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CHASTAIN For Those Who Dare (Reissue)

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Wednesday, December 2, 2020 @ 10:55 AM

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For Those Who Dare (Reissue)

Divebomb Records - 2020

The original 1990 release of CHASTAIN's For Those Who Dare album saw the band getting the bigger promotional push from signing with Roadrunner Records. They even got to film a promo video for the album's title track. I remember being so stoked when I saw the video playing on MTV back in the day.

But the funny thing is that once I heard the album in full, I have to say that I felt a little let down overall. Most of the rest of the material on the album didn't really click with me for some reason. But when Divebomb Records reissued the album back in 2010, I picked up a copy of that to give myself another chance to get into it. Sadly, it still didn't quite sit right with me. In all honesty, I think For Those Who Dare has been the one CHASTAIN album that I play the least.

So you might be wondering why I would go about picking up the 30th anniversary of the album when Divebomb Records gave the band yet another reissued edition of the album. Well, as it turns out, there are two different mixes of the album. There's the Roadrunner Records approved version that was originally released and then there is the mix of the album that the band did. This new reissue gives the band mix its first ever release on CD. Now I'm not sure if the difference in the mix is the sole reason for my rather drastic re-evaluation of For Those Who Dare but it certainly plays a part.

This new edition features slight changes to the album cover art to go along with an expanded and revised interview with both guitarist David T. Chastain and singer Leather Leone. If I'm not mistaken, the interview that was published in the 2010 reissued edition only had the guitarist answering questions. But even more importantly, Divebomb has added two bonus demo tracks to the album.

The lineup that recorded this album features not only David T. Chastain and Leather Leone, but bassist David Harbour and drummer John Luke Hebert. And the "band mix" sure seems to bring out the songs a lot differently, at least to me.

I've always loved the title track so there's little I can add to that so I want to move on to the rest of the material. But I will say that "For Those Who Dare" is one of the quintessential CHASTAIN tracks in my mind.

"Night Of Anger" is both heavy and fast. There's a cool sound to the chorus that is further enhanced by the backing vocals on them. Truthfully, the descriptions of fast and heavy can be applied to a lot of the songs on For Those Who Dare. Tracks like "I Am The Rain" and "Secrets Of The Damned" keep the energy powering the album intensely high.

However, when the music switches tempos to add different dimensions to the songs, there's a lot of stuff to chew on there as well. "Please Set Us Free" still has a lively step to it but there's also a slower feel to take the song to a different level. "Light In The Dark" starts out with a far more deliberate pacing but a minute into the song, things kick into a higher gear before adding a tempo changing solo.

The song "The Mountain Whispers" is one of the cuts that I've enjoyed right along over the decades. It's another track that has a far heavier dimension to its sound. The song does get a bit fiery but shows that same kind of restraint you find in "Please Set Us Free". And I really like the way the vocal performance from Leone flows perfectly in step with the music.

"Not Much Breathing" is pretty heavy while the aforementioned "Once Before" starts with a slow mood setting intro, adds in some nifty guitar from Chastain and then becomes lightning fast for the rest of the song.

The funny thing about the album is the inclusion of the cover of HEART's "Barracuda". I'm really lukewarm at best about this version. There's no denying that CHASTAIN put together a highly metallic and completely revved up version of the song. But I don't think the song works nearly as well this way. In this case, the original version of the song is the way it should always be.

As for the two bonus demos, I have to say that they are quite outstanding. Both songs were written solely by David T. Chastain and I think show off his songwriting ability quite nicely. "Play Their Games" is powered by a relentlessly in-your-face musical soundtrack and what would seem to be some really biting social commentary in the lyrics. Assuming I'm not reading too much into said lyrics, they could still be considered timely even today.

For "I Cast No Shadows", the musical depth to the song gives a sort of epic feel. And I thought the lyrics gave a kind of gothic slant to the track. I know it's a demo song but I thought Leather's vocals were incredible.

Thirty years on is a long time to take in order to develop a fuller appreciation of an album. I've long been a fan of CHASTAIN, so the fact I had issues with For Those Who Dare over the years was kind of sore spot for me. But time has changed things. With this newly reissued "band mix" version, it feels like the best take on For Those Who Dare has finally arrived!

4.5 Out Of 5.0

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