Tuesday, February 18, 2014

Junius - Days Of The Fallen Sun (EP) (2014)

Bands come and go. Then they come again, and leave again. It is, sometimes, a neverending cycle of recognition and fading into obscurity. When Junius released "Reports from the Threshold of Death" in 2011, they were suddenly thrust into the consciousness of a large group of people for whom this was a new experience. A tour with Alcest followed, exposing crowds to an emotionally strong set, night after night. And then, just as quickly, they drifted off the radar for many fans and listeners; not all, but many. Three years later, the gentle beast has awoken, throwing open the doors to the studio and sharing with the world an EP that, while short on time, is not short on quality, care, and dedication. Because where Junius separates themselves from even some of the most well known and well respected bands is in their creative flow. There is no room for filler anywhere on their releases, going as far back as their debut album. And with "Days Of The Fallen Sun," they give your four pieces of heavy music, four carefully arranged shorts, and one looming piece of rock mastery.

Call them what you will; whether tracks like (meditations) are intros, interludes, set up tracks, or whatever, they can't be mindless, and they can't be throwaways. This one is short and minimal in impact initially, but it's when The Time of Perfect Virtue starts that it all makes sense. Unlike that latest album we spoke of so highly, there is a true clarity in production here. By no means are the hazy aspects gone, but they are under control, with the distinct cry of vocalist Joseph E. Martinez connecting all of the dots. It's soothing, yet at the same time stirring. By the four minute mark, this is a band at their peak, drums booming, riffs rocking through and all in a perfect sync. With (shamantic rituals) bridging the gap between worlds, it is once again an addition rather than an interlude at odds with what they're doing. The proof is in the proverbial pudding, as the flow from track to track is without issue. Even A Day Dark With Night, a poetic opus that marches well beyond the seven minute mark, is given ample time to bleed beyond its borders. Whether you identify Junius' strength as being the soft, brooding moments or the heavy handed jams, you will find something to hang your hat on here. There is a give and take between Martinez's vocals, and his addition of synthesizers to the mix, both of which seem to mirror one another in their arching, bending delivery.

It would be easy to characterize (the purge) as a calm before the storm sort of moment, but that would be far too dismissive. Because while Battle In The Sky is the shortest full track on the album, it delivers on many levels. It rolls through your speakers with an ease and grace usually not attached to a track that also boasts a gritty vocal line. It can be two things at once; it can be both the heaviest track on the EP and the most sonically deep. Drummer Dana Filloon is used to filling smaller venues with his chorus of snares and kicks, but on this record, he could just as easily flood a stadium, catching us all up in the tide. His percussive assertions do more than keep time or accent the leads; they are a lead in and of themselves. When the final bridge track comes and goes, as (nothingness) does so quickly, it isn't hard to look back and appreciate their contribution to the disc at large. But by the time you've come to that conclusion, Forgiving The Cleansing Meteor has already infected your brain. Aside from boasting a vocal hook that is easily repeated, and chanted for that matter, it sees Junius at their unpolished best. While bassist Joel Munguia plucks his way to glory, guitarist Michael Repasch-Nieves creates a stunning atmospheric quality that lifts the entire track to a different plane.

Not every band can make things work the way Junius has over their career. Anyone who has had the pleasure of seeing them perform live, warming a cold venue in the inter, will attest to the amount of raw energy and emotion that pours from the stage. But to capture that and put it in the hands of the listener, album after album, is something indescribably unique, and infinitely more rare. After each addition to their catalog, it became harder to believe they could keep this alive. They would have to burn out, dim, or just hit a wall. But if this EP is any indication, the opposite must be true. They are burning brighter than ever, all four members giving a performance that is worthy of more than your money. They flirt with perfection at every turn, and though it may be wholly unattainable, they are far closer than most bands will ever tread. It's the music, yes. But it is also the thought process from which the music, the lyrics, and layout arise that makes "Days Of The Fallen Sun" special. And when the album makes its rounds, from fan to fan, and new listener to new listener, we might all agree on that.


Official Site - http://juniusmusic.com/
Facebook - https://www.facebook.com/juniusmusic

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