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Share yourself with Leather - 75%

Felix 1666, April 9th, 2016
Written based on this version: 1988, 12" vinyl, Roadrunner Records

After two more or less raw outputs, Chastain decided to appear less harsh on "The Voice of the Cult". They did not shock the audience with a radically new strategy, but I could not see that the sheer fury of previous tracks such as "One Day to Live" or "The 7th of Never" returned. No need to panic, the stylistic refinement was rather a matter of nuances. This means that the typical features of the band were still present

First of all I have to mention Leather's unique vocals. Once again, this incarnation of female power contributes a lot to the success of the album. Due to her raw approach, she appears as a natural force. Leather expresses pure dedication and her voluminous voice would even make an Avantasia album bearable. From my point of view, this is the ultimate award. However, this lady was and still is a real weapon and I don't think that there are many better female singers in the history of heavy metal. (And yes, I am familiar with the warbling of Doro and some other female specialists.)

Apart from Leather's performance, Chastain himself also gives his best. He avoids egocentric guitar escapades, but he also has found a way to be the second force that shapes the overall impression of the output. His sharp riffs, melodic interludes and slightly technical excursions leave their mark. Everything is meticulously composed, but one thing is unfortunately true as well. There are no outstanding songs. They are decent, they are mostly good but they do not have the power to drive you crazy. A certain lack of spectacular moments does not affect the quality of the album massively, but it is sad that the extraordinary touch is missing.

Be that as it may, the band has found a good balance between melody and aggression. No doubt, back in the eighties, posers fell on their knees and begged for mercy when being confronted with this album. But despite some trace elements of thrash metal, the album cannot be compared with pure releases of the sub genre that was defined by albums like "Bonded by Blood". Edgy and hearty power metal, that's the name of the game. Don't think of this kind of power metal with these ridiculous choruses, the nerve-shattering keyboards and the monotonous background choirs. "The Voice of the Cult" is produced by a band that does not lack of integrity. Even the semi-ballad at the end of the B side has more power than a lot of songs of today's power metal clowns. But as a matter of course, the best songs have a heavier approach. The dynamic "Live Hard" shines with a good flow, the melancholic yet powerful "Chains of Love" can rely on its flattening guitar work during the verses and the trenchant yet smooth "Share Yourself with Me" sets the perfect frame for Leather's passionate singing. "Soldiers of the Flame" has brilliant verses and its short instrumental part after the second chorus adds a slightly weird touch. Finally, "Evil for Evil" surprises with drilling guitars after a rather mediocre warm-up period at the beginning.

With regard to these songs, "The Voice of the Cult" was (and still is) a more than decent album, albeit the band did not make full use of its potential. The top position of "The 7th of Never" remained untouched. Nonetheless, "The Voice of the Cult" is worth its money.

Raise Your Hand and Follow the Call - 80%

Nightmare_Reality, August 2nd, 2012

“The Voice of the Cult” is Chastain’s fourth album in four years. After releasing their third assault “The 7th of Never,” you would think that the band might want to start stepping their game up and branching out to achieve a better sound, but that didn’t happen. Instead, this album suffers the same fate that the previous one did. Chastain decided to stick with the same formula that got them where they were, and to be honest, this band just doesn’t have the ability to play the same stuff over and over and be revered as legends. Sure, this release is still awesome and I enjoy re-visiting it when in the mood for some heavy/power metal, but the potential that was found on the band’s magnum opus “Ruler of the Wasteland” was gone, and their chances for topping that album were too.

If you’ve heard the group’s previous album, then you should have a fair idea of what “The Voice of the Cult” sounds like, as a majority of the music here treads on familiar territory, rarely ever attempting to travel down another path. There’s plenty of shredding and melodies to be found in the midst of the solid riffage and Leather Leone’s amazing vocals, which have not lost a beat at all. She’s still got the range and the power she had on the first three Chastain full-lengths and it’s a reason why she’s always being compared to the legendary Mike Howe of Metal Church fame. Like I said before, I don’t really have a problem with the band’s decision to not try and take their sound to another level and sticking with the formula, because tracks like “The Voice of the Cult,” “Live Hard,” and “Chains of Love” are all worth listening to, but it feels like they could have been on any of the other albums before.

Of course, not all of the music here sticks to the same old, same old. There are some cool little nuances that separate the great tracks from the good ones. “Share Yourself With Me” is one of the group’s more aggressive tracks, with its galloping riffage and the performance of one of the best front women in metal definitely gives the song some more anger. “Fortune Teller” has a darker kind of vibe to it thanks to the melodies and riffs throughout, harkening back to the band’s best record “Ruler of the Wasteland,” and “Child of Evermore” features some thrashy riffage reminiscent of Dave Mustaine. “Take Me Home” is the closest thing to epic on this album, and while not quite as mindblowing as some of the band’s previous material, it’s still a quality listen. I will give Chastain credit, because they released three very good albums in a row, which is not an easy feat. “The Voice of the Cult” ranks below the last album and this also the last album the band released that I care for, but fans of old-school heavy/power metal should still have no problem trying to sing along with Leather Leone and air-guitaring to the inhuman David Chastain.

Highlights
“Share Yourself With Me”
“Fortune Teller”
“Take Me Home”

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