Release DetailsLABEL Lifeforce Records
RELEASED ON 1/9/2007
I Am Jim Jones
posted on 1/2007 By:
It isn’t often that I hear a group full of attention deficient musicians who manage to explore many different creative avenues, and not come across as sounding like they seriously need to get on some meds. Somehow, there’s a pretty big buzz around I Am Jim Jones, the Lifeforce Records debut album from Richmond, Virginia’s Cassius. They’re a very talented, musically provocative metalcore outfit, and for the style, there haven’t been many debuts to cross my path that have left such a lasting impression due to the actual songwriting, rather than the mere technical ability and forthright passion of the artists. There’s still a little room for improvement, but I can understand why the label would push these guys hard.
This album took me a little off-guard at first, and kept me there for most of the running length upon my initial listen. A pensive instrumental opening segues into proper opener “Homeauxthug”, a nearly Cephalic Carnage grinder with huge grooves and belching low vocals, followed by the adventurously melodic, fast-paced “Skingraft”, a tune that feels like it’s over just when it starts getting really good. Myke Terry throws down one hell of a vocal performance throughout this disc, sounding just a little bit like Josh Scogin (The Chariot / Norma Jean) at times, but definitely showing off his own personality as well. He doesn’t fly off into any clean singing, but it’s certainly no big loss seeing how strong and varied his aggressive vocalizations are, best displayed during the closing few moments of the inventively-styled “Tale Of The Leper”.
Between The Buried And Me comparisons aren’t too far off the mark, but to my ear “Deadbeat” sounds more like a melding of Symbolic-era Death with a tasteful bit of Byzantine thrown in towards the latter half of the track, complete with a badass bass guitar outro. I really can’t say anything too bad about the combination, and it’s like nothing I’ve ever heard from BTBAM. The docile textures of “Elate And Subtract” bring to mind the seriously underrated Converge gem “In Her Shadow”, but then lead immediately into the screaming, distortion-heavy mess of “Funeral March”, an unstructured assembly of various stock breakdowns. It’s the low point of the disc, but soon afterwards “Belle Gunness” successfully brings energetic melody, vibrant blasts and chugging slow riffs together with a decent array of guttural vocals, and a solid yet dynamic flow, while “Harmony” continues this endeavor on a stoned, foreboding doom-like note.
The one thing that really stuck in my side was how short this disc is in the sense that virtually every single one of these twelve tracks sounds abbreviated and overly edited. This whole album sounds like an exercise in Coitus Interruptus. The songs are so damn powerful, but in such a scaled-back way, lengthwise, it feels like eating a bunch of delicious donut holes, when you really wish you could just have a couple huge fucking donuts in the same flavor instead. I’m not saying to make each song a seven-plus minute epic, but material of such high quality really could have used a more thorough fleshing-out of the mood of each track, which was quite disappointing. Personally, I wanted a little more time to spend getting to know this band, and it felt like more of a tease.
I Am Jim Jones is worthy of the buzz it’s getting, but I can tell Cassius have yet to gain a solid foothold on what they’re trying to accomplish. With songwriting this compelling and angry, I feel the band owes it to themselves to not hold back and really allow the material to stretch as far as possible within the parameters of what they’re doing. We speak of ‘promise’ often, and Cassius have what it takes to stand apart if they really buckle down and go for the throat on their next album. I hope these guys don’t wind up as victims of the metalcore purge which is surely following the binge. Recommended to fans of A Life Once Lost, Norma Jean, and Blood Has Been Shed.
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