see also our Beyond the Veil review
Notice anything about this band's record label? Yep, it's part of the EMI empire. The Last Days Of Jesus are a major label band. Or at least, that's the status they enjoy in their home country of Slovakia, where the music scene is obviously very different to the way it is around here. The prospect of a band like The Last Days Of Jesus grabbing a major deal in the UK is so remote as to be laughable. It's an impossible dream for any band operating in any branch of the underground. In Slovakia, however, it seems the underground is the overground - or at least, it has enough above-the-parapet profile to make the big bad corporate music biz sit up and take notice.
So, what has the mighty EMI machine got on its hands here? A manic, crazy-eyed, metal-punk-weirdness outfit with a nice line in songs about...well, Christianity, mostly, or so it seems from the lyrics. Christianity, and how it's a Bad Thing. 'I'm a soldier, I'm a big boy/Jesus is my lovely toy', Psycho Mary 'O', the vocalist, informs us in 'Army Of God'. In 'Corrupted', he remarks: 'Here is no place for God's son anymore/The second coming is just a joke, I know/Now I can feel the pain in your heart/...I can sell all this a-a-art' - a piece of songwriting which perhaps cynically reveals the band's agenda. They're anti-religion - but they know that anti-religion *sells*. And so, it would appear, does EMI!
Well, that's the big idea behind the racket. The racket itself is an engaging mish-mash of metallic-buzzsaw guitars and relaxed-yet-driving drums. Psycho Vajco (every member of the band is Psycho-something-or-other) is one of those drummers who can slap down a full-on rhythm while contriving to make it all sound effortless and economical. Add some samples, squiggles, and keyboard atmospherics, and those dry, deadpan, mittel-Europe accented vocals, and there you have The Last Days Of Jesus.
The band only drop their agenda for the obligatory wacky cover, which in this case is a version of Visage's 'Fade To Grey'. Now, I've heard so many 'ironic' versions of golden chart smasheroonies from the 80s in my time that I tend to groan inwardly when yet another crops up. However, The Last days Of Jesus treat the song with an affectionate disrespect which works surprisingly well - as if Marilyn Manson suddenly had a sense of humour surgically implanted into his soul.
The Last Days Of Jesus really come into their own on stage, where they come across as rather more punk rock than they do on this metal- oriented album. But they're following their own cracked vision, and they've convinced a major record label to bankroll their antics, so for their individuality and audacity we should praise them. Yea, e'en as we praise the Lord. Amen.
The website: http://www.lastdays.host.sk
Reviewed by Uncle Nemesis: http://www.nemesis.to