Judicator - Let There Be Nothing review




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Reviewer:
8.5

54 users:
7.78
Band: Judicator
Album: Let There Be Nothing
Release date: July 2020


01. Let There Be Light
02. Tomorrow's Sun
03. Strange To The World
04. Autumn Of Souls
05. Gloria
06. Amber Dusk
07. The Way Of A Pilgrim
08. Let There Be Nothing


I too like Blind Guardian.

I like power metal more than I may show it, but I lose interest in bands that have been going on for a long time and haven't really changed their formula much. But I'm also too distanced from the power metal scene to really be on the lookout for new bands that much. So much so that most of the newer power metal bands I checked out were the parody-like overly cheesy one, so that we can laugh together at how cheesy power metal is. But the appeal of that only lasts so long. Most of the times I genuinely appreciate power metal it's either one of two things: a US power metal album that is a bit rougher and riffier and overall less cheesy (think Iced Earth, Helstar or Jag Panzer); or if it's Blind Guardian. Here comes Judicator which are basically both of these things.

Though I really liked their previous album too, 2018's The Last Emperor, I can't say that back then I was as starved of good power metal as I am now, and listening to both back to back I am amazed both at how consistently good they are, and at how I didn't have a power metal revelation back then as well. Needless to say, Judicator also follow another one of my favorite power metal tropes: historical concept albums. And Lord knows we needed another power metal band to take history this seriously other than damn Sabaton. Let There Be Nothing is based on the life and deeds of Belisarius, a Byzantine general serving under Emperor Justinian, who pretty much was the greatest Byzantine Emperor, supposedly the last one to be a native Latin speaker, and under whose rule the Hagia Sophia was built, but most importantly under whose rule the size of the Empire was almost doubled. And guess who was the general most responsible for said conquests? That's right, Belisarius. Too bad that right afterwards, what is probably volcanic ash filled the atmosphere for about two years making Sunlight sparse, which lead to widespread famine. And a plague, which was basically the same species as the later Black Death, whose lowest death toll estimate is 25 million people. The Empire pretty much never properly recovered.

Enough of history, you can read the Wikipedia articles for that. One of the greatest generals of late Antiquity/early Middle Ages serves as inspiration for a damn great power metal and that's all you really need to know. This being Judicator's fifth album, the band here are the tightest they've ever been. Galloping riffs, graceful guitar solos, vocal harmonies, times when you can *gasp* actually hear the bass, all that you could possibly want from a power metal album. First things first, vocalist John Yelland sounds dangerously close to Hansi Kürsch, which does feel a bit too close to my liking, but then again who can blame him for wanting to sound like the second greatest metal vocalist of all time? I wish I sounded like Hansi Kürsch. Though he isn't the only element of Judicator's sound to sound close to Blind Guardian, he is the most instantly striking. The lyrics being so narrative as they are means that a lot of it is less chorus-focused than usual, and that Yelland's vocals are something you'll hear a lot of here. Though they are great enough on their own, the vocal harmonies are something that really deserve their own praise.

The instrumental side doesn't fall that much behind either, though they are clearly not completely center-stage, which is sometimes evidenced in the mixing. Some European power metal influence does come mostly through that German band who should be obvious by now, but the rest of the music is pretty grounded in the US power metal sound, with some thrashier moments, especially in the solos, and even some epic doom metal sounding moments. The solos are pretty flashy, but they always serve the epic nature of the album, and this is certainly not the type of album where I would've expected to find a Christian Münzner solo, to prove that if anything from Europe is going to be on this album, it will be from Germany. Except the story. And most importantly, as I previously noted, the bass does have enough of a presence to make it noticeable, even though the bassist has since left the band. Through the nearly hour-long runtime of the album, the band knows how to juggle with riffs, pace-changes, harmonies and styles to make it all worthwhile, making Let There Be Nothing the best of both US or Euro power metal that you'll hear this year, unless we get some more surprises along the road.

And it is here with Let There Be Nothing that I have to shamefully admit that power metal is something where the damn Americans have us beat.



Rating breakdown
Performance: 9
Songwriting: 9
Originality: 7
Production: 7


 



Written on 11.08.2020 by My opinion is objective, sorry if you don't agree, but you're wrong.


