The long awaited debut studio album coming from Philadelphia’s rising hardcore stars Jesus Piece, wants to inflict some damage. Only Self is a record that combines the earliest elements of their raw animosity and attributes some incoming tools of atmospheric work, punishing ability, and the relentless nature of a destructive spirit to make Jesus Piece a hurricane of hurt.
“Lucid” is the opening track that grinds up with a spacious use of reverb and then the sudden hammer coming down in the form of low-cut guitars and percussion that is as belligerent as it is exciting. Jesus Piece has been on the hardcore radar as of late for their way that they can remix the format of the genre and start to form their own cuts within the jagged edges of style. They stand as the newcomers with Only Self, taking some notions from their previous releases and making an impact with a refined core. The breakdowns have more weight, they can pulverize and almost cripple a track directly as shown well on the following “Workhorse”.
One of the better implementations of variation within the performance, there is this build and rush type of delivery that forms walls around the listener that suddenly close and cut out the lights. As the lines, “Break… Break… Break… Suffer” start to engulf around the sadistic and ultimately twisted approach, Jesus Piece makes it quite clear that they take no prisoners through Only Self.With the incredibly violent cast of Aaron Heart, David Updike, Luis Aponte, John DiStefano, and Anthony Marinaro, Philadelphia has never had a bigger crisis than when Only Self breaks into the multiple stages of despair.
With the lumbering push of “In The Silence”, this is actually one of the first tracks that takes the usual sucker punch and eases into it. It is a gradual dip into the pit, but a substantial one as it allows Jesus Piece to have this level of breathing room coming from the inside out. The bass is the real highlight of “In The Silence” as it forms the backbone to the seguing motions between the rapid runs and the daunting breakdowns to end the track.
The experimentation comes from the two part tracks both, “I” and “II” that allow Jesus Piece to have some solace within their death. The almost gentle, but still ghostly apparition puts the forefront of the adaptability and the real awareness of “I” at Jesus Piece’s finest moments. Then as “II” starts to form, the sound is then explored fully as the almost droning and immense caliber of space starts to use these hellish pieces of a puzzle. It forms a nice even break within Only Selfand leads off into the final track that shoots right back into the distraught and ugliness of abuse within a musical sanction. “Oppressor” takes Jesus Piece back into the darkness that illustrates the mosh pits and the overcoming sense of aggression. That within only mere minutes can take a crowd and have the venue crumble to ashes.
In one of the better displays from Jesus Piece and one of the best releases off Southern Lord Records to date, Only Self is a piece of work that wants to cause mayhem. They take the best elements of aggression, intensity, and experimentation and move them to the forefront of Only Self, causing an explosion of intrigue within the Jesus Piece name.