Highly Strung

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After debuting with a flawed but promising first album in 1983's Chained and Desperate, Chateaux had taken a step backward with their second, 1984's Firepower. By simplifying their songwriting formulas along the lines of labelmates Grim Reaper and especially the aptly named Savage, they ultimately sacrificed creativity for immediacy, to decidedly inferior results. Sadly, with their third outing, 1985's Highly Strung, they then chose to stay the course, spewing forth another forgettable batch of robotically fist-pumping metallic rockers in the best belated New Wave of British Heavy Metal tradition. Which is to say they were pretty useless. Mind you, a few decent, high-energy riffs sometimes helped better efforts like the title track and "Through the Fire" improve upon their predecessor's equally hapless collection of clunkers, but lyrically, new cuts like "Hot Touch at Midnight," "One Too Many," and "Chase the Sun" (complete with a solo guitar intro that sounds like a poor man's "Eruption") were often even more embarrassing than what came before -- as moronic as metal gets, really (that's, err, pretty moronic!). Consider, finally, that in the absence of any words for the simply horrible instrumental named "Phalanx," Chateaux achieve what may just be the most inconsequential song ever to emerge from English heavy metal, and nothing else need be said about why this album was indeed their last. [Highly Strung was later reissued in its entirety as part of 2003's Fight to the Last anthology.]

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