CD review SHELTON/CHASTAIN ‘Edge of Sanity – ’88 Demo Session’

(10/10) There are releases that are beyond any score or rating. The value of these kinds of releases is far more than what can be summed up to a rate. ‘Edge of Sanity – 88’ Demo Session’ is such an album.

The true value of ‘Edge of Sanity – ’88 Demo Session’ is the fact that it features the cooperation of two excellent metal musicians. Guitar wizard David T. Chastain and Manilla Road’s Mark Shelton drafted some songs back in 1988. The sad news of Mark Shelton’s death earlier this year was like a shock that came over metalheads and fans of epic metal. Listening to this release helps to dry the tears, listening to Shelton’s great voice again, in a new context.

‘Edge of Sanity – ’88 Demo Session’ is a demo, found by Manilla Road bassist Phil Ross, while going through some untitled demo tapes at Shelton’s place. Shelton and Chastain are iconic names in metal and a collaboration of the two must lead to something great and it for sure did.

Things started with Black Dragon Record’s distribution problems for the US at the end of the 80’s. Chastain stepped in and helped to release Manilla Road’s ‘Out of the Abyss’ album via his label Leviathan Records in the US, which was also the beginning of friendship and collaboration.

The album features four songs of which ‘Orpheus Descending’ can be seen as the masterpiece. The song was recorded in an 11 minutes- and extended version (21 minutes), bringing the best of epic US metal to the forefront. Breath-taking.

Unfortunately, the songs on this album stayed in a demo phase, which also means that the drums are done by a drum computer. Furthermore, the sounds are rougher than usual, but still excellent, considering the fact that we talk about 1988 demo tapes. With having this in mind the album is a real highlight with songs that are belonging to the best you can expect from epic US metal. David T. Chastain’s songwriting skills and magic guitar sound, together with Shelton’s rather unique voice is a second to none combination. ‘Edge of Sanity – ’88 Demo Session’ is an album that shows the immortality of music. Nothing more to add.





  1. The Edge of Sanity
  2. Orpheus Descending
  3. Fields of Sorrow
  4. Orpheus Descending (extended)


Label: Pure Steel Records

Genre: Heavy Metal

Release Date EU: October 26th, 2018

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