STONED JESUS — First Communion (review)

STONED JESUS — First Communion album cover Album · 2010 · Stoner Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
3/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
STONED JESUS is one of the legions of stoner metal bands that has emerged since the genre took off in the early 90s when bands like Sleep and Earth were really starting to slow things down in the metal world which created a whole lot of breathing room for fuzzy doom metal riffing to reverberate to high heaven (or hell) and focus on gloomy atmospheric constructs over compositional fortitude. While most of the early bands like Kyuss, Electric Wizard, Trouble, Melvins, Sleep and Elder were from the English speaking world, other nations quickly jumped on board with bands like Boris from Japan, Spiritual Beggars from Sweden and Italy’s Ufomammut. Add to the list a whole bunch of acts that from behind the former Iron Curtain and there seems no end in sight.

One of these bands that emerged from the remote outbacks of Eastern Europe was the wickedly cool named STONED JESUS which formed in Kiev, Ukraine where they took the traditional doom aspects of early Black Sabbath and married it with the heavier psych and stoner qualities of more recent bands. The band was founded in 2009 by Igor Sydorenko (guitar, vocals), Nik Kobold (bass) and Alexander EphirZ (drums). The band released a demo soon after forming and wasted no time cranking up the guitar riffs and channeling the zeitgeist of early Sabbath. The debut album FIRST COMMUNION emerged in 2010 on the Solitude label. After the band’s sound expanded past the homeland, the album was released on the German label Nasoni which launched these guys into the international playground.

Now a former Soviet nation is hardly the first place that comes to mind when considering Sabbath inspired stoner metal but the guys in STONED JESUS have done their homework quite well and proudly display their amazing delivery of Anglo-oriented 70s inspired doom and gloom. FIRST COMMUNION is a retro sounding album through and through and could actually pass as some lost early session of Black Sabbath. First of all, Igor’s vocal style is a dead ringer for Ozzy Osbourne and nails all those nasal articulations perfectly. Likewise his guitar riffs evoke the earliest occult fueled grooves of Tony Iommi although his guitar playing is limited to riffing without too many accompanying solos. In fact many of the four tracks, three of which exceed the ten minute mark are in for the slow burn, that meaning cyclical riffs repeat almost ad infinitum until the hypnotic spell is finally broken by a chord change or some vocal utterances.

The bass and drum provide the grooves while the guitar generally adds higher register counterpoints. It really does sound like a Sabbath rehearsal circa 1969 where someone resurrected the primitive recordings and remastered them with cleaner production values and then laced with all the stoner modernisms heard in more modern bands like Sleep or Electric Wizard. Stoner metal can be rather generic and STONED JESUS certainly falls into that trap on FIRST COMMUNION. For my money this is way too derivative of early Sabbath and although the band imitates the early pioneers to great effect, what this trio fails to delivery are classy compositions that find new layers of doomy stoner vibes to layer upon the influences of yore. While i have to admit that stoner metal is not my first love in the metal universe, the best bands within its jurisdiction have really stood out for a reason and STONED JESUS unfortunately fails to do just that. A nice hypnotic background sort of music but as an active listening experience i find this album a bit ordinary.
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Tupan wrote:
2 months ago
Seven Thunders Roar, the second album, is amazing!
siLLy puPPy wrote:
2 months ago
Yeah, this is the only one i've heard. Glad to hear they get better :)
UMUR wrote:
2 months ago
Check out their NeXT two instead. Much better albums IMO and Igor is such a nice guy too, so he deserves the support :-)

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