Motorjesus - Deathrider Review
by Mark Hensch
Not unlike that grizzled old war veteran in your favorite grimy bar, the band known as Motorjesus is full of history. Initially formed under the name The s***headz back in 1992, the Deutsch stoner/hard rock outfit faced massive censorship (where in most countries their albums were labeled under "The Xheadz" and so they eventually disbanded in 2004 after their only full-length, Dirty Pounding Gasoline. In 2006, the band came back into the music universe under the moniker Motorjesus, and a new album entitled Deathrider.
What follows on said album is almost surprisingly run-of-the-mill radio rock, not unlike a toned-down Black Label Society or Corrosion of Conformity. Throw in Soundgarden's weaker moments, and really that's all you get. Vocalist Chris Birx has an impressive set of vocal chords, as his voice betrays a sort of gritty, raw melodicism. Twin guitar threats Andreas Peters and Guido Reuss have some solid chops, their riffs containing the bare minimum of punch to give this band a "hard" rock tag, but never enough that it would threaten radio airplay. Peters in particular has a tendency to inject some much needed fretwork into the mix, and his various solos are a welcome addition that shows this band is a little bit more experienced than the younger, less talented bands that Motorjesus would definitely get swallowed up by if they were on the radio. Bassist Mark Neschen and drummer Oliver Beck combine to form a decent if unremarkable rhythm section, and both manage to hold all twelve songs down with a well-anchored groove.
Why is it then that I cannot get into this album properly if all the above is true? I think the answer lies in how bland and insipid it can be; honestly, I've heard so many bands in this vein that they'd almost have to sprout extra heads in a live act to shock me anymore. By no means is Deathrider a bad album; rather, I'd just say it is an unfortunate example of how bands could set themselves apart by exploring more and expanding their horizons.
This is after all a music review, so I'll highlight some of the choice cuts for those still interested. Opening track "Legion of Rock" is a solid call-to-arms that bristles with pent-up energy, and I'm also going to point out the restrained, steady hand of "10 Feet Underground," which starts quiet and melodic but eventually works itself up into an impressive shower of fireworks. The intro riffs on "Distortion Sleep" are amongst the thickest on the whole record, and the surprisingly mellow "The Undertaken" has a woodsy vibe to it that would go over here in the states with major praise. Not sure why, but "Black Fuel Domination" really kicks ass in my book, with full-frontal riffing and energetic bombast. "The Evil" ends things on a catchy, doom-rawk high as well, and is also well worth checking out.
In short, this album is pretty average. It would be worth a cheap purchase I suppose, but I doubt it would be essential to anyone besides die-hard kraut rockers, stoner band fans, or censor protesters. Thankfully, the Internet provides potential buyers like yourselves with multitudes of worthy samples. If you think you may like them, try it out. Maybe you'll find something worth listening to, or maybe not. Your call.
1. Legion of Rock
3. 10 Feet Underground
5. Distortion Sleep
6. The Howling
7. The Undertaken
9. Invisible Man
10. Black Fuel Domination
11. Death Hammer Overload
12. The Evil
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Motorjesus - Deathrider
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