Jesus Hand is a brand new straight edge band from Maryland that recorded their demo (free to download, might I mention) as a two piece. Rather than being a typical youth crew style type of hardcore that you'd associate with straight edge (which there's no problem with that), they play a more emotionally-fueled, melodic type of hardcore reminiscent of bands like With Honor or Sinking Ships. On a side note, the band features Jeff Baker who also drums in Passengers who released my favorite 7" of last year.
Now on to the music. "Second Class" kicks of with a speedy backbone of drums and a melodic chord progression. You'll notice the two go back and forth doing alternating vocals. They also come together on different parts which help make these parts more urgent and intense. After the second verse comes one of the more heavy parts on the demo, with the lines "You've made stepping stones of our skin and bones/And taken our lives to climb upon your thrones."
Next up is "Losing Count." This one starts off a lot more laid back than the first track with a catchy guitar riff and 16th notes on the high hat. They are able to differ the dynamics up and provide a much more intense chorus. Here we see the more self-actualization filled lyrics with lines like "I've spent my life counting the weeks, while losing count of the days and never stopping to breathe and take in those moments that really mean something." Their dual-vocal attack and the tenacity they have in the vocals makes it seem sincere and not cheesy at all. The ending is one of my favorite parts on the demo. A blast beat accompanies a frantic chord progression and perhaps the most conviction that the main vocalist shows during the entire 3 songs. This track starts and ends at almost polar opposites, but it all ties together well which is one of the reasons why I enjoyed it a lot.
The first half or so of "Destinations" is a pretty minimalistic song. With the verses relying mostly on snare and bass with a repeating chord progression, the chorus is a burst of self-assurance and energy with lyrics like "An open mind keeps me confident that my directions are always relevant." The ending of this song is the most raw and intense part of this demo. The first time around the outro passage the guitars lay off a little bit and let the vocals, bass, and drums carry the intensity. This is were the stripped-down but still very heavy sound comes to play. But the second time through sees both vocalist screaming their lungs out and the band at full blast. My favorite lyrics on here are yelled out "My path to heaven is a dead end street/But if you find a way around, pass it on to me."
The only real negative thing I can say about this demo (and it's probably pretty obvious) is the production quality. It was recorded in Garageband, but it's definitely understandable considering this is a demo and a new project. Maybe doing a cassette release will give the cold, digital feel to it some warm analog goodness. Definitely don't write this band off just because of the sound quality of a demo, their potential shines throughout the duration. I included the embed link, go download it for free if you like what you hear. You can also check them out on Stereokiller here: http://jesushand.stereokiller.com/