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CJSS: 2-4-1

Fans of guitar hero metal of the mid-80's will surely remember the string of albums from guitarist David T. Chastain and his band CJSS. World Gone Mad and Praise the Loud are both represented here on 2-4-1 from Lion Music. Comprised of Chastain on guitar, Russell Jinkens on vocals, Les Sharp on drums, and Mike Skimmerhorn on bass, CJSS were a pretty hot band for a few years until the guitarist directed most of his attention to his other band Chastain. Most of the songs here on these two albums are solid guitar oriented metal, not quite thrash, too heavy for hair metal, somewhere along the lines of perhaps early Annihilator. Featuring the lethal riffs and histrionic solos of Chastain, as well as the strong high pitched vocals of Jinkens, both albums contain their share of heavy and memorable rockers.

From the World Gone Made side, some of the highlights are "No-Man's Land" and the crunchy title track, complete with a catchy chorus and rampaging solo from Chastain. David's style was refreshing at the time, as he favored speedy, legato, metallic runs and the occasional whammy bar blast rather than the neo-classical shredding and two-handed tapping that was popular at the time. "Run to Another Day" is a slice of early progressive metal, with plenty of acoustic and electric bombast from Chastain, passionate vocals from Jinkens, and the right amount of moody atmosphere to go along with the heavier moments. The complex riffery of "The Gates of Eternity" complement the pounding rhythms and dark lyrics, and the cover of Zeppelin's "Communication Breakdown" is well done.

The songs on Praise the Loud are a little more lively, a little heavier, and a little faster. Kicking off with the bombastic "Out of Control", the band rocks hard, led by Jenkins' soaring vocals and Chastain's wild guitar pyrotechnics. The guitarist's descending scale patterns leads the rampaging metal of "Land of the Free", while "Don't Play With Fire" is as close to thrash as CJSS gets, and sees Sharp and Skimmerhorn working furiously. The doomy yet majestic "Citizen of Hell" includes some absolutely stunning solos from Chastain, but perhaps the most memorable tune here is the classic "Metal Forever", a raise your fist anthem that was no doubt a headbanging favorite in concert. Those who want to just hear Chastain wail, check out the instrumental "Thunder and Lightning", for plenty of guitar fireworks. Prog-metal fans will also eat up the classy "The Bargain", a lengthy number with beefy riffs, soaring guitar solos, and Jinkens over the top vocals.

With over 20 albums in the Chastain discography, there's plenty to choose from, but these two solid releases from the mid-80's are a good place to start as any. Of the two, Praise the Loud is the stronger and contains plenty of sick guitar work, but both are solid releases and now available in one package. Praise the Loud indeed!

Track Listing
World Gone Man
1. Hell On Earth
2. No-Man's-Land
3. Communication Breakdown
4. World Gone Mad
5. Run To Another Day
6. The Gates Of Eternity
7. Destiny
8. Welcome To Damnation
9. Living In Exile
Praise The Loud
10. Out Of Control
11. Land Of The Free
12. Don't Play With Fire
13. Praise The Loud
14. Citizen Of Hell
15. Danger
16. Metal Forever
17. Thunder And Lightning
18. The Bargain.

Added: June 17th 2006
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Lion Music
Hits: 2629
Language: english

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