Junius

Reports From The Threshold Of Death

Written by: AP on 01/03/2012 19:00:09

Another promo left to linger since its release last year is the sophomore album by Junius, which takes me far out of my usual ballpark into echoing art rock territory. It baffles me that it was me, and not our specialist in such music, Daniel Roe, who took "Reports from the Threshold of Death" up for review, but I take solace in the fact that there must have been some reason for its catching my attention. This review should thus be considered a novice attempt at dissecting and evaluating the band's achievements.

Why I did not take on the challenge sooner becomes clear as "Betray the Grave" winds itself four minutes of drudging darkness: this album requires a specific mindset for the most optimal listening experience. That mindset demands that you close your eyes and imagine a vast emptiness in which your only companions are vocalist/guitarist/keyboardist Joseph E. Martinez's ethereal voice and a meshwork of mighty powerchords and spaced out ambience. Songs like "Eidolon & Perisprit" and "Haunts for Love" evoke both the tortured spirit of darkwave and the malingering presence that inhabits doom metal, recalling bands as diverse and eccentric as Cold Cave, 65daysofstatic, Joy Division, Explosions in the Sky and Neurosis.

As might be expected from such an ambiguous description, the sound of Junius is difficult to quantify, which makes for some interesting compositional ideas, but also means that the band's songs rarely manage to dig their heels in far enough. The problem is that on most of the songs the band quickly find a cadence, tone and rhythm and persist with it all too rigidly. As a result, the initial tug of the chorus in songs like "All Shall Float" and "Dance in Blood" is quickly forgotten once the simplistic design becomes apparent.

As suggested in the second paragraph of this review, the method that makes "Reports from the Threshold of Death" most rewarding is to crank up the volume, sit back, and feel the spiritual undertones and deep catharsis that the band's music could potentially be once their songwriting begins to match their ambition. Without doing so, the music of Junius is likely to submerge you into a bored lull, despite all its good intent and potential.

Download: All Shall Float, The Meeting of Pasts, Transcend the Ghost
For the fans of: 65daysofstatic, *Shels, Pure Reason Revolution
Listen: Facebook

Release date 25.10.2011
Prosthetic Records

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