Next exit: Hookline City - Heavy Rock cruising with MOTORJESUS
„One of the best albums I have had the pleasure to mix. Awesome musicianship and most importantly kick-ass songs and excellent vocals! A future classic!" – Dan Swanö (Producer & metal legend of Edge of Sanity, Opeth, Nightingale fame)
Rock rules supreme. Period. And if you think about it, you’ll agree. No matter how extreme any taste in metal might be, if you put on staples such as AC/DC, Motörhead or Sabbath, the fists start pumping, heads start nodding and the party starts rocking. With their 2010 record WHEELS OF PURGATORY Mönchengladbach/Germany-based Rockers MOTORJESUS could already be added to that selection of high quality Rock...
With lots of really great reviews under their belt, countless shows and a steadily growing number of supporters, things have been going really well for MOTORJESUS. “The last record helped a lot in terms of people realising that there’s this really cool band out there”, smiles Chris Birx who is fronting this five-piece, backed by the twin-guitar power of Guido Reuss and Andreas Peters, Roman Jasiczack playing bass and Oliver Beck banging the drums. “But the bottom line for us was: What’s next?” The answer will be heard this February with MOTORJESUS’ newest release ELECTRIC REVELATION. A rocking blend of headbanging riffs, huge choruses and the need to get into your ride and put the pedal to the metal. Add to that the skills by no one else but legendary producer Dan Swanö for the mix, you get a dozen songs that live and breathe Rock’n’Roll to the fullest. Sounds simple? It wasn’t.
Rewind a couple of years. Starting with their debut DIRTY POUNDING GASOLINE, when the band was still called The Shitheadz, and its successor DEATHRIDER these guys (known by then as MOTORJESUS) have been stirring it up big time since 2004. Small shows, big performances, opening for others or headlining: at the end of the night the band was picking pieces of the audiences ass out of their boots again and again. 2010 turned out to be one of the groups’ best years so far with the release of their breakthrough record WHEELS OF PURGATORY. A real success, with critics hailing their fast paced rock and catchy choruses the band was getting more and more attention. Not only by touring with Der W, one of Germans best selling acts, but also by supporting renowned artists such as Motörhead, Anthrax, The Misfits and Prong. You gotta keep the wheels rolling, right?
2012 saw MOTORJESUS starting to work on the follow-up, but things didn‘t go quite as planned: “Right after I was born, doctors found out I had something called a valvular defect in my heart”, Chris explains. “It was obvious that something had to be done about that someday, and I was expecting that to happen sometime in my forties, because it never caused any trouble. But when we were preparing for the record, it got worse and worse, so I had to undergo surgery, while the boys were in the studio doing the basic tracks.” But you can’t keep a good man down, as they say, so Birx is back in the saddle now and ready to let it rip again. Surprisingly, just ‘Rust’, the records’ ballad, deals with that incident. “I just didn’t see any sense in crying all over the new album’, Birx says. “But I have to admit, that there is nothing starker than being confronted with your own mortality. But on the other hand that ‘break‘, if you want to call it that, helped the record. We had the opportunity to let the new material grow on us and to adjust things here and there. The songs were already quite alright, but now they’re really, really cool. The new record had to be on par with the last one, but we also didn’t want to repeat ourselves just for the sake of it”, Chris says proudly.
And indeed, ELECTRIC REVELATION is MOTORJESUS to the core and the next step at the same time. When Birx says “I personally prefer songs that are a little different”, he refers to tracks like ‘The Warning’ with its unusual arrangement, the metallic riffs of the title track or ‘Back In The Action Car’ with its Thin-Lizzy-Swing. “I mean, we do have our way of writing for MOTORJESUS. So there aren’t that many experiments on the record. But we’re totally fine with that.” And why shouldn’t they be? ELECTRIC REVELATION is filled with scores of songs that capture the MOTORJESUS vibe in all its rocking glory. And better fasten those seatbelts – next stop is Hookline City. “Three songs kind of belong together. The total work of art is what matters. We are into records, where music, words and artwork interlock. But this is no concept record!”, he adds. Three songs - ‘Electric Revelation’, ‘Trouble In Motor City’ and ‘Resurrection Man’ - build a story, which in Chris’ words goes something like this: ”Jesus is coming to Sin City to turn shit up! Come on, anybody can put some shitty artwork on the cover and slap some random lyrics on there. You can do better than that!” A little dedication never hurt anybody, right?
Recordings started with their old buddy Achim Kaiser, who has been working with the band since their first demos. For vocals and solos they switched to another friend called Dennis Marschallik, who not only plays in Blood Of God and Synasthasia, but also owns Don Phallus Studios. For mixing the record, MOTORJESUS turned to Dan Swanö for the first time. A bold choice, considering that the former Edge Of Sanity mainman is best known for his work with artists such as Opeth, Katatonia or Marduk. “We had our doubts at first”, Chris admits. “Dan usually works with much more extreme bands than us. But I think this is exactly why he did a killer job with his sonic creation right in the middle between Rock and Metal. Which, by the way, goes pretty good with the slightly more heavy direction we’re taking this time. We’re still a bastard made of Hard Rock, Stoner, Classic Rock and a lot of Heavy Metal. Always have been. But we’re trying to get at least a little bit away from the current clichés. Just look at any other band putting some old car on their artwork. Maybe Volbeat are responsible for that…”, he laughs out loud. While the Danish rockers have risen to international stardom by now, both bands know each other from the days when they played the shitty bars together, just for a place to crash afterwards and, if they got lucky, a beer or two. “Talk about the glory days of selling one shirt, one CD per evening and not knowing how to get to the next gas station”, Birx remembers fondly. “But this is what keeps us grounded. Being able to make music is an absolute honour for us. We’re very privileged in that sense. We are just five friends from Mönchengladbach, rocking it out and writing songs together. This is what we’re all about. And no bullshit.”
Which even adds to the surprise that ELECTRIC REVELATION is. A bunch of regular guys having made one of the best Rock albums of 2014? Hearing is believing. Because with songs like these, the fast lane is the only choice.