Formed in 2002 in York, England, RSJ are veterans of the UK metal underground, and it showsas they’ve had time to hone their craft. The performances on their brand new release are super tight and they can stop and change tempos on the dime.
Stylistically it felt like the band is all over the place. The arrangements feel like they were traipsing among the more popular extreme genres at the moment: grindcore, djent, stoner, metalcore, sludge and can’t always quite lock in for the magic formula. There is a lot to like about this CD – the band is tight, with especially outstanding bass and drum work. Yes, bass guitar makes a return to metal genre! I wouldn’t mind hearing a bit more variety coming out of the guitars as the open note riffs can only grind so much before they start losing the listener’s focus.
The title and opening track “Giant Glenn” is a punishing doom/stoner/sludge number that stays pretty much in one tempo, with a punishing slowness dragging concrete blocks and dumping them on the listener courtesy of Dan Cook’s screaming vocal barrage. “Fuck Off Joe”, the second track, switches styles into Napalm Death type of grindcore that is somewhat punctuated by some sludge moments, and moves into a gang chorus which delivers in spades. “Right Turn Clyde” follows pretty much the same pattern. “Bloody Mary” is the most interesting from composition perspective and offers a glimpse into a more varied guitar work, lots of tempo changes and features a fantastic clean vocal chorus. “Dear Jane” is a melancholy guitar ballad that breaks the first part of the album nicely and gives the listener respite from the relentless sonic assault.
The second part of the album continues pretty much in the same vein, alternating between sludge, djent and core elements. RSJ are not always successful at mixing these elements, as the case is on songs like “Gordon’s Alive”, where the slow breaks completely lost the point of the song which was the killer thrash riff.
While not for everyone, RSJ might be just the ticket for those listeners that like extreme metal and want to hear a new approach and mixing of the styles.
Standout tracks: “Bloody Mary”, “Giant Glenn”