Stoned Jesus — From the Outer Space (2019)

One might say you can’t play rock after Black Sabbath, for it has all been played by Iommi & co. long-long time ago. However, while listening to "From the Outer Space", I find myself thinking: wait, did Iommi really play all the riffs?

Stoned Jesus released a compilation of early demos in November 2019, so we now can trace the evolution of the country`s most ambivalent and distinctive trio and witness the birth of stoned Jesus from the Primal chaos of doom metal.

The story behind

The primordial Chaos from which Stoned Jesus arose, as we know them today, was constantly transforming and could have obviously taken any form. The mastermind of the project, Igor Sydorenko, contributed almost to all possible genres. In the first decade of the millennium he went into the hip-hop, or rather, prog-hop terrain, doing it under the moniker MC Projector (Rus. MC Прожектор); then there was – and, fortunately, is now – the acoustic Voida (which is a one-man band actually); in 2003, the Arlekin project arose – it was then that the "Disguise Serenades" were released, the record clearly inspired by Marillion`s "Script for a Jester`s Tear". The post-rock foursome Krobak, whose ardent admirer I used to be, is also one of Igor’s now disbanded projects. Stoned Jesus was formed almost simultaneously with Krobak, and the band stroke us with their experimentation and genre diversity.

From The Mars Volta and Deftones ("Thessalia") to kraut and industrial music like Swans ("Water Me"), the full-length "Pilgrims" impresses us with its eclecticism. StJ showed us their diversity yet before: back in 2012 when we enjoyed both psychedelic and bluesy "Seven Thunders Roar" (the very record that gave us the legendary "I`m the Mountain"); in 2015, releasing the full-length "Harvest" which was social, aggressive, somewhat over-the-top yet hip. As you can see, the clichés like "stoner will be stoner" obviously don`t work with Stoned Jesus.

"From the Outer Space": back to the old tapes

As for the latest release, "From the Outer Space" compilation is doomy in the best traditions of the genre: from lyrics and their very titles that go into super dark and occult ("Occult", "Eastern Magic", "Black Woods") to slow, almost sticking in the teeth, super heavy riffs, enveloping your gut like hot magma. Here we go captivated by dropped tuning and fuzz, liver sweetly twitching. I was haunted by a strong association with Black Sabbath`s first (and not only first) release while listening, but perhaps it is designed to be that way. That associative thinking is an extremely stubborn thing.

The early Stoned Jesus, dating back to their debut release, "First Communion" with those characteristic funeral riffs, could easily become the soundtrack to "Only Lovers Left Alive" by Jarmusch (that funeral music, the main character seemingly wrote a lot). However, it is worth noting that those "cosmic" super heavy proto-Stoned Jesus tapes are mostly for the ardent admirers to enjoy, because here we have early and really-really raw demos, mostly jam, dirty and unpolished, with no resemblance to studio sound. Igor himself confessed in an interview that "The Sweet Whore of Babylon", for example, does not claim being a masterpiece. This release`s value is different. Thanks to such compilations, we can trace the band`s evolution and appreciate the great and winding path they`ve traveled. As well as get acquainted with the darker side of Jesus. Well, for the band’s anniversary, this is a great gift for the fans.

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1. The Sweet Whore of Babylon
2. Insatiable King
3. Eastern Magic
4. Occult
5. Black Woods

Napalm Records