When you have a group which consists of musicians who have been a part of notable bands in the death metal realms like The Haunted, Scar Symmetry, Soilwork, Hypocrisy, Invocator and Konkhra, you would be forgiven for making the logical assumption that the following project would be in the realms of Death Metal. Yet, this four-piece based out of Copenhagen are as far removed from the genre that their experience has come from as they can be. Road To Jerusalem instead have headed in the direction of experimental sounding, classic rock styled music and their self-titled debut can be seen as the first step on the road to the promised land… Yes, that segue was terrible but meh, deal with it!
The first major thing of note about this release is that it has a very prominent focus on the whole atmospheric nature of the tracks. All of them have a very ‘Post Rock’ feel to them in terms of that multi-layered, heavily chorus and delayed echo abuse thing. It’s very minimalistic in terms of actual structure and activity but when it actually is executed it comes across as much larger than it first seems to be. This, in combination with the hypnotic and tight rhythm section provides a real rich background for the very distinct vocals which come across as a mix between Chris Cornell’s gravelly rawness and Robert Plant’s insufferable wailing. So, to compound the above, it’s a very watered down bastardization of Led Zeppelin and Soundgarden with some heavy post-rock wishy-washy bollocks and a touch of classic prog atmosphere.
Track wise, there’s not much to go on about here. You can clearly hear the influences and similarities to the sounds and styles mentioned above, but the overall execution just lacks that ‘something’ to make it really stand out and noticeable. Yes, the hypnotic drums are a joy to listen to, they really carry the album from the opening “Andromeda’s Suffering” to the closing “Jack O’ Diamonds” and their intricate and mesmerising patterns do give a great foundation for the layers of guitar to dance their way across. There are some big bluesy moments in the way of teasing licks which are placed between vocal lines and that tight but free-flowing lead style delivered with minimal gain and more of a well driven, warm crunchy tone and there is even some dirty slide guitar buried in the tracks in places too, but there is a glaring lack of fire in the guitar which makes these bluesy moments sing out the way you’d expect the classic rock/blues approach too. The same can be said about the heavier sections where the grungier elements are more prevalent – they have the distortion but it lacks that edge to it which makes it as dirty as the ‘Seattle Sound’ of the 90’s.
The Road To Jerusalem from Copenhagen is roughly 4400km in distance. It’s a long journey, and with this as the starting point, it might take a lot longer to reach the destination!