Band: Justice For The Damned
Album: Pain is Power
Genre: Deathcore / Hardcore
Label: Greyscale Records
Location: Sydney, Australia
FFO: Thy Art Is Murder, Gravemind, Varials
Justice For The Damned is back with their sophomore LP, ‘Pain is Power’, and they brought some friends with them on the ride. Steve Seid and Will Putney make yet another record stand out amongst the rest. Coming off of the hype from their debut, JFTD had to live up to the chaos they have started but go bigger and better. Who else to do that but these two gents. ‘Pain is Power’ is a full and high quality LP geared towards their very heavy hardcore sound. And that’s one of many things that makes a great producer. The fact that these guys can work on so many different albums with different angles to them and still make sure each and every one is unique in their own way.
I like to be upfront when I’m not familiar with a band too much, and this is one of those times. I’ve heard of JFTD beforehand, I knew their debut gained a good amount of traction and praise, but I never really dived into them until people started getting excited for this new release. With how people were talking about them and lumping them in a conversation with different deathcore bands, I was expecting a true deathcore experience. But what I got was arguably even better. As a fan of both very heavy music and hardcore, taking hardcore and mixing in some deathcore elements is simply fantastic. So what we have here are the grooves, breakdowns, and perhaps attitude of hardcore backed by more deathcore inspired lows and certain glimpses of deathcore riffs/drumming. I think this combination, although maybe not as unique as it may seem to me, is further proof that we are moving towards a world where genres start to blend so much that they will no longer exist outside of the basic “Metal” label. Anyway, speaking of vocals, I’m likin’ these a lot. The highs aren’t my favorite but they grew on me pretty quick and are just another point towards diversity. He switches things up enough to not sound so low all the time. With whichever way he’s screaming though, the highlight in his vocals is his pronunciation. I love an aggressive vocal that can also be articulated well, at least most of the time. This clarity allows me to understand the theme of this album better as well without having to read any lyrics and possibly ruin the momentum of a song. So for the theme, as the title suggests; overcoming pain and suffering. The pain of life and the people in it. Coming out even stronger than ever before. I think that’s what gives this record a slight under-glow of hopefulness. I interpret the album to depict all these negative things going on personally and existentially with the overall message being “This pain makes us stronger”. In other words, a lot of bad stuff can happen, but we will make our way out of it. That may not be what the band intended (as they do go into detail about us being doomed), but that’s how I like to look at it. And I of course can’t leave out the legendary guest spots on here. There are two that I know of, and possibly a third that I don’t. But those two I do know of are Joe from FFAA and Matt from Kublai Khan. Absolutely solid guest spots. If you know their names, you already know I don’t need to explain why they killed it on here. I have my favorite songs listed below, but I have to make note that ‘Die By the Fire’ was a very delicious ending. However, ‘Blister of The Plague’, the 2nd to last song, makes the ending of this album even better. Those 2 songs make sure you leave this album feeling that same energy and anger as you had when you started.
Their debut “Dragged Through The Dirt” is a good LP as well. Much dirtier due to quality but not something I really would mark as a complaint on the sound they are going for. Three years later, the vocals seem tightened a bit. Better grasp on those highs and the lows have become more guttural. I’d contribute some of that to the mix though as well. Instrumentally, nothing drastic has changed other than this is a brand new album. Just as heavy, but again, more finely tuned and a major quality upgrade. My favorite aspect to this new one is the same as my favorite aspect to almost any other album mix and mastered by Will. That’s the fact the spotlight is on everything. Vocals are in your face but not above anything else. Guitars are in your face, but not above anything else, ex. Everything in the mix is highlighted and given it’s proper shine without outdoing anything else or blurring things together. Yet finds a way to keep the sound dirty and edgy. I wish I could explain it better but I’m no engineer. I am an expert in simply listening though and that’s how I know this is worthy of the daily rotation.
Well you know it’s a great album when I can’t just pick 1 “Strongest Song”. Even 3 feels unfair to others. I searched, I looked and listened for anything I could rant about because you know I love typing up a storm when it comes to flaws but I simply could not find any. This is a brutal hardcore, deathcore, whatever you want to call it record. Inside and out destruction with enough diversity and focus on what matters to keep things interesting and moving along nicely. I think the length of this record is perfect as well for a project like this. If this type of sound were to go on for 40, 45+ minutes, that’s when things might start getting stale and you find a couple duds. But they kept this modest and that helps more than one might think. Ten great tracks back to back that stand on their own. I also don’t think it hurts to mention I appreciate the album artwork as well. I don’t bring this up enough because it doesn’t have any effect on the music, but I love when bands go out of their way to commission some real art as their cover. Great sound, great features, great themes and relatable lyrics packaged into an album meant to crush anything in its path.
Strongest Song: Final Cataclysm, The House You Built Is Burning, Blister of The Plague
Apple Music: https://music.apple.com/au/artist/justice-for-the-damned/1159708076