CAULDRON
"Chained to the Nite"

(Earache)

01. Young And Hungry
02. Conjure The Mass
03. Chained Up In Chains
04. The Leaven / Fermenting Enchantress
05. Dreams Die Young
06. Bound To The Stake
07. Witch Trail
08. Midnite Hour
09. Chains Around Heaven

RATING: 6.5/10

What a wholesome, family-oriented album cover. Never fear Wal-Mart lurkers, it comes with a handy dandy slip cover. So what's the deal with these Canadians? Well, this ain't GOAT HORN, that's for sure. The trio of bassist/vocalist Jason Decay, guitarist Ian Chains, and drummer Steel Rider (all birth names, of course), collectively known as CAULDRON go all the way retro on "Chained to the Nite", an album that has little to do with the current NWOBHM inspired trend and far more to do with bands like DOKKEN.

Some of you may have heard "Chained up in Chains", the band's contribution to Earache's splendid "Heavy Metal Killers" compilation. Not surprisingly, the song is one of the album's standout tracks with a hooky riff to go with a glossy chorus. Coming in a close second is actually a cover of BLACK N BLUE's "Chains around Heaven". Depending on your point of view, that may not seem to bode well for the rest of the album. That is not necessarily the case here; the rendition just happens to be a perfect choice. The remainder of the disc is not made up of filler and most of it features a fairly effective riff 'n melody based application.

Rather than twin leads and layer upon layer of guitars, on "Chained to the Nite" the CAULDRON guys keeps things relatively stripped down, although the occasional rhythmic departures taken by Decay with his four-stringer work to spice things up. Mr. Chains tears off some wicked solos from time to time as well.

The only real issues are a recording that could use more beef — a criticism that has nothing to do with Neil Kernon's mix — and a vocal method from Decay that needs more oomph. Decay's voice doesn't necessarily hurt the songs and his patterning is sufficient, not to mention generally well suited to the musical approach. It is just that the tunes would benefit from an extra helping of balls in the singing department. I've made the same argument about ICARUS WITCH, so maybe it's just me. Otherwise, "Chained to the Nite" is a decent enough heavy metal album. While it won't knock socks off, it'll elicit some sing-along and air guitar moments.

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