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CJSS Praise The Loud Reissue

By Jay Roberts, Massachusetts Contributor
Monday, September 21, 2020 @ 10:33 AM

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Praise The Loud
Divebomb Records - 2020

Originally released just months after the band's debut album World Gone Mad in 1986, the 2nd CJSS album, Praise The Loud, showcased an even heavier sound than their first release. This made the album a bit of an adventure for me as I listened to it for the first time ever.

The marked difference in how this album sounds in comparision to World Gone Mad initially caused me to have kind of a negative feeling towards the album. But as I played the album a few more times, coinciding with reading the interview that is in the deluxe edition's liner notes, I figured out why I wasn't crazy about Praise The Loud on that first spin of the disc.

Guitarist David T. Chastain stated in that interview that the first album had a cleaner sound to the material while the second album had a much heavier (and less clean) sound. It might seem something that would be too subtle for the casual fan to pick up on, but apparently I did.

Thankfully, the notion of listening to an album a few times before writing a review paid off because it turns out that once I adjusted to the tonal change in how the music sounded, there's a ton of stuff here that I got to sink my teeth into.

The album once again features singer Russell Jinkens (who co-wrote a lot of the material with Chastain), bassist Mike Skimmerhorn and drummer Les Sharp. The sound they create may be heavier this time around but the sonic landscape they create is energetic from start to finish.

The lead track "Out of Control" is heavily in-your-face tempo wise. The lyrics don't break any literary molds or anything but it does get your hyped up for both the song itself and what is to follow.

Most of the songs on the disc follow in the hard and fast tempo. "Land of the Free", the instrumental "Thunder And Lightning" and "The Bargain" are all perfect examples of this.

I ended up enjoying the ear-ripping pieces the most. A song like "Don't Play With Fire", that took a fantastic vocal turn by Jinkens and a great musical soundscape and combined them both into a relentless attacking track was a great sell to me. "Metal Forever" is an anthemic salute to metal music and I would guess the fans of said music. It follows that relentless style too.

I think the only song I didn't really like much was "Danger". It's a speed demon in terms of how fast and furious the song plays out but it just didn't come off that interesting to me for some reason.

The album's title track was another powerful adrenaline-filled anthem. For all the electric fury of the album's fastest and heaviest songs, the song that ended up being quite intriguing to me was "Citizen Of Hell". It's very heavy and at times makes use of a slower tempo that gives the track a showcase kind of feel to it.

This new reissue of the album comes with the booklet featuring that interview I alluded to earlier. It also has some reprinted articles that might make for interesting reading if the type font had been a little bigger.

There's also four bonus track demos that I found to be immensely appealing additions to the album. "Sands of Time" is another in a line of fast paced tracks but there's a little something extra to it that had me thinking it had an almost literary feel to the lyrics and the performance of the song as a whole. "There's Truth In The Fire" was pretty quick-stepping as well but there's a notable feeling of restraint at the same time. I liked the instrumental "Movement QP827" a lot because much like "Paradox 13" from the World Gone Mad reissue, it showcased the band as a unit without the vocal presence to break things up and Chastain, Skimmerhorn and Sharp are immense on the track. Also notable was how the song ended since during the music during the outro of the song sounds familiar to me for some reason, though I can't place where I might've heard it before. Is it possible that this part of this song was salvaged and put into another CJSS or Chastain song? Maybe, I'll have to look around my collection to find out.

The most surprising of any song was the last bonus demo track "How Long". There's a far looser feel to the song and it actually plays more like a straight up rock and roll song than a metal one. The fact that there's a great chorus that you can actually hum and/or sing along to makes me think that it could've been a pretty successful song in terms of attracting a much bigger audience for the band had it been released back in the day.

Yes, the first time through the album gave me a little bit of a pause because of the dramatic shift in how the music was presented. But I got over it and I got with the program. This allowed me to discover that the CJSS album Praise The Loud not only has the "loud" part in spades but is also quite worthy of a whole hell of a lot of praise too!

4.6 Out Of 5.0

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