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Journal: Unlorja

"Journal are an ultr-technical, Nintendo influenced, Indie-Noisecore band residing in Sacramento, California."

Um, ok...Never did understand why any band would want to associate themselves with 'Nintendo' anything, and it's safe to say that Journal are pretty 'out there', but for the most part these guys can be enjoyable when you get past all the musical & vocal mayhem going on. This is chaotic extreme metal, with plenty of punk, hardcore, and prog elements flying about the mix. Most tunes rampage at ferocious speeds, with blood curdling screams, growls, and bellows doing battle with insane drum fills and some highly impressive guitar gymnastics. When these guys are firing on all cylinders, like the Dillinger Escape Plan-meets-Protest the Hero-meets-Between the Buried and Me-meets Dream Theater prog/math bombast of "Viela", you can't help but be impressed by the technical wizardry and sense of melody this band can harness. Joe Van Houten & Tony Juvinall weave all sorts of complex, dizzying guitar patterns around each other at just about every corner, like on the screamo-tech-death of "Conducting With Passion From The Grave" as well as the brutal yet melodic title track. I'll bet the band has an 'affinity' for Devin Townsend, as many of these songs reach Strapping Young Lad tones & intensity, while the 30 minute closer "Affinity" is an atmospheric, spacey, and proggy epic that wouldn't be out of place on one of Devy's solo outings.

Unlorja certainly isn't going to be for everyone, as at times things are just too chaotic and manic for its own good, but let's give Journal plenty of credit, as these guys are way talented and way courageous to put out something as 'go for the jugular' over the top as this and make it work for the most part. Definitely a band to check into if you like the ultra-technical noise-core-metal thing.

Track Listing
1. Labyrinth Of Betrayal
2. Tragic Aura
3. The Velvet Ribbon
4. Viela
5. Conducting With Passion From The Grave
6. Village Of The Elders
7. Blight Reflections
8. Unlorja
9. Illuminence
10. Festooned With Snakes
11. A Remarkable Abomination
12. Affinity

Added: June 23rd 2011
Reviewer: Pete Pardo
Related Link: Band MySpace Page
Hits: 1920
Language: english

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Journal: Unlorja
Posted by Brian Block, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-06-23 15:58:17
My Score:

While I love both concept albums and video games, the two definitely don't go together. Unlorja, a self proclaimed 'Nintendo Metal Band', created this album as the story of two brothers who get at odds with each other and then the one brother kills the other with the sward which is aptly named 'Unlorja'.

Now the music is definitely not something that I would like to listen to while I'm playing my video games by any stretch of the imagination. The almost chaotic thrash/groove metal that Journal plays is ok for most of the time, but after a while it starts to wear down on my patience. Granted it does have some wicked guitar playing during a lot of the album, but the vocals are absolutely horrendous. The album goes back and forth between trash and grindcore the whole time, and that is not a combination that is kind to the ears in any sense. What's different about this album is that every once in a while there's a soft song to break it up from the ear splitting madness that is Unlorja.

The one good song on this album is the outro, a 30 minute epic that is very progressive and concludes this Nintendo inspired story. Thankfully the only vocals on this track are spoken and while this might seem a little weird to most people it is really cool especially with the underlying guitar work during the whole song.

While all this might sound great to some people, I found it a little too rushed and chaotic. I didn't get much enjoyment out of this one, but some people might if you like fast, screaming, chaotic music. But from me it's getting 2 stars.

Journal: Unlorja
Posted by Scott Ward, SoT Staff Writer on 2011-04-22 12:05:30
My Score:

A video game concept album based on a vision conjured up by the band. The title of the album refers to a magical sword that is a key element to the story. This disc is definitely geared toward the short attention span crowd that would spend the majority of their free time with a game controller in their hands.

For the most part these guys bring to you an extreme metal extravaganza but their obvious musical talent shines through never less. Amazing guitar wizardry abounds throughout the disc even though you might have to endure some very chaotic, brutal stuff to find it. These guys are just a bit over the top when it comes to their helter-skelter musical approach. When they harness it a bit such as in the song "Blight Reflections" "Viela" or the title track "Unlorja" the results are a powerful display of their abilities and what they are capable of.

The 30 minute album closer "Affinity" is a progish trip to the realm of fantasy that every person who has spent time with a Nintendo has entered at some point. This extended narration of the tale is a real once pass through type of song which grows tiresome with the repeating background music over the female storyteller. I think there could have been a lot more creativity put into this work.

All in all this is not a bad album but one that will test your patience and your endurance. If you want a bit of extreme brutality this is a good choice. If you are looking for something more than I suggest you stay away.

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