It is hard to believe that the English seaside resort of Brighton could give birth to a band as vicious sounding as Jonestown. Their debut July 2014 release EP The Erebus And The Terror showed promise but their debut album Aokigahara raises the bar even higher. Available digitally from March 31st 2016 firstly via jonestownbrighton.bandcamp.com/ for £4.99 followed by iTunes. It contains 8 tracks that I think capture the mood of early industrial noise merchants Godflesh.
Aokigahara is a sonically relentless, brutal assault that takes the listener inside the mind of vocalist Harley Anderson whose vocal style comes across like an instrument at times. Opening track ‘Deliverance’ has a calm before the storm intro as all hell breaks loose with a huge stuttering riff from guitarist Craig Radford backed by the drum barrage of Rich Owen. The tormented vocals bind the song into a hate fuelled wrecking ball of fury. ‘Cenodoxus’, the 1st single lifted from the album of course shows no hint of commerciality. Point proven by the pneumatic drum patterns and acerbic guitar lines that peel through a grinding main riff.
The immediate, no nonsense bludgeoning grooves catapult ‘Borderline’ into the red. ‘Mass Extinction’ is a lesson in punishing grind as a sledgehammer like main riff twists and turns throughout. Harley’s most guttural vocal on the album compliments the suffocating soundscapes of the title track ‘Aokigahara’. ‘Apres Moi’ is probably the most straight ahead metal track with touches of Entombed in the guitar tone but the drums dominate throughout. Totally pulverising. ’33rd Parallel’ could be the soundtrack to the apocalypse as the dense time changes heard through headphones are mind blowing.
Closing track and my highlight is ‘Deadweight’. It is almost melodic death metal containing some fluid guitar lines running through the rage. Considering the mood of the album it is fitting that it was named after a forest of the same name situated at the foot of Mount Fuji in Japan which translates to ‘suicide forest’ or ‘sea of trees’. It is a well known suicide spot and the album conveys the bleak romance in returning yourself to the Earth. A place to admit defeat or to redeem yourself.
Jonestown band line up :-
Harley Anderson – Vocals.
Craig Radford – Guitar.
Tony Hardwick – Bass guitar.
Rich Owen – Drums.
Album track listing :-
Mass Extinction 6.