Deitrick Haddon and V.O.U.
Chain Breaker

Deitrick Haddon has always had a little something extra —something that makes him stand out from the pack of contemporary Gospel artists. It was evident with the songwriting of his raw 1996 debut Come Into This House, and it was evident with his Deitrick Haddon CDnew soul escapades on 1997’s Live The Life. Now, with Chain Breaker, his fourth project with Voices of Unity (and variations thereof) in as many years, that ‘something extra’ has become even stronger, and threatens to take him into the upper echelon of Gospel artists.

The first half of the album brings lyrically intense and dramatic studio tracks to the table, many of which use sounds and tones not usually found on Gospel cuts. “Totally Sold Out” is a gutsy, distortion-driven, vocoder-heavy anthem, while “Walking Dead” presents a side of Deitrick Haddon influenced by Michael Jackson’s musicality. While they are certainly intriguing, it will probably prove a tough sell getting Gospel announcers slotting them into their rotations.

On the other hand, the duet with John P. Kee, aptly titled “Double Team” (as in ‘double team on the devil’), should get some significant attention, with appealing side-by-side ad libs by the duo over an infectious loop.

The last half of the album is the strongest, and contains the live tracks --Haddon combines with the full V.O.U. choir for maximum effect. The 8 cuts were recorded before his home church congregation at Detroit’s Unity Cathedral of Faith (pastored by his father, Bishop Clarence Haddon), and blend together multiple sounds, including reggae influences (“He Never Fails”), and soulful praise and worship (“We Worship You”). Also prominent are live remakes of hits from his previous projects (“Fire” and “Live the Life”).

With four projects already under his belt, plus numerous guest spots on peer albums of late, Deitrick Haddon can hardly be considered a new artist. Yet, with the curious and sometimes brilliant mix of styles and sounds on this project, it does seem like he’s just begun.

Producer: Deitrick Haddon
album release date: July 27, 1999
Tyscot Records

— reviewed by Stan North —

You can check out the video review for Chainbreaker here

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