Bass guitarist extraordinaire /vocalist, Ez Gomér got his start in the late-eighties when he joined the Swedish melodic metal band Leviticus in time to perform on its third and finest release Setting Fire To The Earth. During his tenure in Leviticus, Ez struck up a friendship with the bands lead vocalist Terry Haw. A partnership which in time led to the creation of an energetic new group called Jet Circus. After leaving Leviticus, the two wanted to do something fresh and different and, as a result, came up with the creative "hybrid-form" of funky groove-laden hard rock found on Jet Circus' 1991 debut Step On It. Following a tour of the US that same year, Ez and Terry Haw began writing and recording the material that would make up Jet Circus' sophomore effort No Mercy For The Living Dead, but with no label support to speak of the project went unfinished. Jet Circus, for all practical purposes, was placed on hold until 2002 when Ez began thinking of recording a solo album in addition to finishing No Mercy... The good news is that Ez's solo project turned into a new Jet Circus album entitled Look At Death Now.
I might describe Look At Death Now is a heavier musical continuation of Step On It in that it combines a crunchy hard rocking rhythm guitar sound and a rumbling bass heavy low end with Jet Circus' trademark groove-laden vibe. Ez, as one would expect, does an excellent job furnishing the albums heavy duty, prodigious, massive, resounding and all encompassing bass lines. And he proves no slouch on lead vocals either, contributing a warm though slightly gritty mid-octave ranged vocal style. Sayit proves a more than capable quick fingered replacement for Terry H. on lead guitar. Finally, in order to help him complete the project, Ez brought in a number of equally talented musicians in drummer Mikkey Dee (Motorhead), guitarists Tommy Denander (Radioactive) and Stefan Elmgren (Hammerfall), drummer Michael Ulvsgard (Jerusalem), keyboardists Dan Helgesson, Ulf Stenberg and pianist Joakim Holgersson and even strings from the Swedish Radio Symphony Orchestra.
Production values are quite strong in allowing for polished sonics lacking any trace of thinness or muddiness. A crisp and edgy rhythm guitar sound complements an equally clean mix of lead guitar. The bass guitar comes across full and heavy.
After a crunchy riff backed by a punchy bass line drives "One Dime Scape Goat" through its first and second verse in up-tempo fashion, it arrives at a groove flavored chorus reinforced by a touch of vocal harmonies. Sayit comes out on top with over thirty seconds of scorching lead guitar work. "One Dime Scape Goat" talks about the fallen state of man and his sinful nature:
One coin before your feet
Making me generous and sweet
Have you got what I need
To clean up for my sinful deeds
Only to concluded by reinforcing the need for God's love:
And I'll just wait and see
If God's love comes right down to me
Introduced to a drum solo, "Man Rules" energetically advances to an upfront mix of choppy rhythm guitar before reaching a catchy chorus that in no time will have you singing along. Sayit again hits the nail on the head with a nice extended blues flavored solo. The message to "Man Rules" ties into that of "One Dime Scape Goat":
You gotta hold tight, keep it clean
Defend your life with all your might
God in flesh upon the cross
Now, what's your gain
And what's the loss
"Godless Happiness" embarks to several seconds of bluesy riffing before settling down to an even guitar driven mid-tempo pace for its verse portions. Gaining further momentum, the song transitions to an energy-laden chorus underlined by vocal harmonies. I like how the song slows as Ez's bass moves to the front of the mix as he expounds upon the songs theme of "godless happiness":
Godless all in vain
Godless, endless pain
Godless - endless
Sayit is all over the place on this track with his spicy blues based leads.
The albums title track is another good fast paced hard rocker. Kicking in to a driving guitar riff, "Look At Death Now" quickly moves forward until it culminates for a high octane chorus delivered at an upbeat tempo. Sayit's lead guitar is carried over a massive wall of rhythm guitar. "Look At Death Now" focuses on the finished work of Christ on the cross:
And oh, take a look at death now
The Lord Almighty's blood is saving
"Lizzard Love" commences at a laid back mid-tempo pace before the rhythm guitar and bass move to the front of the mix, the two steadily leading the way to a fleeting background vocal driven chorus. Denander joins Sayit on lead guitar and helps to decorate the song with several seconds of bluesy lead guitar work. Ez's bass lines are really grooving on this track.
The piano slowly carrying the ballad "The Way That You Bless Me" through its verse portions underscores the commercial flavored chorus that follows. Once a touch of rhythm guitar enters the mix, "The Way That You Bless Me" moves on to an instrumental passage featuring a lengthy stretch of the albums best lead guitar work.
The album peaks with the incredible "Shooting Star". Taking off to several seconds of bluesy riffing, the song tapers off to a groove-laden mix of edgy rhythm guitar at the start of its first verse. The stylish vocal harmonies accentuating "Shooting Star" at the end of the second help propel it to a catchy hook filled chorus. "Shooting Star" sheds light on the stereo-types associated with the devil and hell:
I hear you think the devil's
Got a party hat on
When hellfire damnation
Is waiting in his kingdom
Try to party as the flames grow higher
Eternity in funeral fire
Opening to a plethora of screaming rhythm guitar, “Skull Of The Poet” advances through its first verse hard and heavy until it crests for a chorus giving rise to a deep and dark sounding ambience. Sayit tears it up with over thirty seconds of gritty work on lead guitar.
The album closes with its second ballad "Fears Of Tomorrow". A blend of rhythm guitar and piano backed by a touch of orchestration holds sway over the song until it reaches a slowly moving chorus with a good laid back feel. Denander makes another guest appearance with several seconds of bluesy lead guitar work.
Look At Death Now proves a consistent hard rocking effort in that all nine of its compositions hold up under repeated play, the albums standout tracks being its faster and more upbeat ones such as "One Dime Scape Goat", "Man Rules", "Godless Happiness", "Shooting Star" and "Skull Of The Poet". Ez's impeccable work on bass guitar effectively complements the flashy riffing of talented newcomer Sayit. A top notch production job only adds to the albums appeal. All in all, it is great to hear Jet Circus again!
Review: Andrew Rockwell - Angelicwarlord.com