DAVID CHASTAIN, has been an influential 80’s guitar hero, everyone knows that. Well it is a fact that I adore his personal albums with the legendary LEATHER LEONE on vocals, but how can I ignore CJSS?
Well CJSS has been another CHASTAIN project (as well as his instrumental albums) and were formed in the mid 80’s, as an evolution of the band SPIKE. Among David Chastain, CJSS featured Mike Skimmerhorn, Les Sharp and Russell Jinkens (from the band PRIZONER), all of them streetwise musicians with years of experience. CJSS did two albums before the members move forward to other projects. I also have to add that CJSS were re-united for a brief time in 00’s for a third album.
Divebomb records reissued the first two CJSS albums, so here is a great chance to experience some CJSS magic for one more time (or for the first time if you still have not heard those classics).
“World Gone Mad” is the band’s first album, a direct heavy album overtly influenced not only by the music of SPIKE but also from classic bands like HAWAII, DEUCE, THE RODS, VICIOUS RUMORS, early RIOT and early MANILLA ROAD (obviously since Chastain and Shelton have been close acquaintances), which means that the songs have a direct classic Metal / Hard Rock vibe witch is given prominence by Jinkens stellar vocal work.
There are also more than obvious influences from the CHASTAIN band, especially in the virtuoso neoclassic guitar work but the band seems to focus mostly in writing memorable tunes. Thus, songs like “Hell on Earth”, “Destiny”, “World Gone Mad” or “Welcome to Damnation” have a more commercial / direct -still guitar oriented- vibe, sounding straight and catchy, while songs like “No Man’s land” (which features a magnificent neoclassic intro, typical for Chastain), “The Gates of Eternity” or the power ballad “Run To Another Day”, sound more complex, featuring a more distinctive prominent guitar work. Of course I must refer to the great cover on the LED ZPPELIN classic, “Communication Breakdown” which is in my opinion one of the peaks in this particular album.
The songwriting is stellar: Chastain effortlessly composes songs that balance between Power / Heavy /Virtuoso/ Neoclassic Metal; however, it is the teamwork that gives each song its final shape. As I mentioned earlier Jinken’s vocals clearly stand out: without being phenomenal, he manages to imbue passion and feeling to each song, sparkling them with life.
“World Gone Mad”, is a flawless album, both very typical of its era, yet unique in its very own way. Every fan of early U.S. power metal should not miss this one.
The album’s reissue includes detailed liner notes and interview with Chastain plus tons of worth checking info about the album. I should of course refer to the bonus tracks -four this reissue-: songs that couldn’t make it to the original album: great little masterpieces. Divebomb Records has done a magnificent job for one more time.
Well this reissue is a must buy without any second thought. Chastain fanatics: go out and grab it while it’s hot!
You can read the discussion about the CJSS reissues on our forum pages.
Some CJSS airplay on our radio show: