Australia seems to be the hotspot for modern day metal these days, taking the shine away from their peers come five piece JUSTICE FOR THE DAMNED with their debut release; Dragged Through The Dirt. After playing at huge shows such as Invasion Fest and Unify Festival this release has a lot to live up to.
The album opens with the self-titled Dragged Through The Dirt, through a wall of feedback the band blasts open with a black metal-esque fury, the vocals of Bobak Rafiee emerge with a discernible anger as the riff brings the song into one pounding attack. The song closes with an absolutely crushing riff that’s sure to get the pits opened ready for the next track, Please Don’t Leave Me. Pulling away from the black metal intro the riff bearing resemblance to that of their contemporaries NORTHLANE which slams the listener in between the blast beats. The guitar work really shines on this song, Nick Adams‘ riffs are low slung and crushing with a massive wall of sound effect emanating through the mix.
Once the breakdown has obliterated everything in sight the band launches into Those Eyes. Showing no signs of slowing down JUSTICE FOR THE DAMNED slow it down and launch another assault, giving the listener, a combination of riffs smashed between blast beats and double bass breakdowns. This song shows their recent touring with Australian heavyweights THY ART IS MURDER has certainly had its influence, the vocals especially are crisp and thick cutting, the drums are pounding and the guitars and bass work together in a beautiful cacophony of noise. Suddenly the chaos stops before swiftly resuming with Demon, a fast-paced monster laced with atmospheric dissonance and blast beats. The drums here really shine and show both precision and technicality without taking away the limelight.
Carrying on the anger comes No Flowers On Your Grave, another mechanically tight brutal tirade showing the band is more than capable of sustaining the delicious chaos they purvey. This song features one of the biggest breakdowns on the album which is sure to rip the crowds in half if not entirely. Beyond the Pale really stands out, its calm clean introduction shows the band do have a more melodic side, despite being clean it somehow carries on the dark and aggressive feel the album brings forth.
Once the cleans calm down, JUSTICE FOR THE DAMNED smashes out into action showing they still have plenty of noise to spur. It Will Always Be My Fault is the personal favourite on this album, the riff here is absolutely crushing in a CROWBAR fashion, fitting perfectly with the slower but nonetheless crushing drums and the thunderous bass. Along with the riff the song even features a solo over the top halfway through to show they’re more than just a meat and potatoes riff machine, laced with dissonance it really sets the track apart. Closing the song with an electronic beat is surprising yet welcome and it shows that JUSTICE FOR THE DAMNED have a talent for bridging songs together in an unusual yet enjoyable fashion.
Agony explodes through this beat and smashes away any doubts of JUSTICE FOR THE DAMNED‘s experimentation, this is easily the heaviest track on the album. The song closes in spectacular fashion with long dragged out repercussions of distortion leading its way into a piano transition, For Your Eyes Only. The track is slow and quiet with a violin in the background accompanying the sombre melody. Second to last is Lilac, at this point the band are bringing out all their skills for a masterpiece in blast beats and tremolo picked riffs, closing off this monster with a final slam to rival any of their peers, an impressive feat for a relatively fresh band. Bearing the Crown of Lies gives no signs of letting the listener go peacefully, grabbing hold of them and ripping their eardrums to pieces with a barrage of guitar based fury below the snarling vocals, the song closes eerily with a calm and atmospheric sway, reminiscent of VILDHJARTA.
For their first album, Dragged Through The Dirt is very impressive, showcasing a band with incredible talent and a lust for the heaviest riffs to rival even their bigger Australian idols among their European peers. This release proves JUSTICE FOR THE DAMNED are more than capable of holding their own and will be a treat for any crowd to experience.
Dragged Through The Dirt is out now via Greyscale Records.
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