Ecclectic sludge/doom/noise-rock road warriors Jucifer will be making their annual trip to Toronto TONITE!!!!, where The Garrison should prove to be a suitable venue for their sonic attack. The interesting thing about this band is that while they’re heavier than a herd of thundering elephants in the live setting, their recorded output tends more towards poppier, grunge-rock territory–excluding their latest full-length, that is. Alas, I’ll be taking a look back at their last three albums over the next couple days in anticipation of this gig. Note to self: Earplugs are essential.
Throned in Blood (Nomadic Fortress, 2010)
Branching out on their own with their self-styled Nomadic Fortress imprint (while still distributed by Relapse), Jucifer did things differently with this album. You’ll notice a change right when you put this one in your CD player and it reads 36:51, only half as long as its predecessor. But just wait till you press play…
The title track features much rawer screaming that one is used to from Amber Valentine, to say nothing of the black-metal cacophony heard in the background. This almost sounds like early Floridian death metal at times, while at others it’s a slowly-oozing sludge. A huge departure from If Thine Enemy Hunger, that’s for sure! “Contempt” continues on its bludgeoning deathly sludge path, while “Work Will Make Us Free” is almost catchy in its straightforward rumble—before it kicks up the pace about five or six notches. Remember those two grindcore tunes on L’Autrichienne? Stick ‘em in the middle of, say, “She Tides the Deep,” throw in Fenriz on vocals, and you’ve got the idea.
Let’s just say that if you enjoyed Valentine’s sweet, syrupy singing voice, you’ll be disappointed in this record. Another mighty howl opens “Return of the Native,” which trawls through the muck in ragged fashion, hovering around slightly-slow territory for its duration. “Disciples of an Expanding Sun” does see some cleanish singing over a slow, deliberate pace akin to “Armada” off its predecessor, although this one lays on the distortion a little more heavily. But it’s back to the vomitous vocals on “Hiroshima,” perhaps the heaviest tune on here. This one’s about as destructive as… Aww fuck it, I ain’t got no quarrel with the Japanese.
“Rifles” is another slow-mo death/sludge number, with a few words sung in Spanish for good measure. We then go from one extreme to the other—58-second grind number “Good Provider” to the 7+ minute “Spoils to the Conqueror,” the latter boasting some decent trad-doom riffs initially, though it throws in a few time changes with some mid-paced sludgy moments. Things then end on a mellower note, “Armageddon” beginning with banjo, Valentine sounding like a coal-miner’s daughter, as opposed to a master of the pits. We’re used to this kinda thing from Jucifer, though maybe not on this album.
Alas, Throned in Blood is definitely the most “metal” recording Jucifer has ever made, though I don’t think it’s necessarily their best work. Sometimes metal isn’t always what’s best—though I never would’ve believed that when I was 14.