JUCIFER Throned In Blood CD/LP

It's been awhile since I checked in on Jucifer. The releases I've heard in the past showed a band that certainly had promise, but hadn't put the whole package together. Unfortunately, Throned in Blood maintains that streak. The sound is a bit of Melvins sludge, but with more of a doom metal feel. On this release, they throw in some Khanate dissonance for good measure. My big beef is the vocals. Amber Valentine sports her best death metal growl throughout most of the album. I don't necessarily have a problem with guttural vocals when they fit the music, but here it sounds like a stretch. The music is not heavy enough to necessitate that approach, and I think clean vocals would have been much more effective.  At the risk of coming off as sexist, I'll also mention that her voice has too much treble, making her sound more like an annoying younger brother, rather than a true menace. Putting that aside, the songs are fairly hit and miss. There are definitely some strong moments and riffs throughout, but the short songs and schizophrenic structures work against the establishment of a settled doomy vibe.  I still think this band has a great album in them, but they would be better off looking to a more monolithic band like Electric Wizard as a role model, rather than trying to integrate so many influences. Oh, and I would probably be remiss in my reportage if I didn't mention that this is a concept album based on the folly of war. At the same time, if you weren't told that before listening, you'd never notice, so take it for what it's worth. It did lead them to a cool album cover. [Relapse]

-Brett Horn



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