The first thing that struck me was the cover: minimal and visceral in the way the best 80s hardcore was. Song titles right there on the front for you. Over the past 30+ years hardcore has gone through so many permutations it’s hard to find a pure vein that stokes the bludgeoning muscular attack of yesteryear, but Philadelphia’s Jesus Piece has it nailed with a bloody fist to wall on debut full length Only Self.
This is going to be a short review. There’s not a lot you need to know in order to understand if Only Self is going to work for you. Do you like your hardcore fast, brutal, and precise with the old school analog feel? Do you want sudden stops and changes in direction that are completely organic and able to rip your head off even as you marvel at how dynamic something so direct and punishing can be. Do you want your drums to sound MASSIVE and real and your vocalist to sound like he’s been living for 100 years and has hated about 99 of them? Then Jesus Piece is not only going to be your cup of piss and vinegar, but Only Self is going to boot stomp your skull until all that’s left is a pulpy mess that’s also furious with the state of the world.
“Lucid” sets the tone for everything to come. And I’ve listened to it, and to the rest of album countless times at this point and I still have trouble finding the words. Every song is a violent emotion made manifest – as “Lucid” shakes you in a dozen directions “Workhorse” comes in and is even more furious, a intensifying squeal pushing up and out as the riff proper takes off the song moves into a sudden creep with the chorus. The small Led Zeppelin drum homage that kicks off “In the Silence” leads to a truly murky and evil track, a low frequency buzz adding to the disturbing and unwell vibe. Before you know it the final two tracks, “I” and “II” pair up to obliterate your sense of self and you find yourself hitting that “Play” button again to experience it all over…
The words on this page are meaningless. I can find no way to impart to you how Jesus Piece have crafted the one of the best hardcore album of the last few years with Only Self. Find it, play it, and give in. But don’t give up.