Chateaux

Firepower

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Though they were separated by no more than a year, Chateaux's first two albums were completely different animals: the first arguably as mature as any LP ever released by the modest Ebony label, the second surprisingly plain and unremarkable by comparison. Sure, other than lingering guitarist Tim Broughton, each was recorded by entirely different lineups, but although new singer Krys Mason clearly lacked the vocal chops of the first album's fly-by-night singer Steve Grimmett (who Chateaux had only temporarily borrowed from Grim Reaper anyway), most of the blame for this regression was most likely attributable to a classic case of sophomore slump. After all, like so many bands before them, Chateaux had spent several years composing the songs for their first album, but mere months working on their second, and while trying to break in a new lineup no less. Add to that the relative success of more straightforward labelmates like Savage and the aforementioned Grim Reaper, and chances are good that the band's direction was also dictated in large part by its record company. Whatever the true cause, the fact is that it didn't work out for Chateaux, who proceeded to fill 1984's indicatively titled Firepower with a brace of numbskull New Wave of British Heavy Metal anthems such as "Rock n Roll Thunder," "Roller Coaster," and "White Steel" -- all of them lacking the necessary aggression that was innate to those other bands. Diversions from this formula met with as many negative examples (the plodding boredom of "Run in the Night") as positive ones ("Eyes of Stone" packed a pretty unique riff), so that Broughton's consistently impressive guitar playing wound up being one of the only dependable factors throughout. Hardly enough to salvage this album, however, and Chateaux would have only one more chance to redeem themselves in the studio. [Firepower was later reissued in its entirety as part of 2003's Fight to the Last anthology.]

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