Written by: PP on 29/09/2011 06:26:38

Sick! Insane!! How!?. Three words that you'll be repeating from the opening track "Labyrinth of Betrayal" to closing piece "Affinity" on Sacramento, CA based Journal's sophomore album "Unlorja". What awaits the listener is 80 minutes of ridiculously technical instrumental chaos that breaks all boundaries of what is possible in terms of guitar wizardry and leaves its listener standing in awe over the otherworldly talent that the band possess for wielding their instruments. I hate to use a cliché phrase, but you really need to hear it to believe it.

To put it bluntly: I don't think I've ever experienced so many jaw-dropping what. the. fuck. moments in the duration of a single album. "Unlorja" is drowning in impossible time signatures, which change constantly and abruptly without any warning, creating a totally unpredictable and undeniable sound, and technical guitar skill so masterful and mind-blowing that you have to seriously consider the possibility that Journal's two guitarists are actually machines, or at the very least cyborgs. Inspiration has been clearly drawn from The Dillinger Escape Plan, but also from Psyopus' precision-guided guitars, the nonsensical song structures from Heavy Heavy Low Low, the unadulterated screaming and chaos from "Art Damage"-era Fear Before The March Of Flames, the eloquent magnificence of Protest The Hero's "lets write music so difficult we'll be forced to re-learn our instruments from scratch", the embedded melody found within the heavier The Fall Of Troy from their early albums...and that's to name but a few bands.

If that wasn't mouth-watering enough for you, then consider the following: Journal sound like an amalgamation of all those bands, which by all logical means of analysis should result into an impenetrable wall of face-melting and unsurvivable chaos, the musical equivalent of the Japanese Tsunami, Chernobyl nuclear disaster, and the Second World War put together. But yet Journal makes the transition from the ultra-technical chaos to soothing (yet still incredibly technical) mellow passages and melodic sections sound effortless. Listening to tracks like "Velvet Ribbon", "Viela", or "Conducting With Passion From The Grave" will be met with back chills and hair-raising by your body during the melodic sections (similar to Protest The Hero) because they sound so astonishing and awe-inspiring.

I simply can't stress it enough: the technical ability of Journal is unbelievable. But even more unbelievable is their ability to use that talent and their penchant for skull-crushing metal in the vein of TDEP, in combination with an understanding that no matter how heavy and relentless your sound, the power of melody and a few effectively placed clean vocals is undeniable. That's how they've come up with a complex sound - that's one-third experimental metal, one-third ultra technical noisecore, and one-third mathcore - without ruining it for themselves with nonsensical songwriting (well, hello, Heavy Heavy Low Low).

As if that wasn't a potent enough mix already, Journal's live performances are reportedly like The Dillinger Escape Plan's earlier shows: people are warned to stay away from "the danger zone" has Journal stayed uncovered for so long? Because this, my friends, is the future of metal. Today. Right at your doorsteps. Simply unbelievable instrumentation and songwriting.


Download: Velvet Ribbon, Viela, Conducting With Passion From The Grave
For the fans of: The Dillinger Escape Plan, Psyopus, early Fear Before The March Of Flames, Protest The Hero, Heavy Heavy Low Low, Ion Dissonance, The Fall Of Troy
Listen: Bandcamp

Release date 12.06.2010

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