What’s the deal with death ‘n roll? I’ve always considered the niche genre a great sound in theory, combining the brutal force of death metal with the lassaiz-fare swagger of rock ‘n roll rhythms. Combining the two well can lead to epic, no fucks given sonic bulldozers that careen across your face and laugh about it like the spike-laden convoy in Mad Max: Fury Road. But death ‘n roll bands are very few and far between, the good ones even moreso, and its purveyors regularly receive the level of scorn usually reserved for groove metal. Entombed’s Wolverine Blues pretty much spawned the genre and is the only album that could be considered a classic in the style. Even high quality releases like Calmsite’s Elvisdeath don’t get picked up by wide audiences. Maybe Swedish peddlers of the sound Jesus Chrüsler Supercar1 will be able to turn things around for the woefully waning sub-genre.
Lack of conviction won’t be what will stop this lot. Jesus Chrüsler Supercar play the genre to the hilt, matching hard rock and rock ‘n roll elements to massive, crunchy riffs from the Entombed stables. The dual guitars crush with the power of a runaway steam locomotive, with infectious melodies and earth-shaking chuggery, rolling right over you with headbangable finality. The vocals, in a twist of fate, eschew outright growls and end up halfway Lemmy and Phil Anselmo instead, giving a certain southern twang to the thundering crunch. Though the tracks are mostly similar in structure and sound, the album slows down a notch on occasion, to go from runaway train to a pile-driving stomp. It’s a very satisfying romp, musically speaking.
What’s less satisfying, though, is the production. Some genres lend themselves better to lower DR rates than others, I admit. Death metal and sludge are two examples of genres that can sound perfectly serviceable even with higher compression. With that said, Lücifer sounds like boiled goat rectum. The master is compressed to the point of constantly crackling and popping as the waveforms are blown up far beyond what sounds even vaguely tolerable. The dense buzzsaw guitars have a pretty cool, gritty tone, but the other layers are crushed into them like a sandwich that’s been sat on and makes the whole thing feel so cramped and convoluted it makes me convulse. Everything is loaded with unintentional static, the bass is covered in mud and the drummer sounds like he’s hitting cardboard. I have to turn the volume down several notches not to get a splitting headache listening to this disaster. For the life of me, I just cannot fathom a mixing engineer handing this in and going home satisfied.
This one major flaw has its ramifications on all other aspects of the album. The vocals are crushed by the static, melding into the thick guitars. The relentless assault cause you to tune out due to utter fatigue, which doesn’t help the similarity between tracks. There’s hardly any bass to speak of, squeezed out of existence by the bulldozed production. Imagining this in a more listenable form just makes me angry, because we could have finally had another decent slab of death ‘n roll, because Lücifer would have been a fine album. Nothing world shocking, but the riffs are meaty and catchy, the rock ‘n roll bounce addictive, the fun-factor towering high. But it was not to be.
There’s only one thing I can recommend about this album; should you listen exclusively on low-quality car speakers, I can see Lücifer being a lot of fun. The locomotive pound of the swagger-filled riffs make for perfect car music, and there is still enough clarity left to the riffs to get enjoyment from their major strength. Any other case however, I can’t recommend it, much as I want to see death ‘n roll get their moment in the limelight. The genre’s curse goes on, and it’s all due to the abysmal production, which in a just world would see the engineer on trial in The Hague for crimes against musicality. Jesus Chrüsler Supercar, fire whoever did this to your baby and get back to me with the next one. I can tell you can do better than this.
DR: 3 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Dr. Music Records
Websites: jesuschruslersupercarsthlm.bandcamp.com | jesuschruslersupercar.com | facebook.com/jesuschruslersupercar
Releases Worldwide: May 24th, 2019