Chained and Desperate

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Out of Chateaux's three studio albums, 1983's Chained and Desperate is easily the odd bird of the bunch. Though only their first effort, it was arguably the most ambitious and refined of their brief career (think a second division Tygers of Pan Tang), and was also the only one to feature vocalist Steve Grimmett -- temporarily on loan from labelmates Grim Reaper (though this was barely publicized at the time). Just why this was the case, and exactly how involved Grimmett may have been with the sessions, remains a matter of some debate to this day, but his distinctively gritty high-pitched vocals can clearly be discerned on the convincingly dramatic "Spirit of the Chateaux" (a baby brother to Iron Maiden's "Phantom of the Opera") and several brisk headbangers like "Burn Out at Dawn" and "Straight to the Heart." One can't be so sure about the more plainly melodic voice heard on the mini-epic "The Dawn Surrendered" and "Son of Seattle," but regardless of who was holding the microphone, Chateaux were very obviously guitarist Tim Broughton's band, as the imprint of his precision riffs and hyperbolic solos are splayed across every one of these tracks. They don't always manage to carry the day (detracting from the whole are the senseless and simplistic title track, the clumsy transitions of "Baton Rouge," and the overtly melodramatic "Shine on Forever"), but the fact that he was the only original member still standing by the release of Chateaux's second album pretty much says it all about his dominant position within the band. [Chained and Desperate was later reissued in its entirety as part of 2003's Fight to the Last anthology.]

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