Reviews like this make me think that I am getting older, or at least that I have spent -or should I write “wasted”-, a serious amount of years inside the Metal realm, actually taking notice the reshaping status of some specific bands and their legacy, as the years go by.
I got in touch with the music of CHILD SAINT from Orange Country, California, US, somewhere around the late 90s, through a CD-R that included the two songs of their 1988 EP and no other info. I was amazed by the pompous and dark shaded US Heavy / Power Metal that I was able to listen through those songs. Two epic compositions –“I am the Future” and “Child Saint” that presented an obscure type of Heavy Metal, quite distanced from the stereotypical formulas of similar bands of the era -and area-.
The years were passing and as I was able to obtain an internet connection I was starting to discover some information about the band somewhere between the realm of fact and fiction. Those who know what I am talking about would sure remember the classic story behind the band’s same titled track that wants its main riff to have been composed by DAVE MUSTAINE himself. Taking note of such info, my main focus still remained in the music as I was trying to locate a copy of the EP for myself. There were some copies of it becoming available during a specific time point on the local -Greek- collectors market but I finally managed to trade it with a Swedish guy offering a still sealed copy of “Trenton City Murders” EP by TANTRUM from New Jersey, US -for a still sealed copy of the “Child Saint EP”-.
We are around 2006 and the band enters in a sort kind of re-activation releasing the “Live in Los Angeles” live CD-R. The band’s drummer Gary Schultze, discovers my Forgotten Scroll review on the classic 1988 EP and emails me to thank me. This way I was able to interview the band for the fourth issue of FORGOTTEN SCROLL Zine.
Yes of course I am wasting a good amount of this review’s space to refer to some personal stories behind a specific band / release, focusing on the quest for music and information. It is because I want to emphasize on the importance of this very specific reissue on Lost Realm Records, that finally gathers all the band’s existing material. It took me almost a decade to shape a clear frame with music and information about this magnificent band from California. The process involved cheap CD-Rs on the mail plus packages including vinyl from Sweden, plus more packages featuring CD-Rs from US and a dozen -or two- of emails as I was trying to separate the fact from the fiction. What took me almost 10 years, would only take a pre order link for you, thanks to Lost Realm Records. Oh yes, it is the great amount of effort, patience and hard work that people on reissue labels are spending nowadays, making it as easy as a mouse click, to get in your front door music that was very hard or even impossible to be tracked down in official or unofficial forms. Lost Realm is one of those labels and I count this specific reissue as one of the most important in their catalog.
The reissue comes on a double CD plus DVD combo. The first CD is consisting of the band’s complete studio recordings.
Those studio recordings are capturing all the band’s three recording periods -periods that are divided thanks to the three different singers that recorded with the band through various time points-. Singers were changing but the rest of the line up remained the same. Steve Hardin on bass, Gary Schultze on drums, Brian Scott on guitars and John Spectre on guitars.
First of all there is stuff that was sung by Rudy Grey (“Maid of Metal”, “To Die in the Sun”). Those songs were recorded back in 1985, at Headway studio, together with “The Voyage” which is a great instrumental piece. For the history I have to point that those recordings were released on a demo tape back in 1985. An early version of the “Child Saint” track was also included. The tape was spread to the local radio stations -it was not for sale on shows- and the band took the usual airplay. You can check a recorded radio show from 1985 featuring three of those early demo tracks, here.
There is also material featuring Bob McCormack on vocals. Bob has sung on the two EP classics –“Child Saint”, “I am Future”-, that were recorded back on 1988 at Headway studio and are of course included on this particular reissue. He has also nailed vocals on “The Horsemen” track (which was recorded at PASHA studio in Hollywood in 1988).
Mentioning the McCormack recordings, I want to make a special reference to the actual “Child Saint EP” because I am already hearing you asking about the number of copies made. So there were 500 copies produced on the vinyl pressing plant. 300 of those copies were actually burnt in a fire, so yes the “destroyed copies in a fire” story you have been hearing for years, is actually true. This is one of many reasons why this particular EP has became so rare through the years. At this point I should also say, that there would be no actual EP ever made without the support of Rick Rayl (Raylway Rock Management). Rick Rayl played a very important role in the band’s history. He was actually a co-creator of CHILD SAINT along with John Spectre and Brian Scott. He produced the initial 1985 demo recordings and the 1988 EP recordings and he financed the EP’s recording and vinyl pressing process. He was the manager of the band on all the phases of their career, still taking care of things -even about this reissue-. So extra kudos should go to Rick Rayl. He is handling the magic sword of the Child Saint!
