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CJSS - 'The 7 Hills Demo' http://www.rocktopia.co.uk/media/reviews/photos/thumbnail/200x200s/b8/da/fb/cjss-the-7-hills-demo-9-1371351307.jpg Hot

Added by Central Electronic Brain     June 16, 2013    
 
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A collection of demos that didn’t make it onto either of the initial CJSS offerings.

Back in the mid 80s Shrapnel Records boss Mike Varney agreed to sign a certain burgeoning guitar talent called David T. Chastain to his label on one proviso. That he ditched the singer and drummer of his then outfit CJSS. David did just that (kinda), with a new line-up being created for the band simply called Chastain. However CJSS, who were rounded out by Russell Jinkens (Spike/Cincinnati Sinners) on vocals and guitar, Mike Skimmerhorn (The Mighty Swine) on bass and Les Sharp on drums, were never permanently shelved, with Chastain rather than abandoning his mates, simply performing with both bands simultaneously.

Releasing two hard hitting metal albums in 1986, ‘World Gone Mad’ and ‘Praise The Loud’, both of which also had an eye on the commercially successful LA scene of the day, CJSS actually built up quite a following. With the long delayed release of ‘The 7 Hills Demo’ – a collection of demos that didn’t make it onto either of the initial CJSS offerings – it is easy to see why. Unsurprisingly DTC offers up a mighty helping of guitar bombast, with crunching riffs, searing solos and killer hooks positively spitting out of the speakers. However CJSS were no one man show, with the confident full throated Jinkens and hard hitting drumming of Sharp proving Varney awry in his assessment that the pair were surplus to requirements (Skimmerhorn was allowed to join the Chastain ranks). 

Fireworks - The Ultimate Magazine For Melodic Rock Music

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The first four songs, ‘Ready For Action’, ‘She’s Too Hot For Love’, ‘Stand Up’ and ‘On The Hunt’ veer between Accept like riffagery and early Mötley Crüe spit and sneer, combining big sing along choruses with thick slabs of guitar and pummelling drums. The song that follows them however – ‘Movements QP827’ – is an out and out jam where Chastain showcases all of the impressive tricks, flicks and licks in his fretboard armoury. It is a fine guitar showcase and one where the drumming of Sharp also shines, but in truth, while guitar aficionados will drool and slobber, it is more of a Chastain track and subsequently a little lost on this collection. However ‘Tell Me You’re Near’ illustrates that this quartet could certainly handle slower paced numbers that still offer a fair bit of thump, while ‘Annemoragan’ takes things completely in the other direction, putting its foot on the gas and heading for the hills – leaving us with an impressive collection of tracks that never sits in one groove too long nor relies on only one approach to hit their mark.

The one thing to be aware of, as the title of this release implies, is that all of the songs on this album are indeed of demo (albeit it good demo) quality, meaning that ‘The 7 Hills Demo’ is far from a polished effort. However don’t let that put you off, with the energetic vibe that the rough and ready approach provides actually being one of this releases many strengths.

Steven Reid

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