Jihad - Jihad - Live In Bratislava 28.02.2015 Dark EBM Souls
Given that I have reviewed several releases on Electro Aggression Records over the last few years, the once innocuous band name Jihad has popped up a few times, but usually as a remixer for artists primary associated with Electro Aggression Records like Object, Red + Test, KIFOTH, Pyrroline, Teardown, The Opposer Divine, Tri-State, Terminal State etc. However, with no definite release date yet, there is a new full length double CD in the works, which will cement the return of Jihad as the solo project of James Mendez. Rich Mendez has moved on to other interests outside of the music world.
The band Jihad was comprised of the Brothers James and Rich Mendez. They found a home on RAS DVA Records, which released their 'A Prayer In The Night' album in 1997. Just one year prior, the brothers found their exclusive track "The Hands That Hide (Exclusive Version)" on the benchmark 4CD compilation on RAS DVA Records titled, 'There Is No time'. Label owner Ric Lasiak assembled an amazing document of the then current industrial EBM scene. Bands like Dive, Benestrophe, Mentallo And The Fixer, Out Out, Blok 57, Klinik, U-Tek, Wumpscut, Haujobb etc. graced the 4 discs and left the fans in awe of the mega musical assembly. Things were quiet with Jihad for a long time, though James did keep busy. Recently he has been very involved the with remixing and live performances which bring us to the release of Jihad’s live CD commemorating the live performance at the Dark EBM Souls Festival in Bratislava (Slovakia) on February 28, 2015.
Junior of kFactor did the CD layout and Arnte of Pyrroline took care of the mastering. Half of the tracks are from 'A Prayer In The Night'. Fan favorites like "People Of The Land", Guardian Angel, "Looking Glass" and the well-known "Hands That Hide" drive the merciless electro pulsations right through your face with top-notch execution and precision. James' throaty vocals keep the true vintage sounds of Jihad alive and well nearly 20 years after 'A Prayer In The Night' was released. Also included on the CD is "Shades Of Grey" from the RAS DVA compilation, 'Dora Blue'. 'Dora Blue' contains 3 Jihad tracks as well as interview tracks with both James and Rich. "Shades Of Grey" fits nicely into the set. I sense a slight atmospheric tinge to the song that adds a nice feel to the live version. Of course with the new album on the horizon we a get a sneak peek at 2 new tracks that will be featured on the new album. "(I Can't) Let Go" and "Visions" are the new tracks and boy do they deliver a glimpse into the awesomeness of what's coming. Given that the new stuff has found a home on Electro Aggression Records there are 2 things you can count on. The first thing you can expect is a long wait. The artists are never rushed with EAR. With no release date set, it could be a while. The second is that when it does eventually get released, it will be jam-packed with all sorts of amazing remixes and extras that will leave the consumers very satisfied with the end result. Both new tracks are excellent as I previously stated. I found myself more intrigued with "Visions". It has a sweet groove that will swallow you into a sonic chasm. I can feel the music surrounding me on my JBL's. For those lucky enough to have been there, I’m jealous! This is my favorite track on the disc! The final offering on the live CD is a cover of Benestrophe's "Endangered Species" which Rich Mendez was part of prior to Jihad along with Gary and Dwayne Dassing whom later formed Mentallo And The Fixer. James dedicated the Benestrophe cover to Ric Lasiak, the founder of RAS DVA who passed away back in 2014 due to complications with cancer. Those words were nice to hear on the intro to the track. Very classy James! The crowd seemed to really appreciate the gesture as well as the badass cover of "Endangered Species".
I usually avoid live CDs at all costs as they are usually poorly done and not very memorable for the right reasons. Occasionally artists get it right. Jihad did just that. James did a really nice job with this release. He surrounded himself with quality people to help out with the layouts, photos and the audio mastering. The end product is solid with great sound and heavy doses of revelry and anticipation.
You can head over to the Jihad page on Bandcamp for a sweet 15 track download of 'A Prayer In The Night' which includes a lot for a mere $6.00. You can check out the live experience via James Mendez's YouTube channel HERE.
Jan 05 2016
Writer and contributor on Brutal Resonance
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