LEVIATHAN RECORDS was originally started in the summer of 1985 by David T.
Chastain and Steve McClure. David had just released a cd, "Mystery of
Illusion" that spring on Shrapnel/Roadrunner and Apollon Records and was
looking for an outlet to release an album by his other group CJSS.
With the overseas success of Mystery of Illusion many European companies
wanted to sign CHASTAIN for the second release. Unable to give them CHASTAIN
since the band was signed for another record to the aforementioned labels,
David said "Hey I have another group that needs a deal". David began the
first of his many foreign licensing deals that has made Leviathan one of the
foremost companies in its field.
Instead of shopping the band to other
companies in the US, David and Steve decided to give it a go with a new
label. Thru connections gained from the release of Mystery of Illusion,
Leviathan was able to acquire distribution thru Important Record
Distributors. (now known as Relativity)
Leviathan was originally put together just as an outlet for David to release
all of his different projects. In 1986 Leviathan released 2 albums from
David's group CJSS "WORLD GONE MAD" and "PRAISE THE LOUD". CJSS played to
numerous sold out shows at Bogart's in Cincinnati and still holds the
attendance record at the club. The band toured the midwest and northeastern
US in the mid to late 80's.
In 1987 Leviathan released CHASTAIN's 3rd album "THE 7TH OF NEVER" and
David's first instrumental cd 'INSTRUMENTAL VARIATIONS." David was able to
license these titles to many different labels throughout the world including
MERCURY RECORDS in Japan.
In 1988 Leviathan Records put out the first of its many non-David T.
releases in CANDLEMASS "EPICUS, DOOMICUS, METALLICUS" and MANILLA ROAD "OUT
OF THE ABYSS." 88 also saw the release of CHASTAIN's 4th cd "THE VOICE OF
In 1989 LEVIATHAN RECORDS made a deal with ROADRUNNER/ROADRACER/MCA RECORDS
for worldwide distribution for all of its titles in 89 and 90. These titles
included: DAVID T. CHASTAIN "WITHIN THE HEAT" & LEATHER "SHOCK WAVES" in 89
and CHASTAIN's 5th cd "FOR THOSE WHO DARE" in 90. The title track of the
CHASTAIN cd was made into a video that was shot in various locations around
Cincinnati including Bogart's and was played numerous times on MTV
Headbanger's Ball and its regular programming.
In the fall of 90 David and
Steve decided to break away Leviathan from Roadrunner due to the fact that
Roadrunner was not selling that many more units per release than Leviathan
had been doing on its own.
1991 saw Leviathan release DAVID T. CHASTAIN's 3rd instrumental cd "ELEGANT
SEDUCTION." Leviathan also released its first regional artist in MICHAEL
HARRIS and his cd "DEFENSE MECHANIZMS." Other 91 release included Kansas
artist MARK SHELTON's "THE COURTS OF CHAOS" and Finland's LARS ERIC MATTSSON
In 1992 Leviathan released a live cd CHASTAIN HARRIS "LIVE! WILD AND
TRULY DIMINISHED" recorded mainly at Bogart's and WVXU's studios in
Cincinnati. 92 also saw the release of 2 Chicago bands ERIC STEEL and
STYGIAN. Leviathan also released a great guitarist from Pennsylvania JOHN
HAHN and his cd "OUT OF THE SHADOWS." Leviathan closed out the year with a
"Best of" cd from DAVID T. CHASTAIN,"MOVEMENTS THRU TIME."
In 1993 Leviathan released local favorites SIMPLE AGGRESSION and their cd
"FORMULATIONS IN BLACK." The band received great press worldwide and shot a
video that received numerous plays on MTV Europe. 93 also saw the release of
guitar great JOE STUMP and his cd "GUITAR DOMINANCE."
With the US market becoming increasingly anti-heavy metal/hard rock
Leviathan was able to secure deals for local Cincinnati and regional artists
such as MARA, ARCH RIVAL, THE MIMI's, NEIL ZAZA, EDWIN DARE and others.
In 1994 Leviathan released David's 4th instrumental, the heavy jazz fusion
cd, "NEXT PLANET PLEASE." Next came The Netherlands' IMPERIUM and their cd
"TOO SHORT A SEASON." Closing out the year was JOE STUMP's second release
"NIGHT OF THE LIVING SHRED." 94 saw David moving to Atlanta and moving
Leviathan's headquarters also. Steve remained in Cincinnati to handle many
of the administrative duties.
