Junius - Reports From the Threshold of Death (Prosthetic Records)
By: David E. Gehlke
[8/10] Blistering initially caught Boston’s Junius while on their support run for Enslaved and Alcest in late September. Per the usual, we were distracted, this time by mulling over what Alcest was going to play and how it’s possible that Enslaved’s Ivar Bjornson can be the scariest, yet nicest guy on the planet. Lots of thoughts, obviously, so suffice it to say, not a lot of stock was put into Junius. Our bad. And Alcest sounded like crap. Yargh.
Found on Reports From the Threshold of Death is an enticing blend of atmospheric post-metal, complete with melodious vocals that are a clear breakaway from the norm. There are plenty of nods to the usual suspects in this realm like Isis, Cult of Luna, and friends, yet Junius manages not to sound like a metal band while sounding like one at the same time. Perhaps it’s all in how these songs are positioned, for singer Joseph Martinez and his soft vocals are the perfect counterpoint to the band’s shimmering and occasionally hardened attack.
Beware that Martinez does on occasion sound like the dude from Coldplay (Chris Martin) and while such a sentiment would normally send most running for the hills, it makes perfect sense when taken into context as to how Junius operates. The graceful and totally awesome “Dance on Blood” is a sure-fire winner, as is the wide-open “A Reflection of Fire,” where Martinez turns in his best chorus on the album. A lot of these songs are rich (and sometimes tender) , especially “Transcend the Ghost,” which supports our initial claim as to how dainty the album is.
Right in the wheelhouse of soft and fuzzy bands like the aforementioned Alcest, as well as Les Discrets and our #1 pals Katatonia, Junius has hit the post-metal nail on the proverbial head with Reports From the Threshold of Death. And if there was a likely successor to Isis in North America, it would be these guys. Quite excellent stuff.