Saturday 28 November 2020

Switchblade Jesus - Death Hymns (Album Review)


Release date: November 20th 2020. Label: Cursed Tongue Records. Format: DD/Vinyl

Death Hymns – Tracklisting

1.Scorched 04:22
2.Red Plains 04:36
3.Behind the Monolith 04:41
4.Death Hymns 02:37
5.Forgotten 05:54
6.Behemoth 02:31
7.The Blackened Sun 03:12


Vocals/Guitars: Eric Calvert
Bass: Chris Black
Drums/Percussion/Synth: Jonathon Elizondo


What the hell has happened with Switchblade Jesus. The band have returned with their new album Death Hymns and it sees the band play a more primal and aggressive style Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal. However, compared to their acclaimed debut album, the band have added a bleaker element to their music by embracing the world of Thrash Metal and in some cases fast-paced Death Metal guitars.

Death Hymns is still primarily a Doom/Sludge/Stoner Metal album but don’t be surprised when the band switch gears and go for an all out extreme metal approach throughout the albums lean and mean 27 minute running time. Swtichblade Jesus still provide value for money on this release despite the short length. As the band play fast-paced riffs that get the job done of a showing band living life on the edge.

The opening two songs – Scorched and Red Plains – sees the band play sounds that early-Mastodon and High On Fire made their names with but this has a rougher exterior and more Doom/Stoner Metal orientated. The music is quite catchy and aggressive at the same time with the small Psychedelic touches having a creative flair to it all. The instrumental work is precise and reminds myself why I became a huge fan of the band in the first place.

The vocals are quite minimal on the first song and the vocals are superb when they appear. However, it’s the technical and progressive based riffs and intense drumming the band lay down on the album that grabs the attention with that classic style of Prog Sludge guitars making themselves known.

When you get on board with the new technical riff-wizardry drive from Switchblade Jesus then you can only admire the onslaught of further extreme sounds from this highly accomplished Power-Trio with songs such as: Behind The Monolith, Death Hymns and Forgotten – being played next and perhaps being the best part of the album for myself.

The vocals from Eric are ripped from the classic sounding vocals of High on Fire and Mastodon but still allowing him to put his own style on the album.

With a band coming from Texas, I always expect Kent Stump or Zach Weeks to be involved with the recording process and we have Zach involved with the recording process along with the band’s very own Jonathan Elizondo on recording and mixing duties. The other talented person involved with the recording process is Josh Maxwell. Everyone involved has allowed Switchblade Jesus to deliver an absolute MONSTER of a record.

Death Hymns is a throwback to the good old days of Doom, Sludge and Stoner Metal where VOLUME and AGGRESSION was key. If you miss the glory-days of early-Mastodon then Death Hymns will awake the SLEEPING GIANT in you all.

This is a colossal album even with the short running time. Don’t pass this one by. This is a must have album. Awesome stuff...

Words by Steve Howe

Thanks to Niels at Cursed Tongue Records for the promo. Death Hymns is available to buy now on DD/Vinyl via Cursed Tongue Records.


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