Album Review: Judas Avenger ‘JA’

Judas Avenger 2016 - Photo by Mikko Kuparinen

Judas Avenger
Album: JA
Label: Judas Records
Genre: Heavy Metal/Prog Metal
Release Date: November 3, 2017
4.0/5.0

Judas Avenger are a metal band from Finland who formed in 2015.  They released their first EP ‘Judas Avenger’ in 2015 and have followed the EP release with several singles over the past couple of years leading up to their newest release ‘JA’.

‘JA’ consists of seven tracks of interesting metal music.  Upon first listening to the album I found elements of bands like Grave Digger, Saxon, Gamma Ray, Rush, Graham Bonnet, Running Wild, Metal Church and influences of many others along those lines but mixed with a bit more modern, almost progressive metal additions while managing to keep an old school metal feel in the music and vocals while making their own sound.

The album starts off with an musical intro track with “A Son”. That kind of primes the listener to pay attention to what is coming, almost as if they are trying to prepare you for a different experience.  You can hear muffled children’s voices but can never make out anything then toward the end of the track a man’s muffled and groaning vocals start then fade then a little elevated noise of more children’s voices followed by a deep tone door slamming, almost as if it is a dungeon door.  Kind of creepy but then Judas Avenger lead you into the next track with heavy guitar riffs and high pitched vocals as the album progresses into “A Dying World”.

Throughout this album there is a mix of vocals from slow to almost growling vocals that switch to high pitch wails then to low screaming vocals.  I think most notably you will find this mix on track number 3, “In the Shade of Sorrow” and track 4, “You Are Nothing”.  There’s also a great mix of tempos on the tracks.  Some songs provide a much older feel, where others are fast paced leaning into power and speed metal.  Personally for me, the mix up of the tempos works great.  You get something that makes you manic then a little reprieve which I think is a great blend.

When you get to tracks 5 and 6 “Tuhoaja (osa 1)” and “Tuhoaja (osa 2)” the songs vocals are performed in Finnish and have this darker feel to them, but you may also get this feel from the vocals of early Geoff Tate years with Queensryche. I found both of these tracks musically progressive with really cool elements scattered through them.  On the “osa 2” there’s a static style element added that mixes in with a almost deranged sounding mix of music and vocals that’s really intriguing along with some interesting picking styles with the guitars.

The album wraps up with “The End”, an almost 5 minute long track. The vocals are quite theatric and dramatic as they start in a loud whispering tone, almost in a Lordi style of vocals as done on a few songs on their last album. The song never shifts into an up tempo, but stays very steady in progression with an ethereal and almost dreamscape sound in the instrumentals between the guitars and synthesizers and then it finally fades away with an eery low noise frequency.

I really enjoyed the art of the music and work put into writing and recording this album. It’s well thought out and renders a great album for fans to enjoy.  I would definitely recommend this album to listeners.  Stretch your metal music imagination with ‘JA’.

 

Line up:
Pekka Montin – vocals, synth
Marco Schauman – guitar
Janne Seppälä – guitar
Stefan Laine – bass
Teemu Koski – drums

Tracklisting:
1. A Son
2. Dying World
3. In the Shade of Sorrow
4. You are Nothing
5. Tuhoaja (osa 1) (In Finnish)
6. Tuhoaja (osa 2) (In Finnish)
7. The End (Beginning of Suffering)
Recorded at Vaasa Studio & HallaFreakquency Studio

Follow Judas Avenger Online: Facebook / Website / YouTube

 

About Diane Webb 333 Articles

I am writer, photographer & traveler with severe wanderlust. A comic nerd and rock music fanatic who’s always wondered how I ended up here? I seem to have a different view on most things in life than most around me and I get carried away in thoughts of far away places quite often. Music, travel and enjoying life is key!