It was a pleasant surprise when a new Stoned Jesus album found its way to my desk. For those unaware, Stoned Jesus plays an eclectic mix of progressive stoner doom. They shot to fame with the song “I’m the Mountain,” which currently has more than 15 million views on YouTube. They were founded in 2009 by Igor Sydorenko in a city and country that has sadly drawn the attention of the world over the last year; Kyiv, Ukraine. It’s heartening to see the band still together and making music given the turmoil their country is going through but is it any good?
Sadly the opening song “Father Light” is not a strong beginning. An uneven vocal performance over uninspired acoustic riffing makes it sounds like a hastily put-together demo rather than a finished product. It doesn’t help that it sounds like it was recorded in someone’s bathroom rather than a properly isolated studio.
Thankfully the rest of the album brings us back to the much stronger ground. Stoned Jesus amassed a following primarily off the back of songs with marathon run times. ‘Father Light’s’ second song, “Season of the Witch” clocks in at over eleven minutes, and takes the listener on a journey full of twists and turns. This is the band doing what they do best, and it’s a testament to their songwriting ability that time flies by. Those who’ve bemoaned the band’s move towards (relatively) shorter songs will certainly enjoy this.
“Thoughts and Prayers” is comparatively a much more straightforward affair. The band have shown they’re adept at melding a variety of styles and while it’s enjoyable, it’s not their most memorable composition.
“Porcelain” was released nearly eight months ago as a single so it likely needs no explanation for those reading this review. To put it simply it’s a lurching, bass-driven that creates an oppressive, immersive atmosphere. Powerful stuff.
On their previous albums, I’ve tended to prefer the band’s longer, more progressive tracks. “Con” reverses that trend. This song is a real earworm that I found myself looking forward to on repeated listens.
“Get What You Deserve’s” opening riff sounds a bit too similar to previous songs for comfort but eventually morphs into its own thing. It’s let down a little by some weak vocal performances, particularly of the titular phrase. It’s saved by some fantastically moody guitar riffs and an enthralling albeit short solo at around the mid-point.
Stoned Jesus’ ‘Father Light‘ is an enjoyable album that I grew to enjoy more and more upon repeated listens. Some weaker elements prevent me from calling it their best album, but it’s worth a listen. It certainly has me excited for the upcoming sister album ‘Mother Dark.’