Comments

Comments: 11   Visited by: 103 users
11.08.2020 - 17:54
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
That boy did it, beers up.
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
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11.08.2020 - 19:24
musclassia
Yeah this must be a lock for power metal album of the year, it's heavily indebted to Blind Guardian but has more than enough about it to stand on its own rather than just being a colourless clone
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12.08.2020 - 01:19
nikarg
Mod
I really like this review. The album is good, of course BG is an influence but it doesn't sound like a rip-off. I wonder who you'd put above Hansi... Rob, I assume?

Written by Bad English on 11.08.2020 at 17:54

That boy did it, beers up.

That boy had already added the album in his review list long before you made that comment in the album thread. You were right though, I also wanted to do it but then I realized he had already claimed it. That boy's damn fast, too.
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12.08.2020 - 08:55
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by nikarg on 12.08.2020 at 01:19

I wonder who you'd put above Hansi... Rob, I assume?

Seth Putnam
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




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12.08.2020 - 12:28
Bad English
Tage Westerlund
Written by nikarg on 12.08.2020 at 01:19

I really like this review. The album is good, of course BG is an influence but it doesn't sound like a rip-off. I wonder who you'd put above Hansi... Rob, I assume?

Written by Bad English on 11.08.2020 at 17:54

That boy did it, beers up.

That boy had already added the album in his review list long before you made that comment in the album thread. You were right though, I also wanted to do it but then I realized he had already claimed it. That boy's damn fast, too.

That boy usuallty dont listen good metal as this
----
Life is to short for LOVE, there is many great things to do online !!!

Stormtroopers of Death - ''Speak English or Die''

I better die, because I never will learn speek english, so I choose dieing
Loading...
12.08.2020 - 14:29
tominator
At best deranged
Well I was also working on a review for this one. But it would have ended with the exact same score and many of the points mentioned in the review would have been similar.

So yeah, I share a very similar opinion on this album. Absolutely great stuff. As far as historical concept albums goes, this is (definitely at the moment) one of the best ones out there imo. Especially in the power metal genre.

Excellent review!
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12.08.2020 - 14:34
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by tominator on 12.08.2020 at 14:29

Well I was also working on a review for this one. But it would have ended with the exact same score and many of the points mentioned in the review would have been similar.

So yeah, I share a very similar opinion on this album. Absolutely great stuff. As far as historical concept albums goes, this is (definitely at the moment) one of the best ones out there imo. Especially in the power metal genre.

Excellent review!

Thank you,

Thankfully there are other Judicator albums that lay without reviews instead.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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13.08.2020 - 00:25
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
If you have to be one power metal band, you should be Blind Guardian. I really liked The Last Emperor, so seeing that 8.5 sets some high expectations.

I know that you secretly enjoy some power metal, but it still doesn't fit my image of your tastes, so seeing you praise Hansi so highly is unexpected. I must know: if Hansi is #2, whom do you consider the #1 greatest metal vocalist?
----
Umaku naritai umaku naritai umaku naritai umaku naritai

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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13.08.2020 - 04:17
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 13.08.2020 at 00:25

I must know: if Hansi is #2, whom do you consider the #1 greatest metal vocalist?

I have already answered that in a previous comment.
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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13.08.2020 - 04:49
ScreamingSteelUS
Editor-in-Chief
Written by RaduP on 13.08.2020 at 04:17

Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 13.08.2020 at 00:25

I must know: if Hansi is #2, whom do you consider the #1 greatest metal vocalist?

I have already answered that in a previous comment.

Well, yes, but
----
Umaku naritai umaku naritai umaku naritai umaku naritai

I'm the Agent of Steel.
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13.08.2020 - 09:43
RaduP
CertifiedHipster
Written by ScreamingSteelUS on 13.08.2020 at 00:25

I must know: if Hansi is #2, whom do you consider the #1 greatest metal vocalist?

I named him my #2 specifically so I could make the Seth Putnam joke, but for a serious answer, it would be between Bruce Dickinson, Dan Swano and ICS Vortex
----
- I've dreamt of that for years.
- Dying?
- Running.




2020 goodies
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