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CJSS World Gone Mad Reissue

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Thursday, September 10, 2020 @ 12:35 AM

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World Gone Mad

Divebomb Records - 2020

It is well over three decades since the CJSS debut album World Gone Mad was released to the public. Now the album gets its first standalone CD release with the deluxe edition reissue from Divebomb Records!

First things first, I actually own this album on cassette. I can't tell you how I came to own it because I have no idea. All I know is that I have it hanging on my wall in a cassette display rack. And yet, in all honesty I can't say that I've spent much time actually listening to the album over the years.

As I was listening to the album for this review, it was almost like hearing the album for the very first time. And as I did so, I wondered why I hadn't been playing the album regularly. With a lineup featuring the guitar pyrotechnics of David T. Chastain, Russell Jinkens on vocals, bassist Mike Skimmerhorn and drummer Les Sharp, CJSS had a killer set of tunes that sounded about as fantastic as one could imagine back in 1986.

The disc opens with "Hell On Earth" and "No-Man's Land", two breakneck speedy metallic crushers that will immediately get you pumped up.

I'm normally not crazy about bands covering songs by legendary acts but I have to say that the obviously amped-up cover of LED ZEPPELIN's "Communication Breakdown" is a version that I truly enjoyed. It honors the original while at the same time giving the track the band's own little spin on it.

The title track "World Gone Mad" was an apt descriptor of the state of the world when it was originally released and in a disturbing turn of events, the song's lyrics still ring true today.

While the material is uniformly in the realm of heavy metal, I thought the song "Destiny" started out more as a straightforward rock and roll number before growing into more of a metallic song towards the end. Meanwhile, "Welcome To Damnation" is pure rock and roll with a high quality anthemic feel to it.

There's a sense of the epic to "The Gates of Eternity". The song is fast and furious but feels like it is the opening overture to some great tale of empire or something akin to that. There's a sense of sophistication to "Run To Another Day" that really stuck with me as I listened to the album repeatedly. The song has a slower, more restrained vibe before getting into a faster pacing in the middle of the song. There's an extra dimension to the track and each time it comes up as I play the album, I find that I'm drawn into the song.

This reissue comes with a retrospective interview with both David T. Chastain and Russell Jinkens. The interview gives some background leading to the formation of the band and the creation of the album. There's some photos from the archive as well as some reprinted articles from press that appeared at the time of the original release. And by the way, the artwork for the album is fantastic!

And let us not forget the four bonus tracks that are included. It's an eclectic mix to be sure but each of the songs is pretty cool, even in raw form. The best of the songs for me is "Wild In The Streets". But that's not a surprise because the finished version this solidly kick-you-in-the-teeth anthem actually appeared on the band's third and final album Kings Of The World.

While that is my favorite of the four bonus cuts, it by no means diminishes the other three tracks in my mind. "Stand Up (Fight For Your Life)" is a declarative anthem and "Forever Young" is a speed driven blast of fiery metal. And the instrumental "Paradox 13" shines a spotlight on the combined talents of Chastain, Skimmerhorn and Sharp. In the liner notes interview, Chastain gives strong praise to Les Sharp's playing on "Paradox 13".

I can't really explain why World Gone Mad is an album that I have had only a passing familiarity with all these years. It's a little embarrassing when you consider that I absolutely love the Kings Of The World album. But the biggest benefit of the Divebomb reissue program is that I get the chance to rediscover what I've missed out on beforehand.

The world may be going mad, but the debut album from CJSS shines a light on the many and varied talents of a band that features not only one of metal's true guitar greats but a fabulously underrated singer in Russell Jinkens. By listening to this reissue, I've found that World Gone Mad is a stunningly great album that has only gotten better over the ensuing passage of time and metal fans worldwide that haven't already discovered how great the band is really need to learn this fact!

4.7 Out Of 5.0

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