Journal
Unlorja


4.5
superb

Review

by Yeahtoast USER (19 Reviews)
July 28th, 2010 | 194 replies


Release Date: 2010 | Tracklist

Review Summary: Tech metal newcomers show their worth on this unique and interesting concept album.

Often compared to other bands in the technical metal scene, Journal are here to offer you a little more than their competitors. A musical adventure with a twist; for you see, Journal are a Nintendo influenced metal band. In fact, dotted seamlessly throughout the album are a few samples from Nintendo games themselves. While the word gimmick might instantly spring to the minds of some, one cannot deny that the vigor in which this band applies their trade is anything other than exceptional. This young Californian outfit has crafted an album from boyish imagination and an obvious passion for music, and have evidently created a winning formula in doing so.

Unlorja is a concept album based around a video game that has been cunningly conjured up by the band, Unlorja itself referring to a legendary sword. Again, gimmicky though it may instantly sound, do not let this defer your interest in the album, as the music accompanying this impressive yarn is where the band prove they’re more than just a gimmick to cover up an obvious lack of musical capability. Through Unlorja, we enter the mystical world which Journal have created. A world of fictional characters and creatures, a world that offers something extra for the listener to explore, as well as the immense and often beautiful music that has been masterfully fashioned.

Where the tale becomes more than just a diversion dwells within the musicianship and high octane performance of Journal as a band. Unlorja is an aggressive record for the best part and this routine is carried out with lightning pace and precision. Guitarists Joe Van Houten and Tony Juvinall combine fiercely and brilliantly. Often combining complex dual guitar melodies with crushing riffs, best exhibited on “Conducting With Passion From The Grave” and “Labyrinth Of Betrayal”, the two give the album a layered aura as well as its liveliness and melody. Newest band member Danny Paul on bass proves here that he is more than apt for the job. His sturdy contribution gives the intense melodies and riffwork its structure and makes sure just about everything on the album packs a solid punch. Justin Tvetan’s hammering drum patterns are what turn the elaborate guitar work into a relentless metallic force. His blast beats and excellently timed fills give the album a strong backbone and his work is certain to be the foundation of the band’s live performance. The technicality not to mention brutality of the instrumentation on Unlorja is second to none and will surely make record labels sit up and take notice.

Possibly the biggest constituent in Journal’s ability to create musical variety lies in the fact that Unlorja features the contributions of no less than three vocalists, Jesse Alford (Embrace The End), Drew Winter (Shadow Of The Colossus) and Akoni Berman (Human Equation) navigating it through 80 minutes of contrasting styles and emotions. With each vocalist offering a different technique and approach to each song, it is apparent quite quickly that Journal do not like monotony. Thus, what we find here is a chaotic yet beautifully crafted slab of technical metal that is extremely varied vocally and constantly throwing surprises the way of the listener. Wasting no time in beginning their aural assault, “Labyrinth Of Betrayal” portrays the three front men’s ability to interlock in spectacular fashion. The outraged questions of Alford bark right from the urgent opening riffs, intertwining around the guttural growls of Winter, but it is possibly the poignant highs of Berman as heard on the likes of “Viela”, “Velvet Ribbon” and several other focal points throughout the album that conveys the true heart and desire of this band. An uncompromising showing from all three.

And so, a heroic battle of love and hate, good and evil draws to a close with the 30 minute intricacy that is “Affinity”, a beautiful narration shedding a different light on the goings on of the album. And what a journey it has been; twisting and turning from points of sheer belligerence to breathtaking ambient passages awash with textures. Undoubtedly, some will find this venture simply inaccessible. But those who embrace Unlorja for what it is will certainly be rewarded by these seven musicians carving an extra twist into a genre they have made their own, with style and prowess. An exciting, irresistible concept album and a breath of fresh imagination that modern metal can claim for its arsenal. Who knows what is to come next in this fairytale? With three vocalists leaving their own unique stamp here, the question remains, who, if any, will remain for live performances and albums to come? What is certain, however, is that whatever the future does hold, it will simply be another twist in the epic tale that is Journal.



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user ratings (177)
3.9
excellent
other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Yeahtoast
July 28th 2010


2041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

This review was inspired by and is dedicated to my good friend, bloc :D

Yeahtoast
July 28th 2010


2041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks buddy!

Zoo
July 28th 2010


3759 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

I had a feeling this was going to be unnecessarily-jizzed over by a lot of people.

bloc
July 28th 2010


70370 Comments


Very nice review Toast! Summary is just fine btw ;)

Yeahtoast
July 28th 2010


2041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Thanks bloccy glad ya like! 7 ratings of 4.5, that's pretty epic.



Zoo, lol man I thought it was awesome. Not for everyone I guess!

krig9412
July 28th 2010


794 Comments


Wow, I remember finding these guys, loving them, then forgetting about it. I'll check this out

Yeahtoast
July 28th 2010


2041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Do man it's a pretty awesome album. Let me know how you find it!

Ulsufyring
July 28th 2010


1748 Comments


snore genre :/

Bitchfork
July 28th 2010


7581 Comments


ya prty much

Yeahtoast
July 28th 2010


2041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I never liked it either until this album. This is the only album I can actually enjoy.

luci
August 14th 2010


12844 Comments


On the first track and this sounds like Periphery meets Protest the Hero meets Calculating Infinity.
Sensory overload!

Yeahtoast
August 18th 2010


2041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

First track is my favourite on here, awesome outro.

Motiv3
August 29th 2010


9169 Comments


This isnt a 4.5 on first listen (im about half way through the last 30 min epic) but im damn glad i found this band. This is really great stuff.

bloc
August 30th 2010


70370 Comments


I knew someone like Hollier would enjoy this

Yeahtoast
August 30th 2010


2041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I LOVE THIS ALBUM.



and I love you bloc, the bringer of this album to me.

bloc
August 31st 2010


70370 Comments


It was totally random, had no idea you would like it so much.

Yeahtoast
August 31st 2010


2041 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Lies. You knew damn well.

bloc
August 31st 2010


70370 Comments


There is only one word for a time like this...


DESTINY

Motiv3
August 31st 2010


9169 Comments


i knew u were gonna say that bloc haha.

TBliss
September 10th 2010


987 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Just gave this a listen, real good stuff.



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