Stoned Jesus – First Communion (Vinyl/ CD Reissue)


Ukraine doom merchants, Stoned Jesus, re-release their 2010 debut on Napalm Records and give us a forty-minute psychedelic journey of fuzz riffs, soaring vocals and bluesy guitar solos with plenty of dynamic shifts. Anyone who is a fan of all things Black Sabbath, Sleep and Electric Wizard will find something to enjoy in the four tracks on offer.

First Communion is an album you can have on in the background to let the riffs consume you. It opens with the ten-minute epic, ‘Occult’, which starts with strings and a biblical sample about the teachings of Mother Teresa before launching into a low and slow bluesy riffage that’s both engaging and melodious. Think Volume 4 era Black Sabbath mixed with Come My Fanatics-era Electric Wizard.

Second track, ‘Red Wine’, is the shortest, clocking in at just over five minutes. It’s also the catchiest and most accessible with quiet verses that weave in and out of the distorted riffage. You’ll feel the rumbling of fuzzy power chords in your chest. Unlike the other compositions, the tempo remains consistent and explores a variety of changes.

Returning to the lengthier formula on ‘Black Wood’ and ‘Falling Apart’ gives the Ukrainian trio an opportunity to demonstrate their ability to operate in the epic sphere of doom. Thankfully, they don’t fall victim to an anti-climax. With Stoned Jesus you know what you’re going to get! Reliability is one of their greatest assets.

The main criticism with First Communion is that it’s all a bit derivative. We’ve heard most of the riff styles on early Kyuss, Black Sabbath and Electric Wizard records and the vocals are in the vein of Ozzy Osbourne. This could cause listeners to switch off or zone out after a track or two.

Fans of doom, stoner, sludge metal and classic rock, however, will find some enjoyment in this album. It’s rooted in the old school and flows consistently throughout its forty-minute duration, and the production and musicianship are top notch. Whatever reservations you may have it’s clear that Stoned Jesus come from the Iommian school of riffing and will melt many faces!

RF


Verdict


Release Date: 21/08/2020

Record Label: Napalm Records

Standout tracks: Red Wine, Occult, Falling Apart

Suggested Further Listening: Sleep – Holy Mountain (1992), Trippy Wicked & the Cosmic Children of the Knight – Movin On (2009), Uncle Acid and The Dead Beats – Mind Control (2013)