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"The 7th of Never" - a great title for an album in view of its surrealistic element. Everybody has a particular idea of the 23rd of March or the 17th of August, but the 7th of "Never" fires the imagination. The same applies to the detailed front (and back) cover. Its illustration was created by an artist called Guy Aitchinson and he really did a great job. The fascinating picture presents a menacing atmosphere due to its unsettling mix of modernity, dreariness and violence. And it leaves room for interpretation. I am still unsure whether the two heavily armed persons in the centre of the picture are friend or foe.
With regard to the presented music, Leather Leone´s raw and expressive voice plays the key role. In my opinion, she is the prototype of female metal vocalists. Her trademark, the combination of vigour and femininity, is absolutely convincing. Each and every of her screams demonstrates her vocal charisma in an impressive way. You realize how much she is needed when listening to the instrumental "827". It is not a matter of doubt that this song can be rated as good. Furthermore, I acknowledge that it can compete with the majority of the remaining tunes. But it would surely have been better if Leather would have made a contribution to this piece, too. David T. Chastain himself may be a guitar wizard, I am not in a position to judge. However, I mainly respect him for being the songwriter of the nine tracks. There is only one piece where Leather was involved in the songwriting process. By the way, the two remaining band members did not contribute to this creative effort.
The album offers vehement power metal with noticeable ingredients of thrash and speed metal. Apart from Leather´s singing, the harsh riffs and the powerful guitar lines form highlights such as the stomping "Paradise" or the very vibrant title track. Especially the latter follows a fairly thrashy composition pattern. Chastain´s stirring guitar solo at the beginning, the pounding verses, the aggressive and dynamic bridge and the desperate chorus build the musical foundation of this song. It is a worthy title track with a perfect flow, there is no question about that. And it has to be mentioned that the infernal instrumental part with its characterising drum rolls increases the apocalyptic atmosphere in a noteworthy manner. If you want to test the album, I recommend particularly this track. If you do not like it, you might need a doctor... But of course, tastes differ.
It goes without saying that mastermind Chastain did not forget the suitable amount of melodious elements. Nevertheless, the restless attacks gain the upper hand over the playful moments. The powerful and roaring production also contributes to the amazing result. But the most remarkable thing, in my view, is the fact that the album can hardly be compared with other contemporary outputs. It does not fall under a clearly defined category like power metal or speed metal and, furthermore, Leather´s voice represents a more or less unique feature. Without being familiar with each and every output of the band, I know at least their first six albums very well. From my point of view, "The 7th of Never" marks the climax of the first part of their discography. The album triumphs over its predecessors and successors because of the imposing combination of maturity and harshness and this mix remained unsurpassed.
If you want to talk about being a productive heavy metal band on the rise, look no further than Chastain. After consecutively releasing two full-length albums back to back, the band would not stop. The result of this persistence is the group’s third album “The 7th of Never.” After delivering their best effort yet with “Ruler of the Wasteland,” Chastain needed to hit their next record out of the park. There’s definitely some differences between this album and the predecessor, but the talks of which is better go back to the sophomore, as “The 7th of Never” is just a notch below.
The overall sound of the band hasn’t changed much on their third outing, as Leather Leone is still wailing away with her impeccable vocals and David Chastain is still shredding like a maniac. Well, he’s even better than before. David’s lead guitar skills have always been one of the reasons why Chastain is so awesome, but he took his playing to another level for this record. The instrumental “827” is really the only evidence I need that this man is a regular Yngwie with the guitar. Luckily, “The 7th of Never” isn’t just a wankfest for David, as he has plenty of substance (riffs) to go with all of his flashy ability. “Paradise” and “Feel His Magic” have some of the best riffs that have made it to a song on a Chastain record. Also, the chemistry between David and Leone is outstanding on this release, especially on the title track where the riffs and vocals just mesh together perfectly, creating some very memorable moments in the process.
One noticeable change that didn’t sit to well with me, though, was the inclusion of pianos and synths. “The Wicked Are Restless” begins with a piano section, which wasn’t so bad in itself, but it added nothing to the music. The synth parts on “Forevermore” also did nothing for the overall product of the music, other than make plenty of metalheads shake their heads in disapproval. Aside from some revamped guitar abilities and a little less of that “epic” feel the band had before, “The 7th of Never” doesn’t gravitate too far from the album that came before, and it left Chastain on a plateau of sorts. This is still an awesome album, though, so any fan of the band’s previous material should have no problem loving this one.
“The Seventh of Never”
“Feel His Magic”
Originally written for Nightmare Reality Webzine.
"The war to end all the wars"
Chastain is still one of the most interesting bands I've stumbled upon that came from Shrapnel Records. As we all know Shrapnel werealways about the highly virtuous players (guitarists) from the metal scene and David T. Chastain himself is no exception. But just like the debut from Vicious Rumors and the two Chastain albums before this one, there's enough "band" here to create an incredible overall experience. There's no real wankfest to be found here.
I reviewed their previous release Ruler Of The Wasteland close to a year ago and my stance on Leather Leone has not changed one bit. She is by far one of the most powerful female vocalists out there and completely delivers on all levels, in fact I find myself paying attention to her phenomenal performance nearly more than anything else here. Imagine a female equivalent to Mike Howe of Metal Church's fame and you should have an excellent idea about her tone, range, and so forth. Kate French was not a terrible replacement, but hardly knows her profession as well as Leone did.
This album is still very much in a similar vein to their previous two releases, but there are several differences. That evil and dark feel to the whole experience is still definitely there, but its not quite as atmospheric as their debut. Not quite as "epic" you could say. Chastain's guitar playing is still completely top notch and this album is when he starts to bring in more neoclassical influences than ever before, which seems to carry on with their next albums as well. The production is another step up and probably among the best out of their discography. Everything is downright heavy and sharper than a steel blade, giving it a lot of that 80's edge that they ditch years later with For Those Who Dare. Simply put you can tell a lot of work went into this one. Everything is very well polished.
The music itself is again extremely consistent. Its hard to really classify them since they seem to barely find themselves slipping into power metal territory. Its just evil heavy metal that completely works. I'd have to completely agree with the previous reviewer about the instrumental 827; the track starts off a little typical with some shredding but after some given time it breaks into something truly marvelous and creative. Chastain's guitar work on this one is something that puts just about any of Malmsteen's best to shame and for a first its not all about speed. The absolute highlights to this album are the faster tracks, We Must Carry On, Paradise, It's Too Late for Yesterday, and The 7th of Never. Each song marches away with an incredibly catchy pace while Leone brings in those unforgettable choruses, the self-titled track itself is insanely memorable. Besides these tracks the rest are totally awesome as well, very fresh and unique. Forevermore will easily leave you craving for more.
Its pretty fascinating this band has an extremely huge lack of reviews on the archives. They are definitely a band any 80's fan should be able to appreciate at ease. With Leather Leone and the rest of the band they retained this weird dark and evil atmosphere that truly sounds like nothing else out there and that really sets them apart from the norm. Both Mystery of Illusion and Ruler of the Wasteland are just as great as this, but The 7th Of Never is probably the last classic release from the band. The Voice Of The Cult has its moments and is still easily something to get if you are a fan but you can tell their ideas are running out. With For Those Who Dare and on you may as well call them another band. Setting that story aside for another time, this is an instant classic that any metal fan should be able to enjoy.