Review: Stoned Jesus- The Harvest

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Stoned Jesus grew bored of dwelling in the occult, so he grabbed himself a leather cut and a Harley and rode towards Cali to join the Sons of Anarchy. The Harvest is the soundtrack of this parable.

Never the ones to shy away from innovation, the latest LP from Stoned Jesus sees the Ukrainian band move in yet another direction. After the fuzzed-out riff fest heard in First Communion and the exploration of prog-influenced psychedelia in Seven Thunders Roar (an album filled with quiet-loud dynamics plus interplay between acoustic and electric instrumentation), The Harvest showcases at least two major shifts in method. The first is a drastic change of pace; this record features the fastest material of this group’s catalogue. Second, a much simpler approach to songwriting. Please note that simpler in no way signifies inferior – in fact, the shorter songs here are very well crafted and are responsible for making this Stoned Jesus’ most instantly enjoyable album.

Take the first track, for example. From the start, its infectious energy grabs your attention and never lets go. This is textbook “motorcycle music”, very reminiscent of Red Fang’s livelier songs. It would fit perfectly as background music to a traffic pursuit. “Here Come The Robots” indeed, running over the metaphorical gate like the most rabid of coal rollers, leaving nothing but an intoxicating black smoke behind.

Before you’re even able to catch your breath from the bike chase, Act 2 of this parable brings forth a drunken bar brawl – chairs flying and bottles smashing. Another great riff, another memorable song to be found in “Wound”. Fans of Clutch will not be disappointed at all with this track, which is gifted with tremendous staying power. Igor’s vocal performance is a highlight. Besides the distinct accent, his voice possesses an intangible sort of rock star quality as he alternates between melody and grit as the song dictates. The chemistry this band displays is captivating, with both Sid (bass) and Viktor (drums) perfectly following the singer’s leads.

After this bombastic introduction, one might think that this band has left its doom metal roots behind. One could not be more mistaken in their assumptions. “Rituals of the Sun”, or Act 3, if you will, sees the traditional plodding riff with a bluesy tail performed in brilliant fashion. Once again, the synergy between the members of this group is evident as they move forward as a single unit in every segment of this 7-minute song. Doom heads everywhere will appreciate the delicious zippery guitar tone. If you’re following suit on the cinematic analogy, you know the biker anti-hero is legally required to leave the bar fight scene with his romantic interest. This is the “Why don’t we do it in the road?” moment afterwards. Mating rituals, I guess.

tony-philippou-jesus-piece-biker

Art by Tony Philippou

Act 4 is “YFS”, the “getting ready for revenge” montage. You know, that scene preceding the final throwdown. The track is defined by its funky groove. Bass and drums pulsate in such a compelling manner that you will have a hard time not stomping your feet or headbanging to the rhythm. The syncopated riffing greatly increases the addictive effect, and it’s performed in a way that reminds me of Black Drawing Chalks‘ last album, No Dust Stuck On You. The last verse builds up the excitement towards the end of the track, which culminates in one of the dopest solos I’ve heard in a long while.

“Silkworm Confessions” is my favorite track – a masterfully built, 9-minute song that somehow encompasses all the strong points of this record. It starts with the energy of The Harvest’s first tracks, but winds down to the slowed, fuzzy goodness as it progresses. The transition between different sections here is seamless, greatly due to the use of bridges, pauses, and another resource that is fairly prominent in this type of music – one I like to call the “stoner waltz”. It consists of playing simple, repetitive drum and bass patterns while the guitar slowly repeats the same melodic phrase. Through repetition, this achieves quite an enthralling effect. Listen to the stoner waltz at the 4:50 mark of this song as background music to this video and tell me it’s not a good fit.

The album closer, “Black Church”, is where this band unfortunately drops the ball. It is the longest cut of the album, clocking in at 14 minutes, but it does not work as well as the previous track. Its individual portions are interesting when picked apart, but the whole piece feels like a puzzle that wasn’t assembled correctly. I, for one, would have liked to see the final segment – which features a sinister organ riff and a great crescendo – either released as the final track alone or adapted to become the song’s main pillar.

Still, this is a minor hindrance in an otherwise solid LP. It shows the band is more comfortable than ever, taking cues from rock n’ roll and even pop structures. Hopefully the shorter songs and the incredible replay value of The Harvest will grant Stoned Jesus the recognition they deserve.

1/5 FLUSHES

 

The Harvest was released in February 24, 2015. You can stream the whole album on Bandcamp (see above), as well as buy it digitally on iTunes or in CD format on Big Cartel. Make sure to give them a like on Facebook and follow them on Twitter by stabbing here & here, respectively.

(Photo VIA)

  • King Shit of Fuck Mountain
    • Dagon

      The fact that this guy is a celebrity in Japan says a lot.

      • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

        Not doing so well at the moment though, people don’t like to hire him or publish his writing for some reason.

    • Tyreeling In The Years
    • EsusMoose

      Well of what I watched it was weird

  • With the massive thaw happening, the river flowing through our back yard is swole to the max. When the fog settled in last night it was badass/10.