In 1995 Leviathan released local artists FULL CIRCLE and their blazing cd
"NEGATIVE." CHASTAIN, the band, came out with its first release since 90
with the much heralded "SICK SOCIETY" with new vocalist Kate French.
96's releases included SIMPLE AGGRESSION's
"GRAVITY," JOE STUMP's "SUPERSONIC SHRED MACHINE," MICHAEL HARRIS's "EGO DECIMATION PROFILE" and
Leviathan's first foray into contemporary jazz with saxophone/keyboardist
RANDY VILLARS and his cd "LEVELS."
1997 saw Leviathan domestically release the 7th CHASTAIN cd "In Dementia" which still remains as one of David's favorite Chastain albums. This cd has been received very positively worldwide.
98 brought DAVID T. CHASTAIN's all acoustic instrumental "ACOUSTIC VISIONS." This all instrumentl release showed David's amazing versitality. That release was quickly followed by JOE STUMP's 4th instrumental, the very intense "RAPID FIRE RONDO." This cd is a must for all lovers of shred guitar!
The fall of 98 brought the release of KenZiner featuring the very talented Finish guitar master Jarno Keskinen. An amazing recording.
99 saw the re-release of the classic CJSS recordings "World Gone Mad" and "Praise the Loud" on one Cd called "2-4-1." ZANISTER, a group featuring guitarists David T. Chastain and Michael Harris, was hailed by some critics "As the best heavy metal album ever released" on their debut recording "Symphonica Millennia."
Leviathan kicked off the new millennium with the debut release from SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN and their heavy blues rock release "Exotic Dancer Blues." This Cd
received high praise from rock critics around the world. David T. made his vocal debut and burns up the guitar in another style. Leviathan Records produced and licensed the new Kenziner recording "The Prophecies" to numerous labels around the world including Metal Blade in the US.
In 2001 Leviathan Records had 3 new releases:
ZANISTER "Fear No Man"
DAVID T. CHASTAIN "Rock Solid Guitar"
JOE STUMP "2001: A Shred Odyssey"
2002 Leviathan released:
FIREWIND "Between Heaven and Hell" featuring new guitar wiz Gus G.
JOE STUMP'S REIGN OF TERROR "Conquer and Divide"
2003 was a big year for Leviathan Records.
MICHAEL HARRIS "Hurricane X"
SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN "Double Your Pleasure"
and reissues of:
DAVID T. CHASTAIN "Instrumental Variations"
JOE STUMP "Guitar Dominance"
(Both have been remastered and repackaged in 2003!)
FIREWIND "Burning Earth"
2004 saw the return of the mighty Chastain with:
IN AN OUTRAGE! The band's first new release since 1997. The band also shot a great video for one of the tracks "Bullet From A Gun."
Also CHASTAIN "The 7th & The Voice" was released. The classic Chastain Cds "The 7th of Never" and "The Voice of the Cult" on one CD!!!
Vainglory's guitarist Corbin King released an amazing instrumental Cd called "Destination." Joe Stump also released a similar instrumental call "Armed and Ready."
2005 saw the release of the great new band Kinrick that features Corbin King on guitar as well as x-Firewind vocalist Stephen Fredrick.
Joe Stump released the double disc "Shredology." This was a first for Leviathan Records. An actual double disc release. The first disc was Joe's favorite tracks from the previous releases. The second disc was the legendary live recording "Midwest Shredfest."
2006 saw the release of Southern Gentlemen's third Cd, "Third Time Is The Charm." New band members vocalist Eric Johns and bassist Dave Swart makes this band a major force!!
2007 saw the release of David T. Chastain's first all new studio instrumental in 10 years in "Countdown to Infinity."
Leviathan Records artists' music was also showing up regularily on the following networks: NBC, ABC Family, Discovery, USA, MTV, VH1, A&E, Biography, National Geographic, History Channel, Discovery, Discovery Health, CMT, Travel Channel, Animal Planet, Bravo, HGTV, VSPOT, Disney, SCI-FI and Spike TV. Plus a few foreign networks and a Nike commercial.
2008 saw Southern Gentlemen release their 4th Cd "Valley of Fire." For the first time in the band's history, the band members stayed the same.
2009 David T. Chastain released "Heavy Excursions." This Cd was a compilation Cd of some of David's favorite Heavy Instrumental Tracks he had recorded over his career.
