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Stoned Jesus - Father Light review

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Band: Stoned Jesus
Album: Father Light
Release date: March 2023

01. Father Light
02. Season Of The Witch
03. Thoughts And Prayers
04. Porcelain
05. Con
06. Get What You Deserve

This is it. This is Stoned Jesus' first album since their country was invaded.

Ukraine is pretty much in the world's focus right now, with the country recently marking an year since it was unjustly invaded by Russia. It's understandable why that would cause a bit of a standstill in the country's music making capabilities, but Ukrainian metal albums have been coming out since, even if the times are tumultuous. It's not always obvious how much time in advance these specific albums were written/recorded in advance, and we may only retrospectively feel the inspiration of said tumultuous times on the music itself. Stoned Jesus specifically are one band whose first concert since the war I have witnessed, photographed and wrote about, and they played one of the songs from this record ("Porcelain"), and they're also a band I have reviewed and seen live before. So, needless to say, I have some connection to Stoned Jesus.

The band has come to clarify that most of Father Light was worked on from as far back as 2019, so this is not really their "war record", but it's hard not to feel it retrospectively get some darkness attached to it, especially with such topical songs as "Thoughts And Prayers" and the "this crooked world" and "we won't grow old" lines from the acoustic opener certainly hit different in this new context, even if that's not the context that they written in. But outside of the lyrical context, there isn't something overtly dark and ominous specifically about Father Light. Perhaps that make sense considering the album literally has "light" in its name, and there's talk of a sibling "Mother Dark" album coming after this one, which might actually be heavier. That said, it's not like there's nothing heavy and dark about Father Light, with the band's signature heavy fuzzy riffs still present in certain songs, but the album overall doesn't rely as much on them.

In my previous review I focused quite a lot on that one "I'm The Mountain" song that continues to define their trademark years later, and the songs I like most from Father Light are "Season Of The Witch" and especially "Porcelain" which do try to replicate some of that long form buildup focused stoner rock. But the songs on the album range quite a bit in sound and runtime. Though the grunge/alt rock leanings from Pilgrims have been downplayed, some of the vocal lines seem more melodic, like on "Thoughts And Prayers" and "Con". The bass is the one element that fills the soundscape the most and offers it some very welcome punch, and that's not to say that the guitars and drums aren't doing heavy lifting, just that the bass is, by contrast, making quite an impact when it is present. And all of it is pleasant, from the heavier fuzzy moments, to the more melodic and vocally ambitious moments, to the more prog-rock inspired jamming, but it fails to really wow me beyond just being nice while it's on.

I appreciate Stoned Jesus trying to blend the more melodic leanings of Pilgrims with a return to fuzzier sounds of Seven Thunders Roar, but there's just something about this being the same band that made "I'm The Mountain" that makes me think that lightning has only struck once. But Father Light is good enough that it doesn't signal that lightning will never strike again for Stoned Jesus.

Written on 10.03.2023 by Doesn't matter that much to me if you agree with me, as long as you checked the album out.


Comments: 2   Visited by: 75 users
10.03.2023 - 13:28
Crème fraiche

This one fell flat for me. I really wanted to find more here to like and come back to but nothing really grabs my attention here except for the second half of "Season Of The Witch". I saw on their band's Instagram page that they have been writing a ton and that they haven't even released their pandemic material or their war material yet. I'm hoping they can reclaim some of their former glorious heights on future releases and that they leave more of an impact on me. My heart really goes out to these guys and everyone in Ukraine especially now that the spring campaign seems like it's kicking into gear now.
10.03.2023 - 13:58
Rating: 6

I have the greatest sympathy with Stoned Jesus and all other Ukrainian bands right now. That being said, this is just the latest album of theirs that really doesn't do much for me, and that includes the rest of Seven Thunders Roar outside of I'm The Mountain; I don't want to say they got 'lucky' with that song, but there really is something in that track that the rest of their material doesn't possess. There's some good moments in Season Of The Witch, but even that has some pretty meh sections as well

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