The ties between Stoner Rock and Grunge run deep. Back in the early ‘90s, bands like Nirvana, Soundgarden, Sleep, Kyuss, and Fu Manchu all rose to respective prominence while channeling the same reverence for the ‘70s and heavy riff delivery.
Of course, these genres eventually splintered, with Grunge taking the spotlight.
And while the world embraced Grunge and the rest of the Alt Rock movement, it also took in Industrial Rock/Metal—that fusion of the mechanical and heavy.
As music evolved in the ‘90s, bands found their own individual niches, and they began specializing in their own sounds.
Occasionally, though, you’ll uncover someone who effortlessly blends those genres from the ‘90s—someone who can mix the radio-bound hooks of Grunge with the fuzzy weight of Stoner Rock and the careful production of Industrial Rock.
That’s exactly what Replica Jesus does on Echoes From the Expanse. That ability to draw from multiple influences makes Replica Jesus undeniably fun—and totally unpredictable.
About Replica Jesus
Replica Jesus is a Derby, UK-based band that was first founded in 2016. Replica Jesus is:
- Mike Knight – Vocals, Guitars
- Howard Rigg – Guitars, Synths
- Stu Cheeseman – Drums, Vocals
- Lee Barber – Bass, Vocals
Interestingly, the artwork for Echoes From the Expanse was provided by Rhys Pugh, an artist who worked on 3D modeling for the 2013 blockbuster Gravity. The album was recorded and mixed by Richard Collins at Snug Recording Co., and it was mastered by Pete Maher.
Echoes From the Expanse Album Review
Release Date: February 3, 2023
1. Everything Rots
“Everything Rots” blasts forward with one foot in the Stoner Rock scene (think Monster Magnet) and one foot in the unchained (and unpredictable) Grunge and Alt Rock of the ‘90s.
With those elements as the album’s starting point, it sounds fresh but familiar—and Replica Jesus rides those qualities from one song to the next with persistent, high-energy riffs!
2. Professional Liar
As with much of Echoes From the Expanse, “Professional Liar” contains a certain swagger that seems to permeate everything Replica Jesus touches.
In “Professional Liar,” we hear big, expansive, and mysterious bass, drums, and guitar—similar to Queens of the Stone Age at their most experimental, bringing the band right up against the threshold of Space Rock.
“Headshot” is another high-energy, foot-stomping romp combining Monster Magnet energy with delicious Stoner Rock fuzz.
We also hear a new side of Mike Knight’s vocal approach, as he shouts into the second half for great results.
And don’t miss that tantalizing synth!
4. Fresh Flesh
“Fresh Flesh” is immediately gloomy and Industrial, and it calls to mind artists like Rob Zombie, especially with those thick, chunky riffs and piercing guitar notes used as ornamental accent pieces.
And although “Fresh Flesh” contains a great deal of Industrial cues in its songwriting, its chorus is still undeniably catchy, ensuring you’ll want to sing along.
5. Come Back Better
One of the most complex songs on the record, “Come Back Better” kicks off with Stoner Rock delivered at Punk Rock speeds. And although we occasionally pick up the slightest Doom influence, “Come Back Better” remains a bottle rocket ready to explode.
6. Switchblade Eyes
“Switchblade Eyes” has the best song title on the album. Although the song contains a slow, plodding bass line (especially in the intro), its chorus is a QOTSA-inspired romp.
Listen closely to that introduction: “Monsters come in many sizes,” a voice says over a tape recording.
As a song, “Resolution” is big and layered, and its massive vocals are only matched by those massive riffs in the chorus. Again, you’ll hear elements of Space Rock, but you’ll also get moments of Psychedelic Rock with the song’s chaotic breakdown.
8. Lost Transmission
Slow and plodding, “Lost Transmission” is a semi-Space Rock jam that could have been plucked from the ‘90s—think of a more experimental version of the Toadies.
9. Second Hand Crucifix
“Second Hand Crucifix” is another dark, gloomy jam (think Narcosis, at least in the introduction) that follows the quiet/loud/quiet template of the ‘90s, but adds in a cacophony of Stoner Rock sounds and textures. It’s an unpredictable track, and it’s the most complex on all of Echoes From the Expanse, making it a powerful closer.
Final Score: 9/10
Standout Tracks: “Everything Rots” and “Headshot”
Pros: Replica Jesus is a fresh voice in the Stoner Rock space, serving up tasty hooks with dashes of Space Rock and Industrial Rock for extra flavor.
For a debut album, Echoes From the Expanse is remarkably complex and layered, demonstrating a great level of maturity among the band members.
Just as important: Echoes From the Expanse is expertly mixed and mastered—critical for such a diverse record. Everything pops on this record, and that helps it resonate.
Cons: There’s not a ton to dislike here, though listeners might identify a couple of challenges.
This is a high-octane record that rarely lets up, creating a breathless experience that may tire traditional Stoner Rock listeners familiar with the occasional psychedelic or instrumental reprieve.
And although this is an album packed with consistently strong songs, it’s hard to identify a true single that can work as an anchor point.
Still, these issues are small, and Echoes From the Expanse really comes down to how your tastebuds respond to the band’s unique flavors.