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Review: Shelton/Chastain - The Edge of Sanity - 88 Demo Session
The Edge of Sanity - 88 Demo Session

Label: Pure Steel Records
Year released: 2018
Duration: 42:00
Tracks: 4
Genre: Heavy Metal

Rating: 4/5

Review online: October 13, 2018
Reviewed by: MetalMike
Readers Rating
The Edge of Sanity - 88 Demo Session

Rated 4.29/5 (85.71%) (7 Votes)

Back in 1988 Manilla Road signed with David Chastain's Leviathan Records to give the Out of the Abyss album a domestic release in the U.S. Apparently the collaboration between Chastain and Manilla Road's Mark "The Shark" Shelton went beyond record contracts as this release of demos shows. These tracks were unearthed by Manilla Road bassist Phil Ross while looking for potential bonus material for upcoming Manilla Road releases, something we can hope continues given Shelton's penchant for recording and saving most things he recorded.

The Edge of Sanity 88 - Demo Session is a raw release containing four thunderous tracks; "The Edge of Sanity" (originally on the album Symphonica Millenia by Chastain's Zanister band) and "Fields of Sorrow" along with 12 and 21-minute versions of a song called "Orpheus Descending". The music on this release is significantly heavier than Manilla Road's output up to this point, though it is in line with Out of the Abyss and subsequent albums, hinting at Chastain's influence on Shelton's playing style. Chastain's riffing is harsher and more aggressive, but The Shark's influence can still be heard in the insightful lyrics and epic passages, especially on "Orpheus Descending", which never gets boring even when stretched out to 21 minutes. Chastain and Shelton came from different schools of playing and going in this seems like a pairing that wouldn't work but both musicians obviously had tremendous respect for one another resulting in some fascinating music. For the Shelton vocal aficionado (I count myself in that group), it is great to hear The Shark in his prime.

The Edge of Sanity 88 - Demo Session is a feast for the ears of guitar fans as it combines the thrashy riffing and squealing solos of Chastain and the epic and soulful work of Shelton. This time capsule showcases two titans of 80s heavy metal combining forces and releasing music that is unique and powerful.

Other related information on the site
Interview with guitarist, songwriter and head of Leviathan Records David T. Chastain on November 8, 2018 (Interviewed by MetalMike)
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