Wheels Of Purgatory
There could hardly be a better symbol of Mönchengladbach rock act Motorjesus’ ambitions than the cover of their latest album, Wheels Of Purgatory, due out on 10 December 2010 on Drakkar/Sony: the Son of God with a fag in the corner of his mouth, riding a black Pontiac V8, bolting straight from hell on his way to new adventures. “We preach rock’n’roll,” vocalist Chris ‘Howling’ Birx explains, delivering this solemn statement with wink, just like the album’s inspired artwork isn’t to be taken entirely seriously. That this obvious sense of humour also includes verve and fun, wildness and spiritedness, but first and foremost a lot of energy and a talent for haunting compositions becomes as obvious on this masterpiece as it did on the heavy rock albums Dirty Pounding Gasoline (2004, released under the name of The Shitheadz), which was celebrated by the press and extremely popular with the metal community, and Deathrider (2006), both of them earning the band countless live appearances: from youth clubs to concert venues, alongside heroes great and small, from Motörhead to Anthrax, from Volbeat to Misfits, from Prong to Hatesphere, from President Evil to A.O.K. And now there’s their latest album, Wheels of Purgatory – Motorjesus are really letting it rip again!
It’s their extremely successful mix of traditional hard rock, down-to-earth metal, sprinklings of rock’n’roll and occasional 90s grunge and stoner rock elements which make Motorjesus stand out. A mix which comes across more homogenously and conclusively in 2010 than ever before. “I feel that Wheels Of Purgatory sounds better overall than its predecessor,” Birx reckons. “Deathrider featured a number of very good songs, but to us, the album also had its weak spots. This time around, the record really gets down to business from the first to the very last note. It’s much more coherent, which is probably also due to the fact that we’ve returned to our stylistic roots.” The reasons for this return are fairly obvious: after a number of short-term line-up changes in 2008 and 2009, Motorjesus are back with their strongest line-up ever. What exactly does this mean? With the exception of their new bassist, Roman Jasiczak, the band is operating in the same constellation as in their early days, in other words with Chris Birx, the two guitarists, Andy Peters and Guido Reuss, and drummer Oliver Beck. These musicians are extremely well rehearsed and share the same musical direction. Yet there was no masterplan for their current songs: “We simply started to write new numbers without worrying about their direction. Perhaps the great homogeneity of the material is also due to the fact that a number of tracks were conceived in jam sessions at our rehearsal room.”
Wheels Of Purgatory was recorded between July and September 2010 at the Sonic Sound Studio in Mönchengladbach, produced and mixed by Achim Kaiser, and mastered, as usual, at the Principal Studios in Münster. The result is definitely worth hearing, in terms of its compositions as well as its sound. The opener ‘Motor Discipline’ sees Motorjesus crossbreed rock with metal, refining this explosive nitrogen mix with a number of surprises. The same applies to the consciously snotty ‘King Of Dead End Road’ and the harsh ´Hammer Of The Lord’ with its ironically witty lyrics on the Redeemer’s new role. “The song describes Jesus as an action hero along the lines of Arnold Schwarzenegger,” Birx points out, adding: “But we only play with all this sacral-religious symbolism, like our band name does; serious blasphemy is completely alien to us, after all we were all raised as good catholic boys.”
Motorjesus have recorded a total of 13 powerful rock songs plus a cover version of the Neil Young classic, ‘Old Man’, Wheels Of Purgatory’s atmospheric finale. As already mentioned above: this biblical purgatory puts the heat not only on the Pontiac-driving Jesus, but also stands for the inner fervour of the latest Motorjesus album. Wheels Of Purgatory – a heavenly heavy rock album, and at the same time a veritable ride to hell and back!