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Lion of Judah "Universal Peace" CD

Posted on Tuesday, November 7th, 2006 @ 8:57am » permalink

Lion of Judah - Universal PeaceI had been meaning to check out this somewhat mysterious Washington, DC act for awhile now, and I'm kicking myself for sleeping on their first EP. "Universal Peace", their debut full-length on Youngblood Records, is what I would best describe as "progressive" hardcore, and it offers a pretty damn impressive blend of influences that comes across as significantly more inventive than the vast majority of the hardcore you'll come across these days. Even the traditionally based chord progressions and straightforward hardcore energy are layered with everything from technically sound riffs ala Burn or Turning Point to strangely rocked out runs that remind me of later Leeway, with a few noisy leads on occasion and plenty of those ringing DC undercurrents that create a great sense of melody. Some of that may also be due to the fact that the album was recorded by Don Zientara, so there's a nice, dry sound with a lot of natural texture to it – highlighting the punchy basslines and generally interesting rhythmic flow all around. It's weird, because as creative and forward-thinking as this material is, there's an odd sort of "dated" quality to it, but in a really bizarre and interesting way. I can't quite peg it, and I sort of feel silly making the comparisons I've made – reference points or not – because these cats seem more often to garner loose comparisons to more significant "classics" like the Bad Brains or something, which is probably an influence, but… I don't find their sound to make that apparent. Whatever the case, this is a pretty amazing record, and I highly recommend this shit. Awesome.

Lion of Judah "Mousetrapped"
Lion of Judah "Astral Master"

You know my shtick, so don't be an ass, show some support and make the purchase if you dig the tunes (and you should). It's listed as a "pre-order" on the Youngblood site, but it's officially out and shipping now:

@ Youngblood Records
@ RevHQ

12 Comments...

  1. Anonymous says:

    i think i hear a twinge of rollins band in there. good stuff…..

  2. Anonymous says:

    I think the music is just allright on these two songs
    but the flat vocals kill it for me. For a far superior modern take on what these guys are doing listen to Stillsuit's Green Spock Ears then go back to the HC and post HC bands that influenced them (absolution, quicksand, burn, leeway). Its just too formulaic with no soul. For this type of band you need a vocalist who is more Hip-Hop/Jazz Influenced, not so much a standard HC vocalist.

  3. Anonymous says:

    cool songs. "so scared to live, but I'm afraid to die" is a great line

  4. Anonymous says:

    check Burst: Origo if you didnt. Some also say that is something like progressive hardcore. Only bad things are vocals which are mostly the "same"…

  5. Anonymous says:

    "For this type of band you need a vocalist who is more Hip-Hop/Jazz Influenced, not so much a standard HC vocalist."

    not my favorite band in the world but this comment is just way out of line. check em out live…this band will blow most crowds and other acts away.

  6. Anonymous says:

    "you cant have everything you want" is good old wisdom. many bands have splited opinios of people because of vocals. Decapitated with last album per example…

  7. Anonymous says:

    shit is awsome everyone should pick this up. good review, great band, great record. Just be glad it dosent sond like every other band.

  8. Anonymous says:

    Yeah a hip hop jazz influenced singer is not at all what this band needs, it's not like their Candiria. And I personally think the vocals kick ass and the guy can write some killer lyrics.

  9. mark p. says:

    I love this band! Their EP was great and I'm super psyched to pick up this record. Totally agree with the Burn and late '80s DC comparisons, but am I nuts for picking up a bit of a later Black Flag influence too? Definitely an example of a band that displays their influences proudly without sounding like any one band. I love this shit.

    I wouldn't say they need a "hip-hop/jazz influenced" vocalist (what does that even mean?), but I think they could benefit a bit from a more "soulful" vocal delivery, maybe like HR or Richie/Underdog? The vocals here sound way more powerful than they did on the EP though.

  10. ryan says:

    This record is cool, but I gotta agree with the vocals being pretty mediocre. I mean it's probably better than a jazz/hip hop vocalist but some more range would be nice. "Astral Master' and the instrumental are actually my favorite tunes on this. Some of it seems like they're playing fast for the sake of it and it ends up hurting the songs. Totally reminds me of SWIZ and 1.6 BAND.

  11. jim fucking winters says:

    Fuck. How did i miss this review?

    – It's weird, because as creative and forward-thinking as this material is, there's an odd sort of "dated" quality to it, but in a really bizarre and interesting way. I can't quite peg it, and I sort of feel silly making the comparisons I've made – reference points or not – because these cats seem more often to garner loose comparisons to more significant "classics" like the Bad Brains or something, which is probably an influence, but… I don't find their sound to make that apparent.

    Dude, you're spot on!

    I actually played 2 leads on this.

    I remember, we (The Promise) played some shows with LOJ early on and i kept thinking of Burn or Absolution for some reason, even though they didn't even (really) sound like' either of them. Well, maybe one thing does sound like a fairly blatant Absolution bite but…
    They were always one of the only bands that we played with who stuck out..
    They definitely seemed to be aiming for more of a Black Flag, Swiz, Dag Nasty, Bad Brains, thing, and considering they went with Don Zientara and Inner Ear their choice was only too obvious.
    If you listen to Ahron and Gene's (guitar and drums) new band it"s all about Swiz.

    as for the tempos… with those riffs?
    There's no comparison between this and their ep.
    The tempos on there are slower and it tends to drag it all dowwwn.

    The vox – They are what they are. I never loved 'em, or really liked 'em but…it doesn't kill the rest of it for me.

    Shit, i listen to early Trouble now and can't believe Eric Wagner's vocals so… i can deal. Haha.

    As far as

    – Anonymous said:
    November 7th, 2006 @ 5:48 pm
    For a far superior modern take on what these guys are doing listen to Stillsuit's Green Spock Ears then go back to the HC and post HC bands that influenced them (absolution, quicksand, burn, leeway).

    I see the point but trying to compare these dudes to Stillsuit, Orange 9, Leeway (?) etc. is basically useless.
    They were obviously going for something different from that.
    Come to think of it, I woner if they've ever even heard Green Spock Ears. Haha. Hands down one of the best EP's to ever come outta NY!

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