Release Date: 24th August 2018
Label: Southern Lord
Like many of their US Hardcore contemporaries making waves this year, Jesus Piece have released a debut full-length with a sound subtly different from the rest. Taking influence from classic Sludge Metal acts like Crowbar and Neurosis, the band incorporate a darker, more rugged aesthetic while pushing their slow, detuned guitar crunch to the fore. Of course there’s plenty of bellowing vocals and massive grooves, but if you look beyond the surface you’ll find a surprising level of brains behind the brawn.
Album opener ‘Lucid’ pulls absolutely no punches. Droning synths serve as a short intro before you’re battered with monster double bass drumming and drop tuned guitars, switching the groove seamlessly from one mosh riff into another. Only Self’s mission statement remains pretty much unchanged from this point onwards, slamming through ‘Workhorse’ and ‘Punish’ faster than you could roundhouse kick a poser. Before long you’re confronted with the monstrous ‘Curse Of The Serpent’ with it’s instantly recognisable lead riff and intense lyrical call and response, guaranteed to induce a waterfall of stagedivers with every live performance. ‘In The Silence’, serves as a break from the all out intensity of the album’s first half, showcasing the band’s penchant for menacing atmosphere and slowing things right down while pushing the album’s depraved atmosphere to it’s limit. ‘Adamant’ then ramps back up the intensity and kicks you in the teeth with an ungodly massive, instantly satisfying breakdown. It should be mentioned at this point, be careful when listening to this album in public as it dramatically increases the desire to practice some violent pit moves. Speed is the name of the game in ‘Neuroprison’, yet another highlight, this time clinging to a more traditional Hardcore feel while still retaining a consistent level of bruising inhumanity. You want WEIRD beatdowns? ‘Dog No Longer’ provides one of the most unusual tempo shifting grooves you’ll hear on a heavy record this year, bringing the first act of Only Self juddering to a close.
Simply named ‘I’ and ‘II’, the final two arrangements combine seamlessly to create a bleak, expansive odyssey of dark, harrowing Sludge. Complete with haunting clean vocals and ultra slow pacing, the sister tracks form an exciting window into the future of Jesus Piece, pushing their well of creative ideas into full display.
Despite the band’s sense of individuality, this is definitely still a beatdown Hardcore album, if this isn’t a genre you’re already invested in then Only Self probably won’t do much to change your mind. It’s also prudent to note that this is certainly no Forever or Errorzone, the boundaries aren’t quite being pushed to the same game-changing standard of some of their contemporaries. However if you live for the scene, then this will give you a hell of a lot to rave about. In an already fantastic year for aggressive music, Jesus Piece stand up against the very best and ensure you that they won’t be running out of fresh ideas for audio punishment any time soon.
Recommended Track: ‘Curse Of The Serpent’