Junius - Reports from the Threshold of Death

Posted on Thursday, November 24, 2011

I should probably warn all readers right here in the first sentence, Boston’s Junius are not a Metal band of any kind. The title of the album and the record label it’s on are about as Metal as this gets. However, if that doesn’t matter to you, you may want to read further, because Reports from the Threshold of Death is actually an extremely good album. My curiosity was initially struck about this quartet by a handful of reviews I’d read. They all categorized the band as Post-whatever, but the descriptions of the music and the emotion it conveyed wouldn’t allow to me to simply write them off as another Neurosis/Mastodon abortion. Finally getting the chance to listen to the record, I have to wonder what the goal of some music critics is. A competition to be the most vague? Twenty seconds into the opening cut, “Betray the Grave,” and the correct comparison couldn’t be more evident. So I’m going to go ahead and spoil it for everybody, and hopefully in the process ship a few extra units for these guys. Junius sounds like the Deftones. See, there was nothing difficult about typing that arrangement of words at all. And it’s the honest truth. They aren’t an exact clone or a carbon copy, but the similarity is totally undeniable. Vocalist/guitarist Joseph Martinez is an amazing singer, that’s the album’s greatest strength, but if you don’t hear the Chino Moreno in his voice, well then you’ve never heard Chino Moreno sing. The music might be a touch darker and more straightforward, a bit less adventurous than your average Deftones record (i.e. Junius don’t get let laid as much), and the lyrics are certainly more philosophical. I don’t have a lyric sheet (speaking of far-out concepts) but from what I can gather, near death experiences and existence after death are the sole themes. There seems to be an obsession with theorist Immanuel Velikovsky, as I’m told this concept is a continuation from their previous record, 2009’s The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist, which was based on his writing. I wouldn’t care if they were singing about Strawberry Shortcake, the music and the voice are that good. It’s heavy, it’s emotional, it’s deep, the production is amazing, it’s cooler than the other side of the pillow you shoot yourself through. If you’re a fan of the Deftones, or Dark Rock like Khoma, or even the ultimate suicidal masters Katatonia, Junius will provide the same funereal yet ethereal feeling.

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