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Judicator – The Majesty of Decay

Judicator
The Majesty of Decay
by Fred “Cage” Bonanno at 16 January 2023, 8:46 PM

Judicator is an American power metal band based out of Salt Lake City, Utah, Goodyear, Arizona, and Los Angeles, California. The band was formed in 2012 after singer/songwriter John Yelland met guitarist/songwriter Alicia Cordisco (who left the band in 2020) at a BLIND GUARDIAN concert two years prior. They released two historical based albums as a recording project, and then evolved into a full band. The band's lyrics center primarily on history, faith, and existentialism. Their debut release of “King of Rome” is based on the rise and fall of Napoleon Bonaparte. In 2015, the band released the album ''At the Expense of Humanity'' based on Yelland's experience of losing his older brother to cancer when he was a teenager. The album explores the struggles of the Yelland family during the tragic experience, as well as the questions it raised surrounding faith, death, and family. Their sixth full length album “The Majesty of Decay” full of epic and progressive power metal was released on November 25, 2022, and is  considered a turning point for the band, as it marks the first album without Alicia Cordisco, who up until her departure from the band had been the principal songwriter. This is the bands explanation behind this concept album and complex storyline: Whilst the album’s story remains somewhat shrouded in mystery, a compelling plot devices as a means to encourage fans to piece together the album’s meta-contextual threads. It explores the subjects of love, family, and the transformation of suffering into something meaningful. The album is a carefully constructed puzzle of mirrors and metaphor that cries out for the listener to solve.

I will start out by admitting that I did not know of JUDICATOR, but after digging into their history and the conception of this album, I couldn’t wait to crank it up and go on a musical exploration. I know that concept albums need to be listened to not only with the ears but your imagination to help bring the story to life. First, this is a very talented band musically, they presented a menagerie of sounds, tempos, beats and melodies dueling with rambunctious metal and erratic power grooves and throw in an occasional brass band to spice things up. They had songs that toyed with real heaviness, like on “Judgment” “Daughters of Swords” and “The High Priestess” but most of the songs were “stretched out” that had me checking my watch. The vocals are silky and immense, but many times felt like a high school chorus number. The best guitar-based song with driving riffs and a nice, hardened solo was on the title track “The Majesty of Decay”. I did read all the song’s lyrics, and, yes, they are deep, they may have been a little over my head because I could not solve the puzzle.

With so much going on, I didn’t want to give my final review without clearing my mind and giving the album a second and third listen, and like a four-year-old child begging for candy, it worn me down. I started to understand the thought-provoking message they were delivering, and while this is not for everybody, it’s a definite attention getter. My overall assessment is that “The Majesty of Decay” is a cross between, QUEEN meets YES meets SYMPHONY X on a Broadway stage full of intricate mini symphonies. JUDICATOR packaged a lot in this album, just as on previous works, proving they are not afraid to administer an experience of mystic, adventure and touch your emotions.

Songwriting: 9
Musicianship: 8
Memorability: 8
Production: 8

4 Star Rating

Tracklist:
1. Euphoric Parasitism
2. The Majesty of Decay
3. From the Belly of the Whale
4. Daughter of Swords
5. Ursa Minor
6. Ursa Major
7. The High Priestess
8. The Black Elk
9. Judgment
10. Metamorphosis
Lineup:
John Yelland – vocals
John Dolan – bass
Balmore Lemus – Guitars
Jordan Elcess – Drums
Record Label: Prosthetic Records
     


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