Published Aug 21, 2018Jesus Piece vocalist Aaron Heard described to Metal Injection the mantra of first single "Curse of the Serpent," from his band's debut Only Self as "an ode to the grudges that everyone holds… about the long-lasting pain sitting in the back of your mind, the kind that just doesn't know how to fuck off."
That could also be a concise summation of Jesus Piece's first grand statement. The Philadelphia act play a sound that has been tried and tested for many years— somewhere between Terror Avenue and Elysia— but every so often, a group storms into the music scene with musical weaponry so tempered that it is hard to write off as stale. With the track in question, at barely two minutes length (several seconds of which are menacingly placed silence) one would be hard-pressed to tell Jesus Piece to fuck off.
Through and through, Jesus Piece are precariously heavy. To avoid one-trick-pony-hood, Only Self has moments left of centre. "Lucid" attempts complex tempos and ambience that is severe and torrential, while the corresponding songs "I" and "II" are odes to black and industrial metal, with dreary earworms and artistry upheld, but ultimately overstay their welcome at nearly eight minutes.
Second single "Neuroprison" is Jesus Piece wearing their most jarring and vicious stripes. The group are not prone to shy away from breakdowns and other assumed clichés of heavy hardcore, but all is pleasantly fundamental and sonically terrifying when seasoned by Heard's low growls and bassist Anthony Marinaro's charismatic assisting vocals.
Only Self's mosh parts are nastier than most. Simplicity is mostly the name of Jesus Piece's game, but the band also take risks on "Adamant" by welcoming atmospheric guitar and polished drum tones that develop the album's mood board and leave listeners pleading for a second volatile punch.
Only Self is a melting pot of challenging doom and frenzied mosh metal that is intentionally bruising, but nothing more or less than five guys from Pennsylvania with blistering ire and a bone to pick with the darkest places of society. (Southern Lord)