You do not always think of Denmark when it comes to metal. Sure, you have the mighty Mercyful Fate and King Diamond being the highest profile exports, followed by Power Metal outfit Pyramaze, Death Metal outfits Hatesphere and Mnemic and of course, the ever popular and infectious hard rockers Volbeat, but other than that, there isn’t much in terms of well known or familiar. That is not to say that there isn’t much to the Danish Metal Scene at all, Malrun, a melodic death metal 5 piece I covered a few years back were rather good and next up for me to give my opinion on is Justify Rebellion, a 4 piece who play a thrash metal orientated blend of groove and melodic death metal seem to show a lot of promise.
“The End Justifies The Means” is the band’s second full length release and the accompanying press release certainly beams with praise about it, stating that the band have grown and refined their sound from their debut ‘Unleash The Beast’ – packing more punch, crunch and heaviness across the board. Naturally, you have to take any press release with a pinch of salt as it is their job to try and sell the album, and it is our job to see if it lives up to the hype, so let’s see if this rebellion and big talk is the end which the rebellion is trying to justify, or would other means have been more effective.
Right off the bat, you can hear several influences to the band’s sound and approach. There is a hint of Bay Area thrash in there a la Testament, the infectious hard rocking melodies of Volbeat and the modern metal aggression and sound of bands like the early 2000’s Trivium and Atreyu. The melodic death metal style guitar harmonies and shred sections are reminiscent of In Flames’ later works and there’s even some slick groove metal work which has faint traces of Pantera and Prong in there. Basically, it has a very familiar and identifiable sound and approach and it works well enough.
The way all the influences and similarities are blended together flows rather well. The punchy delivery rhythmically provides a solid foundation and structure for the vocals which jump between commanding growls, strong shouts and melodic cleans, to do their job on. Acting as a melodic hook, they have a memorable edge to them and when you throw in the pedal tone riffs, tight chord stabs/chugs and clever pacing and voicings, you have tracks which work on all levels. There might be some dud moments or some fairly generic approaches in parts, but overall, it works well and it has a memorable impact.
“Crowd Control” surges forwards off the instrumental/sample track opener and hits with some force. Punchy thrash riffs with tight rhythmic control and hard hitting vocals make for a solid musical opening. “Shameless” is a heavy slice of sleazy feel-groove metal. The massive distorted wall of guitar thunders away and oozes power stances and demands headbanging and “The Summoning” hits like a modern metal track from 2005 – infectious sing along choruses, big sounding verses with plenty of bite and a slick guitar solo with just the right amount of flair and style it make it worth noticing!
Of course, for all the good moments of the album, especially the first half, there are a few bland moments too. “The Bringer Of War” has some good atmospheric work, but it is your typical thrash number about Satan ruining the world, a very overused subject theme if there ever was one. The closing track “The Throne Of Greed” is a 7+ minute long number which has some great compositional work, most notably with the chorus and the vocals, but despite the promise of the track, the fact that the variety on offer on the first half of the album seems to be pushed aside in favour of the modern metal approach for the rest of the tracks; most notably focusing on the riff based approach. Whilst there may be some flashes of individuality here and there, and the band’s own flair coming through, especially with the choruses, the later stages of the album aren’t quite as memorable as the first parts.
In all, for Justify Rebellion, the ends they have gone to have certainly justified the means of their musical sound and approach. What this album offers is a solid slice of melodic metal loaded with well blended influences across the board. They all work well and create a solid end result, leading to some great musical moments along with creating a solid foundation for future releases. Justify Rebellion seem to have a bright future ahead of them and who knows, maybe they could help spearhead a Danish Metal revolution?