Review Summary: Good American stoner made in Germany.
Motorjesus is Germany's current response to the American hard rock/stoner metal. With a fuzzier tone akin to bands such as Sasquatch or Halfway To Gone, Motorjesus combine raspy, James Hetfield-like barking vocals with groovy, pummeling riffs that could've been taken out of a Kyuss or Karma To Burn record, creating Wheels Of Purgatory
, a ramming 50 minute beast of an album that never lets its guard down.
While it's clearly seen that the whole album has been built from the same material, each track offers at least a memorable groove. There's usually a nice progression from palm muted riffing or punching rhythms to softer choruses, but Motorjesus do it with such a flawless delivery, it doesn't feel overdone. Opener "Motor Discipline" sets the tone for the entire album, with its soaring guitars and coarse vocals channeling Kyuss' very own John Garcia circa Blues For The Red Sun
era. It's a very enjoyable track that's capable of instantly grasping the listener into the band's universe. Other numbers such as "Hammer Of The Lord" and "Fist Of The Dragon" bear resemblance to Metallica's Black Album's sound, but they showcase these Germans' ability to combine stomping rhythms with an often melodic detour to an overall result that can easily put Hetfield & Co. to shame. "Hammer Of The Lord", especially, has some of the most accomplished vocals on the entire album, Chris Birx visibly demonstrating he's the one holding everything together.
Still, the best Wheels Of Purgatory
has to offer is "Fuel The Warmachine" and "The Church (Of Booze And Kerosene). These guys constantly shift gears, the former starting strong in the same vein as the other numbers, but at half way turns into this softer, more melodic counterpart. The vocals get clean here and really add to the chorus' effect. "Fuel The Warmachine" also features a fuzzy, bluesy solo that's doubled by a Master Of Puppets-like higher pitched second guitar to a great result. The latter is a bass heavy, manic signature track that alternates the now familiar trampling rhythms with harder hitting mid sections, giving Wheels Of Purgatory
an extra boost towards the end of its run.
Even if the album is really enjoyable, there are some downsides to it too. For example, the fact that there's no room for breathing in between these 13 beasts. This way, Wheels Of Purgatory
, gradually exhausts the listener having no song to change the overall pace of the record. The second is the rather clean production that steals some of the power these guys surely have. The vocals are raucous and the guitars soar, but they never reach that murky tone bands such as Sasquatch, Kyuss or Karma To Burn have. Also, the drums sometimes feel lifeless and really tight, like a metronome set for the other instruments to follow.
However, these faults don't drag much the album down and at the end of the day Wheels Of Purgatory
is a great album that shows good American-like hard rock/stoner metal can be found in Germany too.