Chateaux! No, not a white flag waiving French band. These guys were very much British! The second album by Chateaux was 1984’s Fire Power. It was released by the U.K. label Ebony Records (catalog number: EBON 18). Ebony Records was one of the more important indie labels that dealt with British heavy metal in the ’80s. Ebony Records also released albums by the likes of Grim Reaper and Savage.
Chateaux recorded Fire Power as a three-piece. Only one member remained from the lineup featured on Chateaux’s 1983 debut Chained And Desperate; that would be guitarist Tim Broughton.
These days, if you’re looking for a CD version of Fire Power, the entire album was included on a 2003 release called Fight To The Last! The Anthology (along with Chateaux’s two other albums, plus the two tracks from their 1982 single). This 2-CD set was released by Sanctuary Records. Basically, Chateaux’s entire body of work was included in this package.
My Worthless Opinion: Despite the dead and wounded all around them, Chateaux were still soldiers fighting a forgotten, hopeless war in 1984. The New Wave Of British Heavy Metal was no longer “new” in ’84, but Chateaux were still very much fully entrenched in the NWOBHM. In particular, Chateaux had that endearing “do-it-yourself” sound. Fire Power sounds like a basement recording (typical of Ebony Records). This scratchy, grimy sound seemed to fit the scrappy metal of Chateaux. Broughton’s guitar sizzles with white-noise distortion. One envisions frayed, sparking wires and smoking amps. The snare drum thuds instead of pops. Listening to an album like this some decades later, one realizes that Chateaux really had no chance to “make it”. Then again, label mates (and sonic contemporaries) Grim Reaper actually kind of did “make it”, so who knows?
Tracks like Rock And Roll Thunder, White Steel, and Roller Coaster are dirty, infectious rockers. Chateaux also dabbled in the speed game with off-the-rails tracks like Hero and V8 Crash. Overall Fire Power lives up to its name. This is a buzzing, filthy record that is definitely worth a turn or two on the noisemaker. My score: B