Southern Gentlemen released "Instrumentalized" which was instrumental versions of some of the band's tracks. These all instrumental versions rocked all on their on!
2010 was known as the year of the reissues. Many titles were reissued with new digital masterings and some with new artwork. Reissued titles include:
CHASTAIN "The Reign of Leather"
CHASTAIN "In An Outrage: The Heavy Mix"
Cincinnati Improvisational Group "Freeform Free For All"
And many, many more. Check within the site for all the info on the reissues.
2011 brought the two SOUTHERN GENTLEMEN compilation releases "The Early Years" & "Playing for Pennies."
In celebrating our 25th year in business we released the "25 Years Of Guitar Instrumental Madness" featuring some of the best guitar instrumental music ever!
2012 saw the release of quite a few compilation titles as well as one new one, CJSS "The 7 Hills Demo." Compilation releases included the David T. Chastain titles "Progressive Metal Axiom," "Fusion Delusion" and "Neoclassical Compositions No. 1." CHASTAIN "Wicked Riffs 8790" an instrumental collection of some of the band's best tracks." Also the Kenziner collection "The Absolute Best Of."
We continued to place our music on 100s of TV shows as that became more of a focus for the label than commercial releases which was declining due to the Cd becoming less and less a viable entity.
2013 saw the reunion of David T. Chastain and Leather Leone and the release of their first new studio album since 1990 with the album "Surrender To No One." This return to the original "Chastain" was a hit with both fans and press. The band released numerous videos with this release.
2014 the CHASTAIN band released "Surrender To No One: Uncut" which was the album unedited and its full original length.
In 2015 CHASTAIN returned with the same lineup and released the amazing "We Bleed Metal" that has turned into one of the favorite CHASTAIN albums of all time.
In 2017 Leviathan Records released "Chastainium." The first collection of CHASTAIN tracks from all of the Leviathan Chastain releases. This all encompassing release is like a Chastain history lesson. Also Southern Gentlemen released 2 singles, with one doing surprisingly well in Japan. Also CHASTAIN released "We Bleed Metal 17." As far as we know the first of its kind in Metaldom. The Vocals and Drums stayed the same from the original but the guitar and bass tracks were totally new music. 100% new music. Southern Gentlemen "Exotic Dancer Blues: Sweet 17" was reissued on its 17th birthday was a complete new remastering and 2 Bonus Tracks! Late in 17 brought the classic CHASTAIN reissue "The 7th of Never: 30 Years Heavy!" Remastering the music to sonically compete with today's heavy hitters.
There was also a great write up about Leviathan Records at www.Maximummetal.com that says:
Anyone who is anyone in the metal community should know the legendary David Chastain. With albums like "Mystery Of Illusion", "Ruler Of The Wasteland", and "Voice Of The Cult" under the moniker of Chastain, the mid 80s power metal scene simply boomed. Along with David's contributions with the Chastain releases, he also sparked a metal movement with the popular, yet underground CJSS group, releasing gems like "World Gone Mad" and "Praise The Loud". If those aren't big enough accomplishments throw in a solid solo album or two, his work with Zanister, his songwriting with Kinrick, his booming production on Firewind, well I think you get the general idea. This guy leaves and breathes heavy metal, really helping to create a solid heavy metal force here in the US.
Leviathan Records is owned and ran by David Chastain, and with his label releasing some of the finest guitar oriented metal, the world is just a happier heaven for denim and leathernecks worldwide. As a label David has picked up stellar acts like Firewind, Zanister, Kinrick, Reign Of Terror, Vainglory, Kenziner, Southern Gentlemen, and his very own Chastain just to name a few. Along with quality bands comes the quality musicians. In comes heavyweight roster additions like Joe Stump, Corbin King, Michael Harris, and John Hahn. Leviathan is really driven by shred, classic heavy metal, power metal, and the always sparkling neo-classical blend. This is a rather unique home and one that really has a tremendous future considering the talent that roams its halls.
So there you have it, a good idea of what Leviathan Records has in store for you. A label, and of course a detailed website documenting each and every musician on the label. The site is easy to navigate with informative content that isn't too messy on the eyes. This is just a great company ran by great people. Give them a try if you are a serious guitar virtuoso looking to take your game to the next level, or if you simply need some roaring, heavy metal entertainment to blow your speakers. www.leviathanrecords.com
Leviathan still hopes to grow with the times and diversify into music that it
truly believes .
P.O. Box 745
Tyrone, GA. 30290
E mail: general at leviathanrecords.com