselves when the naysayers would rather that we just “turn that noise down”. Chastain captures that rebellious spirit so perfectly, and packs it all into 9 songs that are energetic, fiery, and completely uncompromising.

Musically, both Chastain and Leather are on their A-game. As a guitarist, David Chastain is so underrated that it should be a crime! He ought to be mentioned in the same discussions as Eddie Van Halen or Yngwie Malmsteen; but few people actually know what a talent he is, and he seems to rather like it that way. That actually says a lot about Chastain as an artist, considering the guitar realm is rather known for grandstanding and over-indulgence; yet Chastain chooses to embrace none of those qualities and keeps right on playing, whether anyone notices or not.

Let us not count out the vocal prowess of Leather Leone, either! I know that I’ve mentioned how much she keeps the spirit of Dio alive in her voice, but honestly, I don’t think I can say it enough. You can’t listen to Leather and ever think she is a Ronnie James Dio clone by any means, but there is something about her vocal delivery and style that almost eerily channels Ronnie through her voice. Sometimes it’s only for a moment or the way she enunciates certain words, but it’s there, and I think Ronnie would be proud. Leather is a bad-ass vocalist all the way around: she has no equals in the business, and while she has her share of admirers and has influenced many amazing vocalists, she cannot be duplicated. There is only one Leather, and you know it when you hear her. You can point to all your metal frontmen that are the poster-boys for the genre, but to me, Leather personifies what metal is all about: she plays by her own rules, does her own thing, doesn’t ask for permission, and doesn’t apologize for it. I daresay you can’t get much more metal than that.

Between the both of them, I would say that both David Chastain and Leather Leone define that metal attitude and spirit: neither of them care to adhere to whatever standards the rest of the world lives by, and they both do things their own way. Perhaps that’s what makes them such an excellent pair. At any rate, it’s apparent that We Bleed Metal could be no more perfect a description for them, and it’s probably why such an awesome album title had not been thought of before by someone else! Chastain takes their music seriously, so you’d better believe that when they say they bleed metal, they damn well mean it.

For more information on Chastain, visit their website