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“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.
“Share Yourself With Me”
“Take Me Home”
Originally written for Nightmare Reality Webzine.