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Stoned Jesus : The Harvest

A worthy and more eclectic follow-up to Ukrainians Stoned Jesus' breakthrough sophomore.

Released in 2015, 'The Harvest' is the highly anticipated follow up to Stoned Jesusí acclaimed 'Seven Thunders Roar', an album successful enough to warrant an anniversary edition with outtakes and live tracks a mere two years after original release. Pressure was high for Kievís finest Doom Metal sons as they re-entered the studio to try and meet fans expectations, and emulate the standards set by an album that established them as a force outside their native Ukraine.

From the opening track, 'Here Come the Robots', itís clear there will be no attempt to play safe and rely on proven formulas, as the Floydian elements so prevalent on 'Seven Thunders Roar' are dispensed with in favour of a more aggressive approach. It begins frenetically with a loose, greasy Garage Rock riff with snarled, aggressive vocals that builds in intensity before ultimately slowing to a grinding, Sludge-ridden interlude of pure Doom. Itís an indication of whatís to follow on what is a darker, heavier and angrier record than any of the bandís previous releases.

As 'The Harvest' proceeds, each track becomes longer, more progressive and wider in scope as an eclectic array of styles is explored; from Doom to Garage, to Art-Rock and Industrial. The bruising, monolithic depths of Doom are explored, but often there is light to complement the darkness. Trippy, arpeggiated riffs prepare us for the brutal, stripped-down assault of skull-thumping heaviness, before far out psychedelic organ riffs wash away the aggression in readiness for another assault.

Clocking in at just short of fifteen minutes, 'Black Church' brings the album to a nightmarish conclusion as a hypnotic riff and repetitive tribal beat builds in intensity for three minutes until reaching a brutal, primitive crescendo then morphing into a slow, down-tuned Doom riff. The journey continues through sparse Industrial interludes punctuated by echoes and strange, discordant sounds before a malevolent Gothic organ lick finally sees 'The Harvest' to its unholy finish. Itís a satisfying conclusion to what is essentially a musical voyage through the many genres that have influenced the band.

Although these influences are not so much worn on the sleeve as waved in the face at times, occasionally coming close to crossing the fine line between influence and imitation, their well-worn parts combine to form a fresh and varied album that takes the listener on an interesting trip through myriad dark places, and proves a fine successor to its predecessor.

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Reviewer's rating: 9/10


Tracklist :
1. Here Come The Robots
2. Wound
3. Rituals Of The Sun
4. YFS
5. Silkworm Confessions
6. Black Church

Duration : Approx. 43 minutes

Visit the Stoned Jesus bandpage.

Reviewed on 2016-01-20 by Nick Harkins
Rotten Copper
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