Junius – Reports from the Threshold of Death

Back in September Buke and I had tickets to see Enslaved at Jaxx. We bought the tickets because Ghost was supposed to be on the bill. Then Ghost had to drop off because they couldn’t get into the country. As a result Junius was added to the bill which also included Alcest and some local support. We waffled on whether to still go to the show or not. Enslaved is cool, but it was really all about Ghost for us. In the end we decided why not, let’s go.

During the show I made some comments on Twitter regarding Junius. In a nutshell I said that the people at the show were not in to them, that they sounded like a metal Coldplay singing out of tune, and that they did not belong on the bill. Taken at face value, and due to the Twitter character limit, I can see how those posts would come across mean, cruel and more like something you would find in the Blabbermouth comments section.

I don't feel like I should have to explain myself, but I'm going to anyway because I don't want to give the impression I had or have anything against Junius. Anyone that has the guts to get up on a stage deserves the respect of the audience. Period.

I’ll own up to the first comment being mean, I could have phrased it differently, but it was true – the crowd was not into them. I was trying to be funny to amuse myself and rather than being funny it was just mean. I often make jokes with the only response being the sound of crickets, but I do not generally try to be funny at the expense of others. I’ll apologize for that one. The other two comments I stick by to varying degrees.

I also said they sounded like a metal Coldplay playing out of tune. This comment was not an attempt to be funny but an honest assessment of what I was hearing. The singing does rather sound like Coldplay, I’ve confirmed that now that I’ve listened to the album, and he WAS singing out of tune. Now, to be fair to Junius, after posting that comment it became apparent they were having constant problems with the stage monitors (not surprising at Jaxx) and so the singing out of tune with the songs was likely the result of the singer not being able to properly hear the music rather than a lack of singing ability. But I never questioned his ability to sing, I only stated that he was out of tune.

The other comment I made was regarding them not belonging on the bill. That apparently came across to people as my judging they were not good enough to be on this tour, and that is understandable looking back at the post, but that was not my intent. Twitter character limit again. What I meant by this was that they would have been better served (as in fans getting into the music) by being on a tour with similar styled music acts. The local support prior to them was death metal, and Enslaved, while a little proggy lately, are historically a black/death metal band. I thought Alcest was black metal too, but as it turned out they seemed more like Junius than the other bands. Given that I believed this was a death/black metal show, Junius just seemed the odd band out. I was concerned the extreme metal fans were going to boo them off the stage because they seemed more rock than metal, but indifference was as bad as things got.

A little over a month went by and I received a copy of the Junius promo for “Reports from the Threshold of Death”. I gave it a listen and you know what, it’s not bad. The press sheet for the album lists a quote from Rolling Stone that says they sound like a mix of Neurosis and The Smiths. I can hear that a little, but I think they sound more like Katatonia meets Coldplay. My wife, not a metal fan other than by association, came up to me while I was playing the album on the computer and asked (in all seriousness) if I was listening to the new Coldplay. I rest my case.

So after all the banter and explaining, what do I really think of the album? I think it’s pretty good. It can easily straddle the metal/rock/alternative genre lines. It’s kind of shoegazer metal. This probably isn’t the first album I’d reach for when I’m feeling whimsical or moody, but it is actually very well done and I can see why people would dig these guys. If I was feeling down or heartbroken this would probably be just the thing to help me cope.