Review: Jesus Piece – Only Self (Southern Lord, Aug 24)

There are a hell of a lot of metalcore acts out there. Now more than ever, as the genre approaches the end of its third decade of existence, it’s difficult for bands to stand out while remaining somewhat true to the original sound. Philadelphia quintet Jesus Piece’s debut full-length Only Self is definitely one of the most refreshingly creative albums that still pays significant homage to the classic metalcore style. They bring progressive song structures and some pretty entertainingly crusty old school death metal inclinations into the mix, an efficient arsenal of eccentricities that never detract from what we all love about this stuff. Yes, there are plenty of breakdowns, and thankfully they’re equal parts unpredictable and crushing, employing angular riffs and breaths of silence that only emphasize the heaviness. “In the Silence,” one of the record’s longest tracks that ends the A side, concludes with a labyrinthine sequence of off-kilter rhythms and crunching double bass pounds. This one also precludes what is in my opinion the best part of Only Self, the three song stretch from “Adamant” to “Dog No Longer,” the latter showing the strongest OSDM influences. Unfortunately, the final two songs put way too much stock in some weak ambient noodling and halfheartedly ends what could have been a concise and dense record. Still, for a first album it’s pretty damn awesome, and once again it’s so great to see a classic metalcore release in 2018 that has me headbanging this hard.