REVIEW: Junius – Reports From The Threshold of Death

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Artist: Junius
Album: Reports From The Threshold Of Death
Genre: Fucking awesome metal (realistically, it’s more like shoegaze metal)
Label: Prosthetic Records

In a musical land full of carbon copy bands and micro genres, every band’s trying to find a sound or angle that best defines them. A small handful of bands cultivate a truly unique and interesting sound all their own while others fail miserably at this goal. Junius is a band that lies much closer to the former than the latter. While their sound is very distinct and very much their own, it gives textural and stylistic nods to many of their predecessors. Each album from Junius seems to further define and vet their sound as they carefully carve themselves a small niche in an expansive metal landscape.

Reports From The Threshold Of Death is a concept album that follows their last record, The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist, thematically as it “chronicles the journey of the soul after [Velikovsky, the main character] dies”–an incredibly fitting and dynamic theme for a concept album. While it may seem bleak and depressing, the mood on the album is rarely either of those. More often than not, the mood of the album is quite melancholy, but always with a hopeful twist.

As with their last release, Junius have managed to create a sound that perfectly matches the messages delivered in their lyrics. Marching through the beautiful textures, thick chords, and dream-like vocals in an almost processional manner they’ve clearly figured out the most interesting and aesthetically pleasing package to deliver the somewhat bleak narrative in. From the first few seconds in where there is nothing but a haunting chorus without lyrics to the last lumbering chorus of the album, there isn’t moment that isn’t completely captivating.

What really sets Junius apart from other bands they might be compared to is that they’re completely unwavering in their approach. There are no obvious singles, hook-laden tracks, or cheap ploys to keep the listener attentive. Through pure, raw emotion and brilliant songwriting Junius clutch the listener and don’t let go until you’ve heard their story.

Undeniably one of the most emotive and unique releases in the world of metal for 2011, Reports From The Threshold Of Death (along with its precursor, The Martyrdom Of A Catastrophist) are absolutely must-haves for any person who enjoys intensely personal and emotive music. A truly massive musical expanse that gives nods to bands like More like Type O Negative, The Smiths, Deftones, The Cure, Smashing Pumpkins, Neurosis, and/or My Bloody Valentine–without ripping any of them off. Do not sleep on this record or this band, you’ll only be shorting yourself.

Overall score: 9/10
Reviewed by: Jordan Munson (follow him on twitter)

Check out the album preview below:

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