Review: The Jasons/Black Russians 7" (2020)
Praise God and Pass The Ammunition! The Jasons, horror-punk's answer to the Ramones and Crystal Lake’s favorite sons, have gone to war with Soviet punks Black Russians, and the ensuing battle has left us with a new split 7”, cheekily titled The Jasons Saving Tomorrow From Black Russians, or, on the flip side, Black Russians Saving Tomorrow From The Jasons. No matter what side you chose, you’re getting a fat slice of hard-hitting punk tunes from two of the scenes most memorable and talented bands; it’s no spoiler alert to say this album is amazing, but, if you want the details, you’re gonna have to keep reading.
Starting with the Black Russian side of the split, these Cold War comrades kick things off with “Kill The Jasons,” which opens with a wailing riff and immediately plunges into a fast-paced vocal assault describing, well, all the ways the Black Russians want to dispatch their masked, maniacal fiends. The growling vocals and fast, bouncy riff propels the listener quickly into “Invasion USA,” a punk track that actually sounds like it could be a mashup of The Jasons and fellow horror-pop-punks The Lillingtons. Without delving into the past discography of the Black Russians, it absolutely sounds as if they’re the perfect punk pairing with these hockey-masked hooligans. While the 7’ copies of the split only contain two songs by each band, the CD edition adds one song to each “side,” with Black Russians helping a USSR-turned version of The Jasons “Red Blooded American Punk Rock,” aptly titled “Red Blooded Soviet Punk Rock.” Imagine a dirtier, grittier version of the original, and you won’t be off the mark.
Flipping over to The Jasons’ side, mommy’s favorite monsters start off with the cheekily named “Kill A Commie For Mommy,” parodying the Black Russian’s “Mommy Is A Commie.” While it’s not canonically clear how Mrs. Voorhees views post-Cold War relations, it’s hard to imagine that she wouldn’t enjoy this rip-roaring aural assault. "Defcon 5 - A Rocket To Russia Tonight!,” screams Jason V, before the rest of The Jasons launch into a squealing, screaming, riff-laden attack. “Red Dawnna” continues in The Jasons’ unique blend of serious punk rocking and comic assholery, leaning heavily on Ritchie Valens’ “Donna,” turning Valens’ high-school sweetheart into a double-agent working against the CIA: “It’s mutually assured destruction when we are apart, Red Dawnna took a hammer and a sickle to my heart.” The Jasons consistently take the piss on their albums, straddling the line between serious and “are you fucking serious?,” and this split is evidence that they have no plans on changing it up.
The album ends with “A Blaze In The Soviet Sky,” The Jasons’ take on the Black Russians “A Blaze In The Soviet Sky,” and, like the tracks before, it continues the albums aggressive, fast-pace attack on the listener, pummeling itself into ears and brains in the very best of ways. For listeners who absolutely can’t let a good thing end, and for those who enjoy a very long joke, Bandcamp listeners can find “Kill A Commie (Elevator Music Version),” which is exactly what it sounds like: a 55 minute loop of what “Kill A Commie” would have sounded like if it were muzak in a early 80’s department store. You really can’t make this shit up.
Saving The World From… is an absolute blast, showcasing two extremely enjoyable bands doing what they do best while also flinging friendly barbs in each others’ directions. Neither band will likely win over naysayers with this release, with both bands working entirely, happily, and amazingly within their comfort zones, but, for the fans, this split is a welcome gift at the end of a very, very long year.
You can find Saving The World From… on CD/vinyl at Mom's Basement Records. Stream Saving The World From… on Spotify or Bandcamp.