Journal – Casualties of War (2007) and Unlorja (2010)

This is a big day, and here’s two more reviews for Journal.

Casualties of War

Have you ever been charged with manslaughter? Has your doctor ever told you that you had schizophrenia or were bipolar? Do you feel a visceral hate for any music besides what’s on your personal computer or iPod?

If you answered yes to one of these questions, then Journal is for you.

Directly from California, this band hits us like a tour van going 100 mph (like it could go that fast… well maybe down a hill). With a special and unique blend of deathcore, math, grind, progressive metal and punk, they seem to twist and bend their instruments to the point where they are about to break.

Of course, this is purely figurative.

Casualties of War really begins after a short intro from which you can only sense the coming of a storm. A storm you most likely will underestimate until you actually listen to the album. It’s relentless winds, coupled with rain and hail, and lightning striking everything including you.

The album shows subtle humor, like in song titles “Hey Ryan, Quit Acting Like Borat” or “It’s Not My Fault, It’s the San Andreas Fault”, which does not (much to my surprise) interfere with the appreciation of the music. Maybe that’s because I never paid attention to lyrics that much.

Shame on me.

Joseph Van Houten’s guitars and Justin Tvetan’s drums are two things you’ll want to focus on while listening to Journal. They are both beastly musicians, and they play fast songs and intricate parts. It is easy to see they’ve been playing together for a long time, and evolved together to form a truly brilliant duo.

Casualties of War was out in 2007.

I give the album 48/50.


Listen to Unlorja while reading the review!

“Cohesive Chaotic Video-Game Inspired Metal”, as read on Journal’s facebook page, takes its whole meaning with the concept album of Unlorja.

80 fucking minutes of the same brand of mixed-up progressive mathmetal grindcore!

But it’s more than just that, this time our buddies here tell us a story, with much inspiration from the videogame world. The story is told in its entirety in the second half of the last song, an epic orchestral closing piece, “Affinity”, by a charming voice accompanied by dreamy acoustic guitars.

It is a story of brother betrayal and fratricide, of legends and prophecies, secrets and mysteries, and a final boss fight in “A Remarkable Abomination”. All this taking place in an imaginary world, where humans and aeons not-so-peacefully cohabitate, and where foul creatures roam the world.

Journal has gained much XP with their previous album Casualties of War, so they assumingly levelled up. Their musician skills were given more dexterity and swiftness, their song- and lyrics-writing abilities benefitted from more points in intelligence, and more strength make the album heavier than the previous one. They even got enough credits to replace Mike Zanolini’s departure with Jesse Alford, Drew Winter, AND Akoni Berman. That’s it! Not one, but three vocalists on this album! This provides one of the most interesting ways to tell a story I’ve heard.  They are only guests and not permanent members, though :(

Journal is working on new stuff to come. Let’s all hope it’s sooner than later.

Show these guys some love on facebook.

Unlorja gets 80 000XP.


One comment on Journal – Casualties of War (2007) and Unlorja (2010)

  1. SkollWinters says:

    I haven’t heard Casualties of War but Unlorja, over 1 play though became my favourite album in recent memory, if not my favourite album ever. Since then I have listened to it at least 20 times. Actually, scratch that it is my favourite album EVER to date. The only thing I’m not too fussed about are some of the clean vocals, they just don’t sound as epic as the rest of the brutal screams. For me, the outstanding track simply has to be the monumental Affinity. It’s aggressive mathcore start, followed up half way through by the enchanting story narrated by a beautiful voice, being woven through delicate yet intricate acoustic flourishes and spiked with bursts of brutality. I think this should be heard by everyone who likes truly epic musicianship, creative lyrics and expert vocal delivery, even if only once. I understand that people have different tastes but something like this should be heard, as I said, at least once. This magnum opus will remain in 1st place on my Best Album Ever Created for a long time, simply because to be able to top this the album would have to give me multiple orgasms!

    So in review, buy and listen to Unlorja… now!