Junius - Reports from the Threshold of Death

Rating

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RIYL

Deftones
Katatonia
dredg

Release Date

10/25/2011

Tracklist

1. Betray the Grave
2. All Shall Float
3. Dance on Blood
4. A Universe Without Stars
5. Haunts for Love
6. The Meeting of Pasts
7. (Spirit Guidance)
8. Transcend the Ghost
9. Eidolon & Perispirit
10. A Reflection on Fire

Users Rating

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With the rise of downloadable media, the way in which an album is packaged is starting to take a bit of a backseat. If listeners’ chief goal is to listen to music, then they will do so at a lesser cost by simply purchasing the MP3 version of an album instead of buying a physical CD or vinyl pressing. There are times when ignoring the artwork hinders the full extent of the joy that buying an album can give a listener. Take, for example, the new album by “indie dark wave” band Junius. Initially the album cover appears to be a fireball amidst blackness, but in reality (like the album itself), the artwork has a much deeper meaning that needs to be appreciated. The artwork for Reports from the Threshold of Death features a paradox that embraces the mood and atmosphere of the sound of the album: beautiful in the face of the bleak surroundings; dark and dreary yet elegant. The picture seems to show a star swallowing flowers in space. The image is a stunning portrait of the silver lining in the face of darkness.

Writing an entire album on near-death experiences presents a significant challenge for any band. Junius averts disaster by combining the light and dark aspects of the topic to create a cathartic album. Lyrically, the band is downright optimistic at times, channeling the literal light at the end of the tunnel. Opener “Betray the Grave” features the line, “Never fear for your life; we are drawn out by the light,” which is more than slightly jarring in comparison to the gloomy nature of the music. Another example is in the highlight track “Dance on Blood,” in which the music reaches its peak with the lyrics, “We have arisen; we have a reason.” Throughout the album the lyrics showcase the notion that Junius has more on their minds than simply serving as oppressive and depressive theme music; instead, the band wishes to paint a picture of the dichotomy presented by the subject matter.

Much like the artwork, the musical output of Junius is multi-faceted. Featuring a sound that is familiar yet difficult to classify, the easiest way to describe the band is by imagining a mixture of dredg, Deftones and The Smiths. There are elements of indie rock, doom metal, progressive rock, and post-rock. A combination of those sonic elements ensures that there will be a great emphasis on mood and atmosphere. Like the artwork, the music is beautiful yet dreary. Junius allows the ebb and flow of their music to help dictate the mood of the moment. “Dance on Blood” is one of the heavier tracks on the album, but the melancholy nature of the slow-build helps make the crashing crescendo payoff that much more enjoyable in the end. Vocalist Joseph Martinez’s croon falls somewhere between Chino Moreno of Deftones and Robert Smith of The Cure. His vocals are the perfect counterpart to the instruments, offering a voice full of dynamic and emotional power.

The production further sets this album apart. Every instrument is heard with clarity and punch. While Junius does not go full throttle very often, the beefy tone of the guitars allows for a fuller, heavier sound throughout the album. The pulsing bass is thick yet clear, and the drums hit hard. Even though all of the instruments sounds great, the icing on the cake is that the album has a sort of “hazy” sound to it, as if it is the actual soundtrack for the experiences that would make up reports from the threshold of death, which fits perfectly within the title of the album. When there is an album where the production and art direction merge to create such a uniquely intriguing experience, there is something truly special going on. Reports from the Threshold of Death is an album with much to appreciate, plenty to take in and enough to keep the listener wanting to come back for more. This album about near-death experiences should trigger new life for Junius.

--Nick Senior

Author

Nick Senior
Last updated: 11/01/2011 01:22PM

Comments

Zach Roth
11/01/2011
02:50PM
Age: 26
Location
Fishers, Indiana

Gotta say, would not have listened to this album if people hadn't been recommending me to feature the band. I was surprised by how much I liked it.

