Stereo Terror: FirstJason – Jason Is Watching!

Release Year

Track Listing
1) Jason Is Watching!
2) Red Red Red
3) Sink Or Swim
4) You Better Run!
5) Soul Seller
6) Machete Is My Friend
7) Power From The Pain
8) Jason Never Dies!

Everyone knows who Jason Voorhees from the Friday The 13th series is. Even if you’ve never seen one of the movies, everyone and their little sister knows the unkillable killing machine in the hockey mask. But a good chunk of people don’t recall his origins in the original film. As made famous in 1996’s Scream, Jason’s mother Mrs. Voorhees was the killer in the first film in the long running series. The only glimpse we get of Jason is the brief dream sequence jump scare that helps close the film. Shown as a young mongoloid child jumping out of the water to pull Alice into Crystal Lake, Jason was played by Ari Lehman, who had previously worked with director Sean S. Cunningham on Manny’s Orphans in 1978. Now you may be asking yourself what the hell this has to do with a music review. Well, allow me to elaborate further.

Parlaying his success as the original portrayer of one of the most famous characters in horror history, Ari Lehman launched FirstJason, a horror metal project with songs focusing on Jason. I first became aware of the band back in late 2011 when Lehman was announced to be appearing at Shock Stock and performing with the band, who was going to open for the almighty Goblin. Due to some scheduling conflicts Lehman was unable to make the show, but I was one of the lucky few to receive a signed 8×10 that he sent in his absence, and at the time I had also gotten my hands on Jason Is Watching!, the band’s 2009 debut. So, how does an album about Jason fronted by the man who originated the role, playing a modified keytar in the shape of a machete sound?

Beginning with the title track, you are immediately introduced to the signature sound of FirstJason. The band relies heavily on the unique sound wielded from Lehman‘s keytar, as well as his intriguing vocals. I can honestly say that I don’t think I’ve ever heard vocals quite like his, and they certainly work for the music. While some bands will try to vary their sound over the course of an album, you will find none of that on Jason Is Watching!. If you don’t really dig the sound off the hop, there isn’t really going to be anything on the following seven tracks that will sway your opinion.

Continuing through the first chunk of the album we are greeted with Red Red Red and Sink Or Swim which both continue the unique sound introduced in the opening track. The band finally changes the sound up with the intro to You Better Run! and it continues throughout the song, where Lehman‘s vocals also change, with him almost rapping through the verses. Soul Seller continues the change in tempo before the band jumps back into it with the awesomely titled Machete Is My Friend. Power From The Pain stands out as the “Freebird” of the album clocking in at just over 4 minutes, and it deserves it as it is the strongest track on the album. While many of the songs are catchy, the chorus of this song has a certain melody to it that none of the other tracks on the album have, making it stand out, and it is definitely the one track over the years that I always come back to.

Finally, the album closes with Jason Never Dies!, which seems appropriate as it is much like a rallying call to all fans of both our favorite hockey-masked slasher and the band itself. Closing the album with this track was a smart choice as it leaves you wanting a little more, and much like myself, leaves fans of the band awaiting their next album.

Overall, a lot of people may not like the unique sound that FirstJason presents, but if you are a fan of horror-based music and/or the Friday The 13th movies, then you owe it to yourself to at least check the band out.

Standout Track
Power From The Pain

You can check out more info on FirstJason and pick up a copy of Jason Is Watching! or their newest album Heed My Warning (which I have recently got my hands on and so there will be a review on the site soon!) on their Official Website.

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