    GL

    • CyberneticOrganism

      I took a couple badass pics in the fog yesterday too. Foggy pics are best.

      • Tyreeling In The Years

        Satan.

        • more beer

          With all of the Jesus on this thread an up vote for Satan is mandatory.

    • SUNLIGHTBEARD

      Red Hook has always been one of those “last resort” crafts for me. How is it out of a can? We dont get those here, that I know of.

      • Well, I only drank it out of the can because our terrible gas station only had them in cans. Personally, it is the best “craft” beer for the dollar. I happen to like it a lot!

  • Tyreeling In The Years

    Today is 3/11. 311 sucks!!!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=wdVRaDJth4s

  • Orange Goblin meet Clutch riffage. Awesome writing as usual, brolo!

  • VVayne Brady
    • Tyreeling In The Years

      Finally watched this the other week. I was satisfied.

      • VVayne Brady

        It’s a good’n.

    • Dagon

      Django is my favorite Tarantino movie, and I’ve seen a fair share of his films several times.

      • Tyreeling In The Years

        Hold on, I’m fucking with my eye holes.

        http://i.imgur.com/mVoYYEc.jpg

      • He really doesn’t have a bad movie as far as I’m concerned.

        • CyberneticOrganism

          The first 2/3 of Death Proof is painful.

          • I saw all of Grindhouse in theaters when it came out so after seeing Planet Terror, it’s a tough act to follow. On it’s own, it doesn’t bother me that much. Still can’t beat the part where Stuntman Mike skids out on that girl’s head.

  • Enemy Of The Free World

    I don’t think any of this matters, because
    I AM THE MOUNTAIN!

    • Enemy Of The Free World

      It’s definitely got that good ole’ Stoned Jesaja tone. I dig these songs so far. Even when HCtR was a big dissapointment when they initially unveiled it.

      • Enemy Of The Free World

        Silkworm Confessions is pure murdah!

        • Dagon

          It’s the jammiest jam of a rather jammy album.

  • Paris Hilton

    Stoned Jesus walks on bong water.

    Stoned Jesus came unto the Kingdom of Heaven and forgot what he came there for.

    On the 3rd Day, Stoned Jesus rose again. From the couch.

    Stoned Jesus roamed the desert for 40 days and 40 nights with Satan tempting him with riches, power, and fame the whole time. Stoned Jesus turned to him and said

    • God ov All

      Stoned Jesus turned two loaves and fish to Doritos and Mountain Dew and fed himself

      • Paris Hilton

        Stoned Jesus bailed on the bill after The Last Supper.

        • more beer

          That explains Judas. He got stuck with the bill.

      • NefariousDude

        And on the 7th day: he rolled coal

    • Stoned Jesus came to the tax collectors of the temple. Furious, he said unto them, “Bruh, fucking legalize it and you can tax it like alcohol. Ron Paul 2016.”

      • God ov All

        Stoned Jesus came into town on a ass and giggled

        • Paris Hilton

          Stoned Jesus later lost his donkey because he forgot where he parked it.

      • Paris Hilton

        “Do not turn the toke place of peace and My Father into a market place! Capitalism, like, totally sucks, man!”

      • JVVG

        “The spirit is willing, but this bud is weak.” – Matthew 26,4:20.

        • Paris Hilton

          When Stoned Jesus said he wanted to get stoned with Mary Magdaline that wasn’t exactly he had in mind.

          • Sacritastic

            The one who is without sins, gets stoned.

      • Rubber Balls And Liquor

        After he turned the river into bongwater, and fed a whole village with a can of Pringles and a Twinkie.

  • frozengoatsheadupanunsarse

    This is more concise than I tend to like my stoner music, but can’t argue with the tunes.

    • Dagon

      It’s definitely closer to hard rock and further from stoner doom more than anything they have released.

  • if anyone wants to give the TovH Google+ page a shot:
    (the custom URL is coming soon, so don’t link to it quite yet)
    https://plus.google.com/u/0/110240384043347852626

  • DARKBEARD

    I can definitely dig on this, though, like you said further down, its not quite heavy enough. Its got dem hooks tho.

  • Stoned Jesus might be the singular best band name of all time.

  • Definitely digging the shorter upbeat tracks on this one. Nice review.

  • CT-12

    Great review Dagon, needed some more stoner metal in my life, and you delivered! Very thorough review!

  • FeelTheDarknesses

    I got high while listening to it and yeah

  • zzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzzz

    joy is greater than war—as the world awakens–
    and realizes itself–and global consciousness rises

    and becomes aware of itself

    joy to the world

    1st vid–3/4 vol
    2nd vid –full vol
    3rd vid–half vol
    all at once
    https://youtu.be/Jo0JMs-evQU?list=PL06369A224471B2F7

    https://youtu.be/-V2k95H1koY

    https://youtu.be/yf-d-Ka30EY

  • Rubber Balls And Liquor