Judiciary – Surface Noise

Ah, the warm embrace of cold political hardcore punk-influenced thrash. Very few things in the world are as musically aggressive as that. It taps into your primal nature  and inflames that aggression you feel toward the system in general. Shouted vocals, overly crunchy guitars, and the unrelenting machine gun repetition of drums stir the desire to take on authority figures and set cop cars on fire. If you are absolutely consumed by a need to feed the anti-authority beast inside you, I strongly recommend Judiciary.

Something is foul in the state of Texas. I’m not sure what’s going on down there apart from it’s Texas, but the state churns out some angry metal dudes. From crossover establishment like D.R.I. to original groove gods Pantera all the way up to today with Power Trip, the state has given us some dudes who know how to be really brutal and speak truth to power. Judiciary is the next up to bat. These dudes make a brand of hardcore-influenced thrash that will make you want to flip over society’s table, grab it by the throat, and demand to know why it’s holding you down. It’s a ton of crunchy riffs, some dive-bombing guitar solos, and a whole lot of shouting. Just what The Man needs to scare him out of his wits!

In all seriousness, this is an incredibly well-crafted record that brings to mind much of Power Trip’s Nightmare Logic but with a slightly different brand of belligerence. While much of the firebrand fervor is directed at the same people, Judiciary choose to shine a light on more systemic issues rather than the individuals pulling the strings. In an unexpected way, it almost creates a unifying force for the common good in metal. It’s particularly fitting that at the end of “Burden of Truth,” the band uses a section of Charlie Chaplin’s monologue from the end of The Great Dictator: “Machinery that gives abundance has left us in want. Our knowledge has made us cynical. Our cleverness, hard and unkind. We think too much and feel too little. More than machinery, we need humanity. More than cleverness, we need kindness and gentleness. Without these qualities, life will be violent and all will be lost.”

But we should really talk about the music itself. My god, does this album just beat the hell out of you. It doesn’t even ease you into it. “Social Crusade,” the opening track, immediately hits you like a speeding bus. Completely distorted and crunchy guitars groove you into an onslaught of slamming crash cymbals. Shouted vocals exhibit utter disdain for two-faced politicians and celebrity hypocrites. It’s pretty much exactly what you want out of a hardcore-influenced metal band.

There’s no other way to describe it. This record is extreme. There’s a deep-seated anger to it that is trying to help society achieve its higher purpose. The frustration is born out of a love to help other people and protect them from self-serving powermongers who want more for themselves and less for everyone else. The only tool it has to achieve this goal is brutal hardcore thrash metal. Sometimes you have to fight back to achieve ultimate peace. Judiciary is waiting to lead the charge.

Surface Noise is available now via Closed Casket Activities.

Comments