[Album Review] Jesus Wept Come Together for Grinding Death Metal on 'Apartheid Redux'

Hailing from Detroit Rot City, Jesus Wept is one of at least four bands in the United States with that name, but they stand apart from the pack as a so-called “death 'n roll” act. By far their biggest musical influence is death-grind progenitors Carcass, leading to a gruesome, thrashing sound. Across one EP and one full-length, the band has struck a chord within the scene, and has elected to re-up their debut EP Crushing Apartheid, this time known as Apartheid Redux. Swapping out a Smashing Pumpkins cover for a W.A.S.P. cover, and adding two new songs, the resulting redux is a bloody twenty-minute affair full of sludge, attitude, and blasphemy.

“Buried Face Down” has a distinct hardcore and metalcore flavor, akin to groups such as Hatebreed, but with a bit more death growling in the mix. It’s a rocking track, with nods to their death metal and hardcore influences to keep things exciting, and it makes for a great opening song. Things get very grindcore in “Drowning in Holy Water,” a burst of pure chaos diluted into a forty-second portion. Coming barrelling down the midway next is “Hammering the Nails,” with a chug-heavy guitar line and a galloping triplet section for some extra points in the death metal category. The second half of the track gets low and slow for a nasty breakdown and a tap-laden solo to send the track off.

“Jesus in Chains (Father in Hell)” has an Eighties metal composition with a death metal Snapchat filter applied. It’s also worth noting that I was not anticipating a dual guitar harmony on an album like this, but this is the track in which we get one and I’m not mad about it. The mid-tempo swagger and machine-like brutality of “Comfortably Dumb” make it stand above the rest, and the outro solo is another fine surprise. “Fucked on the Cross” is a thrash metal act of blasphemy and I love it. It knows where it came from, it knows who it needs to nod to, and I’m here for it. This is a track which I must caution against listening to around spouses or children, as there are samples that… well, read the title of the song again and do the math.

Closing things out is a cover of that Filthy Fifteen cornerstone itself, the PMRC-enabler that is W.A.S.P.’s “Animal (Fuck Like a Beast).” Beyond the use of death growls, there’s not too much different or surprising about this iteration, but it does serve for a fitting, fist-pumping closer to this death n roll slab, a breath of new life into the corpse of this band’s maiden release.

Apartheid Redux is available now via Redefining Darkness Records.