Top Albums: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 || Tumblr | Twitter

buck09
11/01/2011
03:02PM
Age: 33
Location
Reno, NV

Loving this band and album. I've since listened to their last album as well, since I had never heard of them until recently. Both albums are fantastic. Kind of a hazy/gothic blend that comes across dark and gloomy, yet uplifting at the same time. 

chrispandolfo
11/01/2011
07:07PM

Good review dude. Love this cd. So glad they got a grittier, heavier sound. 

Nick Senior
11/01/2011
08:20PM
Age: 28
Location
Ellicott City, MD

Thanks Chris!  Yeah they obviously did a great job on the album.  I wouldn't have even heard of them were it not for their split with Rosetta.

Currently Listening To:

Fallujah- The Flesh Prevails
Wovenwar- S/T
Within the Ruins- Phenomena

Sonnambulanaut
11/02/2011
01:41AM
Age: 31
Location
Salt Lake City, UT

Mostly because I highly dislike them but I really don't understand the comparison to the Deftones, I hear nothing similar except that they're using the same instruments, anything the Deftones have written in my opinion, is blah.

chrispandolfo
11/02/2011
01:50AM

There is a huge Deftones sound on this cd. Maybe because you SOMEHOW think Deftones write mediocre music is why you can't see the comparison. 

Monk 0 Nuggets
11/02/2011
02:35AM
Age: 28
Location
Buffalo, NY

It's weird that it seems like no one has heard of them until recently.  I played a few shows with them back in 2005/06 and they were just as great then.

Zach Roth
11/02/2011
09:19AM
Age: 26
Location
Fishers, Indiana
adjective

Mostly because I highly dislike them but I really don't understand the comparison to the Deftones, I hear nothing similar except that they're using the same instruments, anything the Deftones have written in my opinion, is blah.

Without getting as butthurt as Chris, I'd agree that there are Deftones vibes-- obviously the more downtempo and ambient Deftones stuff, not the rap-rock.

Top Albums: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 || Tumblr | Twitter

Nick Senior
11/02/2011
11:24AM
Age: 28
Location
Ellicott City, MD

Yeah obviously I heard it.  RIYL and comparisons are simply what I found an album to sound like.  A lot of reviewers saw a Neurosis vibe here, which I didn't catch as much.  It's all up to the individual listener. 

Currently Listening To:

Fallujah- The Flesh Prevails
Wovenwar- S/T
Within the Ruins- Phenomena

Nicholas
11/02/2011
12:10PM
Age: 33
Location
Baton Rouge
Zach Roth
adjective

Mostly because I highly dislike them but I really don't understand the comparison to the Deftones, I hear nothing similar except that they're using the same instruments, anything the Deftones have written in my opinion, is blah.

Without getting as butthurt as Chris, I'd agree that there are Deftones vibes-- obviously the more downtempo and ambient Deftones stuff, not the rap-rock.

Oh, so you just mean everything they have released in the last ten years :)

Sonnambulanaut
11/02/2011
12:16PM
Age: 31
Location
Salt Lake City, UT
Nick Senior
Yeah obviously I heard it.  RIYL and comparisons are simply what I found an album to sound like.  A lot of reviewers saw a Neurosis vibe here, which I didn't catch as much.  It's all up to the individual listener. 

I hear the Nuerosis and Swans vibe heavily, always have. Deftones is just another California Nu-Metal band to me and Junius couldn't be farther away from that.
buck09
11/02/2011
12:30PM
Age: 33
Location
Reno, NV
adjective
Nick Senior
Yeah obviously I heard it.  RIYL and comparisons are simply what I found an album to sound like.  A lot of reviewers saw a Neurosis vibe here, which I didn't catch as much.  It's all up to the individual listener. 

I hear the Nuerosis and Swans vibe heavily, always have. Deftones is just another California Nu-Metal band to me and Junius couldn't be farther away from that.
Nick Senior

Yeah obviously I heard it.  RIYL and comparisons are simply what I found an album to sound like.  A lot of reviewers saw a Neurosis vibe here, which I didn't catch as much.  It's all up to the individual listener. 

