Tejas. It’s been my experiences that not only can a person tell when shit is from Texas, but that Texans like it that way. Usually, it’s crap that’s real friggin’ big too. Giant steak platters, vast deserts, and a highway long enough to have a mile marker 666 (that gets stolen regularly). Switchblade Jesus are from the Lonestar State and they sound like it. Their debut is a loud, simple, chest-beating, hard rock record. Breaking boundaries or challenging norms? Nope, these guys are playing and singing rock songs, dammit. Signed to Ripple Music out of LA, I can see label heads “wanting a Texas band” and Switchblade Jesus strutting through the offices drunk, breaking shit and grabbing the secretaries’ asses. I could be wrong, but I’d probably be wrong about being wrong.
Into Nothing starts off this record with some acoustic jibber-jabber that, ironically enough, sounds decidedly, un-Texan. Almost sensitive and introspective even, it doesn’t really give the listener an idea of what’s about to happen. This tune maybe could’ve served as an interlude midway through, but it’s a pleasant piece of noise nonetheless.
Bastard Son flows out of Into Nothing and sets a tone with a Kyuss-esque intro of fat, clean, desert guitars before crashing into the main riff which more or less carries the tune. Not overly fuzzy, the guitars are more Marshall than Matamp, with bar band crunch. The tune maybe runs a minute or two too long, but it sounds pretty inspired and I guess its stoner rock sin to interrupt a groove. The vocals are way out front and Pete Quarnstrom’s voice is powerful and suits the band well, however, I’ll bet it sounds better live with him spitting in the crowds’ face.
The Wolves snaps into shape with a very Clutch riff; which is always welcome. It then bangs into the second riff which has the wah laced action of Orange Goblin. I know I’m already dropping a lot of names here, but this is pretty straight forward stuff and if you’re reading this and know the bands I’m checking, it really does give a dead-on representation of how Switchblade Jesus sound. The lead fades in and out deftly and the tones are spot on; smooth, with good melody and some tasteful wah-peddlin’.
Equinox sounds like “later years Corrosion of Conformity” with its squelched notes and bluesy nuance. By track five, Switchblade Jesus’ plan is chiselled in tablets of stone: hammer out a riff for a few minutes, sweep into a rippin’ solo, and ride the first riff into the horizon. Transitions between verses and choruses are like double clutching a 70’s International cab-over; a slam-bang affair with no hint of grace or elegance, all while getting the job done. Oil riggin’ rock ‘n’ roll.
The final tune, Oblivion brings back the acoustic guitars before blasting into more of the same. However, there’s a crushing riff around the 4:20 mark and it’s a high point. The drums and guitars lock down with crashes and kick drum; a true sonic blast. It’s a standout track for that riff alone and truth be told, I’d have liked to heard more of it throughout the record.
Switchblade Jesus’ debut record is hard rock. Straight ahead songs about whiskey, women, and other rock ‘n’ roll shit like that. I don’t know the guys’ backgrounds, but like Firebird, I’ll bet they used to be metal dudes. They have a tendency to play their stoner rock by the books, ploughing through songs with complete disregard for finer touches of anything. And that’s OK because they’re Switchblade Jesus. And they’re here to party.
Scribed by: Drew Fulton