Aug 2, 2011

Switchblade Jesus - S/T ...

Well, it’s time to one-up my Borracho’s “three songs” number with another three-song trick – however, this time, it’s a little less clear if these are stand-along songs or belong to an EP. Far as the band is concerned, they belong to their début EP, but their ReverbNation and MySpace pages feature two more songs. Those are both live versions, so I don’t know if they’re just songs played during live performances or what… so yeah, out of relative obscurity, I’ll get to it.

Switchblade Jesus caught my eye when it was featured in the second Soda Shop compilation – their sharp-as-a-razor, faster-than-a-speeding-bullet playing, fat stoner tones, noticeable Gibson Thunderbird bass use (I love that model and its sound) and frankly infectious, hard/harsh stoner rock blend I just had to give ‘em a go. Their tones are fat, thick and filthy – the sound is really dirt-infested, and it’s not a lo-fi edge, it’s just dirty. And the Thunderbird I mentioned, it is important, not because I love it, but because, I quote: “…we tuned it to C and now it levels buildings.” The bass is fat and distinctive. The entire thing is backed with thunderous drums and clear-as-day rock vocals, I mean, this guy can sing a mean song. At just eleven minutes, the supposed EP packs a harder, faster and more relentless stoner rock punch than most I’ve encountered so far. So, let’s go take one on the chin, shall we?

The EP kicks off (and I mean, KICKS OFF) with “Joy Ride” and the title is a close approximation of what it feels like: like you’ve just snatched a GTO and are riding off, trying to enjoy it as much as you can before the cops inevitably get to you. Marked with frenetic riffing at breakneck speeds, fat bass, thunderous drums and screaming rock vocals, the track is the epitome of what makes stoner rock the beautiful beast it is. Oh, and halfway through the track, a blazing solo sets the whole thing on fire, and now you’ve got a flaming GTO to ride as fast as you can.

After the rawness of the first track, they refine the sound slightly for the beast of a follow-up, titled “Negative Planet 11.” The thunderous bass and crunching, breathless riffs are back with a vengeance as the band burns right through the track, but this time, there are moments of small reprieve offered amidst the relentless rush. Another blazing solo later we find ourselves cruising for a while, as the band switches things up and slows them down just a tad, grooving along for a few 8-bars before picking it right back up and running with it. It’s another trailblazer, that’s for sure.

The EP comes to a close with the most refined, namesake-actualizing “Copperhead” and the whole thing comes of like a gentle mallet blow to the head. It’s a more heavy metal influenced track that comes off as a polished, more refined version of the beast. Filthy, fuzzy guitars, rumbling bass, rockin’ vocals are all there, and, as an added bonus, features a solo that easily tops the two preceding it. The track, however, is noticeably darker in its mood and somehow harder in its delivery. Great guitar interplay and steady grooving characterizes the closer and it does what every good closer should do: leave you wanting more.

SO, what is offered here? Well, the EP itself is an exercise in displaying how sound can be refined, as it starts out too-raw-for-ears and gradually refines itself down the two tracks. Besides that, all I can say is, what Switchblade Jesus has to offer is some cutting-edge, blood-boiling, head-nodding, riff-rocking beast of a stoner rock strain, distilled from pure-bred trailblazing attitude and adrenaline junkie art. As glorifying as that might sound (or I tried to make it sound) I have no doubt in my mind that Switchblade Jesus will impress us with their full-length. Check these guys out. If you’re into rock at all, you won’t be disappointed, and if you’re into stoner rock, this is your thing, and if you like your stoner rock filth-encrusted and larger-than-life, it’s your drug. 10/10, keep it up.

NOTE: Thanks to Bill Goodman from the Soda Shop for pointing me in the right direction. I couldn’t, for some inexplicable reason, find their bandcamp. Which is where these tracks are, right now. Go ahead and check them out.

Review Written By Sarp Esin

Switchblade Jesus @ Facebook

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