I'll take your side somewhat adjective in saying I never got into the Deftones. Not gonna bash them but just couldn't get into them. I myself get more of a gothic vibe like Type O Negative believe it or not, maybe its the vocal tone and even a Tool/Maynard vibe. But either way, its good shit.

Nick Senior
11/02/2011
12:43PM
Age: 28
Location
Ellicott City, MD

I think one of the coolest things about Junius is that their sound is so multi-faceted.  Everyone hears something different in them, which is not common in today's music.

Currently Listening To:

Fallujah- The Flesh Prevails
Wovenwar- S/T
Within the Ruins- Phenomena

Nicholas
11/02/2011
01:15PM
Age: 33
Location
Baton Rouge
adjective

Nick Senior

Yeah obviously I heard it. RIYL and comparisons are simply what I found an album to sound like. A lot of reviewers saw a Neurosis vibe here, which I didn't catch as much. It's all up to the individual listener.

I hear the Nuerosis and Swans vibe heavily, always have. Deftones is just another California Nu-Metal band to me and Junius couldn't be farther away from that.

At the end of time, Adjective, you and I will grapple at the top of Mt. Rock, from which I will throw you and exclaim victoriously, "Deftones were not just another California Nu-Metal band!"

Sonnambulanaut
11/03/2011
06:22AM
Age: 31
Location
Salt Lake City, UT

That's like stage 4 of the denial process.

Nicholas
11/03/2011
06:29AM
Age: 33
Location
Baton Rouge
adjective

That's like stage 4 of the denial process.

The skies shall be red with fury as the thunder rolls!

Sonnambulanaut
11/03/2011
02:48PM
Age: 31
Location
Salt Lake City, UT

that sounds like the basis of an awful nu-metal song

Nicholas
11/03/2011
03:09PM
Age: 33
Location
Baton Rouge
adjective

that sounds like the basis of an awful nu-metal song

Feelings will be involved.

BobbyLight
11/04/2011
05:53AM
Age: 32
Location
Milwaukee, WI

This is the second time I am trying to get into these guys and I have the exact same problem as before.  The vocals aren't any good.  They aren't bad, but they bore me, there is absolutely nothing exciting about them.  I just can't get into it.

Sonnambulanaut
11/04/2011
09:24AM
Age: 31
Location
Salt Lake City, UT
Nicholas
adjective
that sounds like the basis of an awful nu-metal song

Feelings will be involved.

Nu-metal feelings of angst and daddy hating, of which, will crawl through your skin, leaving wounds that will never heal.
Sonnambulanaut
11/04/2011
09:25AM
Age: 31
Location
Salt Lake City, UT
BobbyLight

This is the second time I am trying to get into these guys and I have the exact same problem as before.  The vocals aren't any good.  They aren't bad, but they bore me, there is absolutely nothing exciting about them.  I just can't get into it.

Your ears are broken, Joseph has the voice of god.

Zach Roth
11/04/2011
09:55AM
Age: 26
Location
Fishers, Indiana

Technically it's the voice of Jesus' step-dad.

Top Albums: 2013 | 2012 | 2011 | 2010 | 2009 || Tumblr | Twitter

Nicholas
11/04/2011
10:18AM
Age: 33
Location
Baton Rouge
BobbyLight

This is the second time I am trying to get into these guys and I have the exact same problem as before.  The vocals aren't any good.  They aren't bad, but they bore me, there is absolutely nothing exciting about them.  I just can't get into it.

Don't worry, dude. It's not just you. They put me to sleep, as well. Also, they kind of sound like that dude from The Killers.

Sonnambulanaut
11/04/2011
10:41AM
Age: 31
Location
Salt Lake City, UT

It's both of you actually, broken ear syndrome with a possible case of nu-metal-angstitus.

BobbyLight
11/05/2011
04:11AM
Age: 32
Location
Milwaukee, WI

Yes, clearly nu-metal has ruined my ears.  Damn you Limp Bizkit!

Nah, I just really think that guy has a really boring voice.  I can't get into them.