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Saint Chaos – Nothing is Forever

Saint Chaos
Nothing is Forever
by Rachel Montgomery at 28 May 2019, 2:05 AM

SAINT CHAOS has been going strong since 1990 and honestly, when I first listened to this album through, I was going to say something snarky like “it really shows.” However, there’s a reason their latest album seemed to be stuck in the last days of hair metal, right before Grunge broke out and dominated the rock scene. These are their unreleased demo tapes form 1990-1992; that’s also the reason why there’s a whopping 15 songs on the album. To sum-up: if you’re into demos, finding rare musical gems, and into the late 80's power-metal aesthetic, this is worth checking out. Rather than go through the tracks one-by-one, I’m going through and picking out some of my standouts, including the opening and closing tracks. The opening track, “Nothing is Forever” is a slow climb built from broken chords that climaxes into an 80's style thrash track. It’s a solid song for its day and worth checking out.

The next few tracks are similar, with fast melodies, thrashing riffs, and great, clean vocals.  Most of the demo songs fit a late 80's/early 90's aesthetic, reminding me of bands such as MOTLEY CRUE, POISON, IRON MAIDEN, and MAN-O-WAR. As demos, I imagine that most of these songs were made to capture the attention of record labels with simple lyrical themes (a lot of lyrics on this album revolve around seduction and jealousy, standard love-song themes, plus some partying). Musically, I enjoyed the riff and key changes in songs like “Turn on You.” It kept the music fresh and helped it stand out against more mainstream fare.

Their slower songs, like “Living in This Misery,” could have been a little punchier or more melodic, but that could have been remedied if the song went into production under a label. I liked the guitar techniques in the song, and again, the melody changes to keep the song interesting. This song makes me question what audience the song was made for. As a creator, you hope anyone picks you up (speaking from experience), but it made me wonder if they wanted their album to be listened to by a mainstream metal audience, or by fans who still latched on to 80's power metal.

Another reason I wonder is the timing. In the early 90's, mainstream rock flipped from hair metal to grunge, and in mainstream metal circles, thrash was at its peak. The musical style, in hindsight, seems to have come a little too late to hit big. I wondered if there was a hint of satire in the style, especially when listening to the parodic beginning of “God Song.” But I decided against it when I listened to the closing song, “Waysted Daze.” A party anthem, I enjoyed the bluesy riffs at the end and would have loved to hear a better-produced version.

Timing-wise, if they took their songs in the direction of “Cemetery Gates” by PANTERA, it would have been true to their style and I could see it hitting big. As for the album itself, it’s hard to judge a collection of demos from 1990 to the same standard as a new album. While I’m not a fan of 80's-sounding power metal (I think it’s been done to death and I want to see more variation), I imagine what these demos could have been, and some of them could have been solid, memorable hits. For what it is, the production is solid, it was a very memorable find, but on most of the demos, I believe they stayed too much in an old style.

Songwriting: 7
Originality: 7
Memorability: 10
Production: 7

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Nothing is Forever
2. Don’t Wanna Be Alone
3. Die for You
4. Turn on You
5. Captured by You
6. Here for You
7. Pressure
8. Living in This Misery
9. Come Back Strong
10. Hellfire
11. God Song
12. By Myself
13. Under Control
14. Wicked Impact
15. Waysted Daze
Lineup:
Justin Sane - Vocals
John Farley - Guitars
Steve Blaisdell - Bass
Bob Gaylo - Drums
Record Label: Arkeyn Steel Records
     


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Edited 23 July 2019
 

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