Thursday, April 5, 2018

Judicator - The Last Emperor (2018)

Over the years, the power metal genre has been getting a fairly bad reputation for being pure mindless speed, and often being very, very cheesy with all its talk about knights and dragons. Now, I am not saying that it does not exist, but just like any other genre in our family tree, there is so much more than just meets the eye. There is smart and intelligent power metal out there, you just have to know where to look, and a good place to start is without a doubt a little group from Tucson, Arizona called Judicator.

The band is only 6 years old, but has had quite a career so far, releasing three critically acclaimed concept records that borrows a lot from the European style of power metal. With the first two records being about historical events, the third one entitled "At The Expense of Humanity" was a more personal record that certainly struck my heart strings (which is shown in y top 20 of 2015). But now the band is back at familiar territory with "The Last Emperor", telling the tales of what is known as "The First Crusades", with the sole goal of recapturing the holy land during the end of the 11th century.

While the subject matter is different from last time, the music is still the same, a powerful assault with a hell of a lot of depth to it. Judicator's style is most like the one we always hear from Blind Guardian, with that feeling of an army galloping to war at full speed, but also having moments where they can incorporate more melody into the music. It leads to a very dynamic album that never gets boring, making you want more and more of that sweet and juicy metal goodness.

Lead singer John Yelland is leading the charge with his soaring vocals, leading his men towards success every time, both on the high notes and on the really low ones. He got some good guys backing him up too, like the guitar duo Tony Cordisco and Michael Sanchez (who also handles the bass work) firing riffs with pin point accuracy, and also delivering some sweet acoustic melodies as well. Drummer Jordan Elcess rounds out this quartet with his stellar drumming, never missing a beat, always keeping the band on track.

Now obviously, since this is a concept record, "The Last Emperor" should be listened to in its entirety, but the individual tracks are strong enough to stand on their own, being enjoyed for all their glory. The insane intensity of "Raining Gold" is sure to make your head go nuts, while "The Queen of All Cities" takes a longer, more epic approach to successfully tell its story. Oh, and let us not forget "Spiritual Treason", in which Hansi Kürsch from Blind Guardian helps out in a nice, apocalyptic tune. I could almost list all of the songs in this album since all of them have a purpose for being in here, all with a power that is overwhelming.

So yeah, "The Last Emperor" is yet another fantastic record from Judicator, one that shows the band's impressive consistency. I still think that the predecessor "At The Expense of Humanity" is a better outing, but that is mostly because it has a better and more personal concept. Musically, there is not much separating this record from the rest of the discography, and that is a great thing since the band still have that passion to take their own sound and tweak enough to sill make it interesting and inspiring. So if you have not dived into this band yet, do it now, and join the exhilarating crusade of brilliant historic power metal.

Songs worthy of recognition: The Queen of All Cities, Take Up Your Cross, Raining Gold, Antioch

Rating: 8,5/10 Spiritual Treasons

No comments:

Post a Comment