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In the Head of the Storm - 86%

Nightmare_Reality, August 1st, 2012

Just by glancing at the album art, you can probably tell what you're getting yourself into when it comes time to listen to "Ruler of the Wasteland." This is epic heavy/power metal of top form with plenty of Judas Priest and Maiden worshiping going on. Chastain is a band that is for some reason, not as popular as they should have been. I rarely ever see mentions of this band on the internet and I stumbled across them by accident myself, but I'm fucking glad that I did. The band's first record "Mystery of Illusion" honestly isn't anything worth writing home about, as it's solid, but it just can't compete with this greatly improved sophomore album, a record boasting epic atmospheres, catchy hooks and fantastic melodies throughout.

"Ruler of the Wasteland" starts off with the title track and immediately the listener is grabbed by the shredding solos and the catchy Judas Priest-inspired riff that follows. But then the vocals come in, and I'm sure if I didn't tell you or you didn't look it up yourself, you would never guess that Chastain was fronted by a female in Leather Leone. Her vocals are plenty aggressive (well, as far as power metal goes. Think David Wayne of Metal Church), but there are also plenty of moments where she hits the real high notes and she does so with the greatest of ease. The range of Leone's vocals is a definite highlight on this album, as it provides the listener with some added variety to the already varied music. Some of the tracks are typical power metal tunes that feature typical riffage and shredding solos galore, with "One Day to Live" and "Fighting to Stay Alive" being the main ones to follow this archetype. Tracks like "The King Has the Power" and "There Will Be Justice" travel a more unorthodox route, using the bass as the focal point of the music at points and mixing in the acoustic sections with the rest of the music, but the songs are fine nonetheless.

Of course, I said Chastain has their epic material and that's really when they're at their best. "Angel of Mercy" is the best track on "Ruler of the Wasteland" with its chilling intro, terrific riffs, stellar melodies and solos, and of course the soaring vocals that top everything off. I guarantee this song will be stuck in your head for a while. "Living in a Dreamworld" and "The Battle of Nevermore" are also pretty epic in their own right, though they just can't measure up to the brilliance of "Angel of Mercy" (Then again, that would be asking too much). "Ruler of the Wasteland" is just another awesome album that came out in the year where so many masterpieces were released that it unfortunately got lost in the shuffle, but that's no reason to doubt the top-notch material here, so check out Chastain immediately or heads will roll...

Highlights
"Ruler of the Wasteland"
"Angel of Mercy"
"Living in a Dreamworld"

Originally written for Nightmare Reality Webzine.
nightmarerealitywebzine.blogspot.com