Reviews - J
SCREAMING FERRET WRECORDS
Going by the music on here, the attitude that drives former Crimson Glory member, Ben Jackson, is to make fun, booming, groovy, rocking, midpaced, traditional rock & roll. You can clearly hear the bass guitar jamming along to the groove rock drumming, the guitars are plenty present, but they are not drowning everything else. Don't worry, there are abundant guitar grooves and solos.
The singing is so traditional that I forgot that this was what men sound like when they are not screaming from the top of their lungs or growling like your next-door neighbor's stupid dog. The vocals do not remind me of anyone else, but again, they are sung in a pretty clear, mid register tone and the singing is backed up and harmonized by Kid TNT, whose parents named her Rose Sexton. Ben Jackson does a good job with his natural abilities, which is a positive, since he's not trying to sing like Rob Halford or Bruce Dickinson. Finally, if you expect music similar to Crimson Glory/"Transcendence" you will be sadly disappointed. The two bands make totally different music. Let's leave at this: if you would like to hear some traditional, modern hard rock (with some metal elements) that concentrates on groovy and sing-along songs, then you won't feel deceived.
JAG PANZER: CASTING THE STONES
This band has some nerve!! How many heavy metal bands begin their albums with their fast songs? All of them, right? In fact, traditional metal bands often rely on speed to hide their unoriginality. Well, forget that, kids, because the Jag Panzer meisters throw that thinking out the window! The first song is mid-paced. The second song is mid-paced. The faster parts do not arrive until the fifth song. Why is this? Because they don't have anything to hide!! This band shows that: (1) the best songs are the ones that do not cover up weaknesses and (2) the best songs are the ones that try something new. Some people think that all traditional metal bands are interested in copying Iron Maiden and Judas Priest. Jag Panzer is its own entity. The vocals are great, as usual, the riffing unique yet, traditional; plenty of soloing, plenty of rhythm and beat. One ought to be proud of this band.
JAMES MURPHY - "CONVERGENCE"
James Murphy, (of DEATH, OBITUARY, CANCER, DISINCARNATE, and currently TESTAMENT ) demonstrates that this release is not just some solo semi-serious project that he is doing, because he wants to show how good of a player he is. The first song "Since Forgotten" has Devin Townsend from STRAPPING YOUNG LAD guesting on vocals. This track is a song not just a guitar solo. Actually, it is unexpected that James would not use this too show off. (Actually, I think this sucks! If you like his past stuff, in my opinion you will not like this.- Mike) "Since Forgotten" is not thrash or death metal, rather a heavy affair with a really tight sound. Then comes "Convergence", which has a very catchy rhythm. This track is an instrumental which is very thrashy and "Chunky". Devin also sings on the last one, which is once again a mid-paced, melodic, but also heavy affair. By the time the third song ends, you realize what James is trying to do, (suck really bad?) expanding and experimenting, but without sticking to fashionable ideas of "experimenting" (grunge) and without being in-metal. Now don't get confused, this is different from anything I've heard Mr. Murphy, but he's firmly in metal territory. Also, you get plenty of chances to hear his guitar solos, etc., but these are songs, not just guitar solos. In addition, Deen Castronovo, drums, keeps a great bottom heaviness to this affair by keeping different rhythms with appropriate double-bass for all of the moods, riffs, etc.. Brad Russel, bass, is heard through out the whole affair, instead of of being just a simple two-chord-second- fiddle yeoman. Chuck Billy, guests on "Torching the Earth" which shows Chucky boy doing some great melodic stuff that is unlike anything on "Low". This is probably the best song here because James really shines on this one and because you find heaviness and melody striking the perfect balance. See if you can find many people who can do this stuff as well as this here!!
JUDAS ISCARIOT - "THE COLD EARTH SLEPT BELOW"
I liked this CD a lot, even though it wasn't what I expected it to be. From what I had heard prior to purchasing it, I was prepared for ambient instrumental music in the vein of MORTIIS. The best way to describe this album is that it is black metal along the lines of EMPEROR and DARK THRONE. That's the closest comparison I can make, for those who depend on comparisons. But this album should stand well enough on its own. All music is performed and written by one man, Akhenaten, which is pretty impressive in itself if you ask me. The song I liked the most was the title track, but all of the songs are worth checking out. The down side of this CD is that the sound quality could be a little better. On a couple of the songs, the cymbals sound like someone banging spoons and forks together, but that wasn't that big of a deal. However, I like this CD more each time I listen to it. My final words on this is that I recommend it to any fans of dark and heavy music.
JUDAS PRIEST - "JUGULATOR"
O.K. girls and boys, metalheads, headbangers, all of you! The Priest is back! It's time to stop speculating, wondering, and blabbering. The new singers name is "Ripper" Ownes and "Jugulator" is its first example of where the Priests sound is heading. This opens with the title track. The first thing to notice is the heaviness coming at you. "Painkiller" and Ram it Down", two of the best releases ever in metal, sound somewhat lighter to "Jug." The guitar sound is a notch heavier and has a rawer sound than "Painkiller". Now, the moment every Priest fan was waiting for, the voice. Well, it's really good, fits the music well. He fits right in, and yes he can scream. He can scream as good as Halford, but Owens sings in his own voice. "Bloodstained" takes you further into the new heaviness, aggression, and tightness of Priest. I really like the total fierceness of the next song "Dead Meat". Hear you can hear, at least I do anyway, more tinges of old Priest. It's really catchy. The guitar solos are not catchy, just technical wizardry. This song has a steady pounding rhythm. "Death Row" follows and this is really thrash- like-riffing. It cuts the sound and busts through. Aggressive vocals mark this song. The solos are once again fast, but short. Out of all the songs, "Decapitate" is the song that Owens actually sounds like Halford. Now comes "Burn in Hell". This is very catchy with its mid-paced heavy metal glory. This album will make you a believer again. The vocals, the guitar, the drums, the passion, the precision, the fury, it's all here. No need to describe all the other songs. Judas Priest has become heavier, faster, tighter, and younger-sounding. But I hate to say it, they have lost some of the melody they were good for. This is definitely the most different Judas P. album of all the releases. I'm looking forward to see Judas P. live again. The Priest is back with a vengeance!
JUDECCA - "AWAKENED BY THE STENCH OF THE DEAD"
This is basically an E.P. to give you a little taste of the full length release, "Beyond The Eyes Can't See." JUDECCA is a death metal band from Florida who tries to be really heavy and evil by growling really low, like Cannibal you-know-who, and try to write "scary, sexual, lyrics." There is no doubt that this is heavy, but so what? I have never heard light death metal anyway. There is nothing, I mean nothing that is really outstanding about this band. I would not recommend this to anyone at all.