STONED JESUS, First Communion (2010, Solitude Productions)

The skull:
Can I get an “Amen”? There’s nothing about this cover that makes sense in the contexts of “Stoned Jesus,” or “First Communion,” unless the communion in question is one between skull and snake, with tongue. Back in my day, we’d have just called that first base. But, there’s no denying the general awesomeness of this cover, from the blissed-out noggin on a plasmatic sun, to the brilliantly ugly purple background, to the best use of a snake yet on a Big Dumb Skull. The skull could be bigger, sure, but this is a great example nevertheless of a cover that manages to cram together a bunch of elements in a way that accentuates the skull, that doesn’t distract from what is rightfully the central element of the composition. Would it have been better if the skull was wearing a crown of thorns? Yes. If the snake held a eucharistic wafer on his forked tongue? Of course. If the skull were smoking a massive doob? Absolutely. But, as they say, the perfect is the enemy of the good, and he who is without sin should be the first stoned, or something. It’s a great cover, is my point.

The music:
Although it’s always to be hoped that a band won’t sound exactly as you imagine they’ll sound, generally, it’s best to not get your hopes up. Stoned Jesus are just another boring Sabbath knockoff, one of millions, offering nothing that hasn’t been heard a billion times already. It’s tempting to ascribe this almost uniform worthlessness in stoner rock bands to the stoning, but I suppose you get this pretty much everywhere. No one automatically assumes that the latest metalcore band is so unambitious because of pot, no one points their finger at the reefer to explain the latest power metal abortion. But still. At least those bands sometimes play fast. That makes them seem less lazy, somewhow. Anyway, Stoned Jesus. I guess it’s mildly intriguing that a band from Ukraine would take up this style, but that interest is not enough to make it through even a single song without a plenitude of sighs and eye-rolls. This release is actually only four long songs, but it might as well be eight, or twelve, because none of them seem to really have a through-line that justifies the ten-plus minute lengths, and every single riff and song sounds exactly the same anyway. Why not release a 7″ with your best 5 riffs on one side, and a cover of “Sweet Leaf” on the other? Save everyone a lot of time.
— Friar Johnsen