June 21, 2019 Stabbing Westward – Iwo Jesus (Limited Edition EP Review)
Well over a decade after their unexpected break up, the Industrial band known as Stabbing Westward reformed with original Vocalist Christopher Hall, Keyboardist Walter Flakus, and long time Guitarist Mark Eliopulos. Coming together for some reunion gigs in 2015 and 2016, soon joined by The Dreaming’s Carlton Bost on bass, 2017 would find the band on a full-fledged tour. Now with former Orgy Drummer Bobby Amaro a part of the pack since last year, it is has been non-stop touring for the rejuvenated Stabbing Westward. In fact, they even have teased some new studio work.
Coming in drips and drabs, in 2016, they unleashed a re-recorded version of the song “Plastic Jesus”on the Cold Waves V compilation and then a song called “Home in You,” which was originally written for the 2001 self-titled album, but was too heavy for it, was released via the Cold Waves VI compilation in 2017.
Exciting for die-hard followers, Hall expressed in a 2018 interview with Cryptic Rock that the band would love to record more new songs, but are somewhat apprehensive due to the current state of music and the fact that most people who have come out to the shows just want to indulge in the older material. A truthful and honest statement about the current attention span of people, some are still holding out hope for new Stabbing Westward material, especially the band themselves. That in mind, they did satisfy some urge to release something fresh with dusting off their old Iwo Jesus EP, re-recording it and pressing it to limited edition vinyl for release on April 18th.
Originally recorded back in 1989 on an 8 track tape machine synced to an Emax II Sampler and an EMU SP1200 sampling drum machine, 100 copies were originally printed and sold both at local shows as well as Wax Trax Record store in Chicago. Boasting the songs “Shame,” “P.O.M.F. (The Thing I Hate),” “Violent Mood Swings,” and “Plastic Jesus,” the band made the decision to try and recreate the songs as faithfully as possible. Doing so with some older gear, mixed in with some more modern pieces, they keep the original vibe in tact, that is even with “Shame” and “Violent Mood Swings” featuring some different lyrics than the versions most people know. That in mind, the anger of the past versions is present and accounted for in spades thirty years after the original recordings, respectively. This is while “P.O.M.F. (The Thing I Hate)” and “Plastic Jesus” still come hard lyrically, featuring the authentic vibe of the era they were originally conceived.
Iwo Jesus gives you the feeling Stabbing Westward are dipping their toes in the water to check the temperature, instead of hitting fans with new material. Maybe it is a good plan of attack, considering not only are their dedicated fans still coming to the shows, but a younger crowd who are finding and digging their old stuff are as well. Furthermore, considering Iwo Jesus is self-produced and self-released, they really have no one to answer to, so why not, they have got nothing to lose, and everything to gain.
Playing it safe for now, think of what could be if Iwo Jesus was Iwo Jesus 2.0 with a full set of new songs that rocks instead being a walk down memory lane? Something to ponder for a minute, it is still fun to hear the band recording again. That said, if you are fan you have probably already picked up the limited edition release, because it is only a pressing of 300 Purple 12 inch vinyl, since having sold out via the band’s website. Worth looking for on eBay, and hoping for more new material, Cryptic Rock gives 2019’s Iwo Jesus 4 out of 5 stars.