JUDGEMENT DAY - BETWEEN G(O)OD AND (D)EVIL (Independent)

 

KIT Festival in Germany is one epic highlight, and I had to chance to attend the 2014 edition for the first time. Besides great bands and a positive vibe, you are able to meet people from all over the globe. Even the hotels in the neighborhood are packed with metalheads and music junks, and that’s exactly what happened to me when I met the guy next-door in our hotel. Roman Inauen introduced himself as the drummer of Judgement Day, a band from Switzerland, that released a 5 track EP called ‘Between G(o)od & (D)evil’. I promised Roman to have a good listen, once back home, and I decided that a review is the least I can do to express my opinion.

First of all, the title of the EP is marvelous and phenomenal! This is exactly what I’m looking for, as it gives depth to the artist, it indicates that people are thinking about details and small matters, but exactly those things make the difference.

Drummer Roman auditioned with Hellhammer before in the pre-Celtic Frost era, and he also joined Messiah for a short period of time. Around 86, he founded Judgement Day with the intention to write and create music with a more melodic and epic approach. Together with bass player André Steiner (1965-1997), the American Steve Barringer and Martin Widmer (second lead guitar player) they started rehearsing and writing music. When Daniel Neukom, keyboard player and studio engineer, joined the band, they started in creating the final sound of Judgement Day. The EP that I hold in hands right now was recorded in October 1988, although the first three songs, and track four was recorded at the rehearsal space in Baar around 86/87. The final track ‘Within T(IM)e – A DruMonologue’ was recorded May 22nd 2013 and those 5 songs together are finally released in 2014. Steve went back to the States shortly after the recordings, so with the release of this album, the prospects of performing anywhere are rather bleak. 

The first song is ‘Search For The Unknown/Riddle Of The Sphinx’, which takes +7 minutes and contains from the very first moment very interesting guitar riffing. Albeit dated  (of course it is, as the recordings took place almost 3 decades ago), the song has a very intriguing melody line that continues all the way with a hypnotizing effect!  Some parts have resemblances with Manilla Road at their best, and once you dig the throat of Steve, you will enjoy this trip to the past. What I like the most is the continuous changes in arrangement, without losing control. The song is a real delight and gets better and better after a few spins. If you are looking for outstanding guitars with long drawn guitar pieces, the title track offers even more power and rhythm! I must admit that the vocals aren’t always 100% correct, but it has charisma at the same time. This is pure and honest music from people that want to go all the way! ‘Prisoner Of Fate’ has a more direct approach with a very heavy layer, and again we hear that Judgement Day was a band with potential, but unfortunately they missed the train to success.

Drumroll is the beginning of ‘Vision In The Highlands’ that hasn’t the same sound as the first three songs.  Compared with the previous material, it’s a little setback, even after the nice break. The final track has a weird spelling and the capital letters IM indicate ‘I am’, in other words, I exist in the frame of time. The drum solo starts with a heartbeat, followed by a clockwork, later in the song and ends with a flatline. Along with the picture on the booklet, it states that our lives are limited in time. 

If I have to be honest, I would say that the first three songs on this EP are milestones and highlights. These tracks stand out for the rest of the album, but unfortunately, the quality doesn’t remain on the fourth track and I would personally skip the drum solo as fifth track. Convert this album or songs into points yield 85/100 for the first three songs only, and 75/100 for the whole album. So, let’s end with a good average of 80 points for this Suisse adventure!

My rating:  80 / 100

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95+ : Outstanding, high valued albums & Classic Ones… a direct purchase is advisable !

Between 90 and 95: Surpasses the style of music, must be heard/ordered by every Metal fan

Between 80 and 89: Good in its own genre, recommended for those hooked on it

Between 70 and 79: Decent but best previewing

Between 60 and 69: Rather moderate

Between 50 and 59: Bad, substandard

50- : Rubbish