So let’s get back on the reissue studio tracks. Finally there are five songs featuring Tim Winchester (who was also one of the band’s 3 primary singers). Tim returned back in action and recorded some vocals especially for this reissue just a few months ago (2021). Tim’s Son Shayne Winchester did backing vocals and was the recording engineer for his own Dad to finish 3 songs that originally had no vocals: “Wrath of Man” (a track that was also recorded at PASHA studio, back in 1988 -same session as the “Horsemen” track), it now comes completed featuring fresh -2021- vocals by Tim Winchester and lead guitar parts by very special guest Steven Stetzel-. Tim also recorded some fresh vocals for the “Blood for Gold” and “Persecution” songs. Those two pieces were unfinished tracks -as per vocals- that were recorded back in 1989. It seems that now Tim has finished the job the best possible way. Oh yes I have to point that the performance on those three 2021 vocal recordings is amazing. There is some more Tim Winchester vocal heaven for you to check out: I am referring to the “Lose to Win” and “That was Then” tracks that came from the very same 1989 session as the two previously mentioned ones. Tim actually completed the vocals on those two back in 1990, when he entered the band. Fortunately this material was saved and we can hear some early 90s Winchester (together with those amazing 2021 takes)!
We got 11 studio songs in total, most of them unreleased. If you are one of those that simply worshiped the songs of the 1988 Mini LP you will be in heaven. I have to point IRON MAIDEN, ANGELWITCH -debut album- plus various similar European -and mainly UK- bands of the early-mid 80s era as basic influences on the CHILD SAINT’s sound. However those influences are mainly working as starting points as the final result on those originals carries a very special and unique sonic trademark.
We have similar cases where US Heavy Metal bands were evolving their European influences in order to generate a special US Heavy Metal sound of their own –CULPRIT from Seattle, Washington, US is a good example and I have to point that there are some similarities on CULPRIT’s and CHILD SAINT’s sound-, but let me please add that CHILD SAINT are really taking this overall process to the very next level. “Maid of Metal”, “To Die in the Sun”, “Blood for Gold”, “Wrath of Man” and “Lose to Win” are already sounding as instant classics to my ears.
The second CD of the reissue features the stuff that was included on the infamous “Live In Los Angeles” CD-R that the band released back on 2006 as I have already pointed. This is basically a complete CHILD SAINT concert that was recorded at The Waters Club, San Pedro, California, May 21st 1988. The show features the classic CHILD SAINT line up plus Bob McCormack on vocals.
Hearing those live recordings someone can witness all the power and energy that the band had on stage plus the overall vibe of an 80s Heavy Metal live -you can hear the crowd reactions and all the good stuff-. On the DVD that comes with the reissue we can watch the video footage of this very same show and let me say that it really rocks. “The Darkling” and “Pirates of Time”, are two more unreleased songs that can be heard on this particular live recording. Let me add that there are live versions of the most studio tracks that are featured on the reissue’s first CD.
I have to add that an amazing job has been done on the remastering process of the mentioned audio material. Jeff Mount at SessionWorks Studio, in Hurst, Texas, US, really offered a phenomenal sonic result. The overall remastering process was supervised by the band so you can expect only top quality in here.
The booklet that completes the 2CD and DVD packaging is huge. In 24 pages it includes an extensive biography, lyrics and rare photos.
I would like to close this review with some lines that André Scaramanga from Lost Realm Records point on the reissue’s press kit:
“Heavy metal traditionalists, US Metal enthusiasts, loyal vinyl collectors, they’re all well acquainted with CHILD SAINT, and it’s not just because of the rarity of their 1988 EP, or the excellent live performances they delivered. No! This band reminds us, once again, that the best don’t always win in the music business. How far could they have gone? The vicissitudes inherent to life didn’t give us an answer to that question. However, we hope this anthology can bring a glimpse of what might have been.”.
I think that the above paragraph explains very well the overall case of CHILD SAINT. A talented band and the legacy of their amazing music. Music that can be described as a real treasure, a treasure which is now available for everyone, thanks to this outstanding reissue.
The CHILD SAINT – Anthology will be released on January 24, 2022. You can order it here.
You can check the discussion about the CHILD SAINT – Anthology on our forum pages.
There is more CHILD SAINT stuff on the forum.
Here is some CHILD SAINT airplay on an older radio show of mine, which is archived on mixcloud.