Unless you have been living under a very heavy rock recently, you should have noticed a new breed of bands rising from the hardcore scene. Spearheaded by Code Orange and their future classic album Forever (Roadrunner) the floodgates are now well and truly open. This new movement is, frankly, irresistible with genre-defying records being released to great critical praise from the media and fans alike. This year has seen even more bands come through and make an impact, such as Harms Way, whose Posthuman (Metal Blade) record reached new levels of heavy.
Hot on the trails of these bands comes Jesus Piece with their debut album Only Self (Southern Lord). They may be a familiar name to some as this album was preceded by three excellent but short-form releases. Well, it seems like Jesus Piece has been lying in wait, honing their craft, ready to unleash when they deem the time is right… and boy, oh boy, that time is now!
Like a punch to the balls from a grizzly bear, opening track ‘Lucid’ just straight bludgeons you with a guitar sound that can only be described as like having an iceberg dropped onto your head. Thick slabs of distortion rain down without mercy before an ambient interlude breaks things up. But no sooner have you caught your breath another breakdown destroys whatever is left of you.
‘Workhorse’, ‘Punish’ and ‘Curse of The Serpent’ all rattle along in the same way and the heaviness just never ever lets up. There’s always a new and interesting way the band presents the songs though. Nothing ever sounds tired or recycled it’s just wave after wave beatdowns and chugging riffs. ‘Punish’ has a feel of early Mastodon in the delivery and cadence of the vocals. This is particularly potent when coupled with the pummeling drums of the hardcore sections further into the song.
‘In the Silence’ is where things take a sharp turn as eerie ambient guitars and drums are in a constant war with the vocals raging over the top. The slow construction of the piece is in a complete juxtaposition to the unbridled fast-paced heaviness of the opening tracks. The build you would think would lead to another ungodly breakdown, but instead, we get a sludgier take on the riffs, not unlike Crowbar. The pace then changes again with double kick drums trading places with the eerie guitars which really give this song a unique feel.
The guitar tone across the whole album is something bold with its raw energy and intensity never letting the vice grip slip; it is particularly noticeable ‘Adamant’, a full-on breakdown city with slab heavy riffs that would destroy 99% of deathcore bands. Groove is an element that will not be overlooked as with ‘Dog No Longer’, Jesus Piece continues to not only bring the hardcore speed but also give you something to bounce and bang your head to – the fuzzed up droning outro is a perfect end to the song and again something different you hadn’t hear done previous songs.
A truly stunning debut album from Jesus Piece that just shows what can be done with hardcore and metal music in 2018. As with Code Orange, there seems to be way more bubbling under the surface creatively here. So many places this band can go on future albums and it’s a future we all need to get on board with.