It’s always nice, as someone covers a lot of new rock and metal releases, to hear something that occupies a less conventionally defined space between subgenres. That isn’t to say that Judiciary’s Flesh + Blood is an unprecedented release, however finding a place for it to tightly sit within the well-established canons of heavy music proves intriguingly ambiguous.
Judiciary’s second full-length could certainly be classed as a hardcore album. There’s breakdowns and grooves galore and the band have played shows with the likes of Vein.fm and Power Trip. The tone of these ten tracks is one of violent belligerence. Judiciary are primarily concerned with either inciting a mosh or crafting a build-up to said mosh. The best breakdown comes at the end of the short, sharp “Blood.” It processes with monumental swagger and an effortlessness that belies the rhythmic nous it takes to pull off such a titanic groove.
But there’s an equally compelling argument to be made that Flesh + Blood is a metal album. Countless riffs, such as the openers of “Knife In The Dirt” and “Cobalt” draw on thrash metal’s intricate shreds, while there’s even a touch of latter-day Gojira to some of the mid tempo stomps, particularly the head-banging middle section of “Steel Hand God.” The scope and scale of these tracks is metal through and through. Solos on the likes of “Paradigm Piercer” and “Cobalt” attest to Judiciary’s technical skills, while the acoustic guitars that open “Paradigm Piercer” reveal an eagerness to explore ambitious atmospherics.
The closest comparisons to Flesh + Blood’s approach would probably be the groove metal acts of the early noughties like Chimaira and God Forbid who combined the hardcore and metal polarities so intuitively. Ultimately, however, Judiciary’s sound is firmly of the here and now. The production by Arthur Rizk (Power Trip, Cavalera Conspiracy) and mastering work by scene go-to Will Putney gives Flesh + Blood a hard-edged, metallic glint, while also providing ample space and textural depth. These technical wizards, along with Judiciary’s savage-or-bust approach to songwriting, makes Flesh + Blood a pristine example of neck-snapping contemporary heavy music.
Label: Closed Casket Activities