UNJUST haven’t been strangers anymore for a rather long time and after two really convincing albums (“Thin Line Emotions” and “Makeshift Grey”) you could expect quite a lot from the third work of this Bay Area band. But probably even in his wildest dreams no one would have expected that this third album, often described as a defining output in a band’s career, would reach that impressive dimensions. “Glow”, without already having entered into single songs, simply is a masterpiece.
It’s quite possible that UNJUST will be judged by this work during their whole life but nonetheless it was a wise decision to put the surveyor’s rod this high. No matter if they’ll ever reach this mark again themselves, with “Glow” they created an example of modern Metal and at the same time hit the Rock community so that, here, too, fans will soon lie to the feet of this band. Does all this sound a bit exaggerated? Well, then prepare yourselves for the acoustic hammers with which the latest album by UNJUST thunders through your speakers.
The round dance of great songs begins with the still very relaxed „Paper Planets“ which serves as an intro (it’s almost one minute long) before the band takes off for the first time and presents the direction of the album on “Throwin Pennies”. Razor-sharp riffs in the best manner of Bay Area Thrash/Power Metal are followed by wonderful acoustic intermezzi and a superb voice which winds about the musical compositions very melodiously but which is also able to transform into a hysteric tornado when necessary. The variation between the rather different passages fits perfectly and the songs are not at all taken out of the context. “Way Out” mounts the same “horse” and convinces with wonderfully acoustically accompanied verses and a powerful chorus which finally makes the song become an ear-wig. You could tag the following “Tired” somewhere between Power Metal, Rock smasher and Progressive Metal light. At first, calm, even melancholic sounds caress your ear before the band breaks the wall with the chorus and leaves nothing but rubble.
Of course, the heavy production by Mark Keaton (MACHINE HEAD, ...) with which the songs are blessed helps to do so but it just serves as stepping-stone. In the first place, seen from a songwriter’s point of view, every song is a winner. Want more proof? So let’s continue our journey and land at the fifth song, namely “Facepaint”. Wonderful melodies that are accompanied by quite sad and thoughtful undertones but that always let a light be seen at the end of the tunnel. Here the changes between sharp parts and slow intermediate passages are impressive, too. So is also the following and symphonicly starting “Fallling” which just doesn’t calm down towards the end and is a frontal attack. “Meantime”, however, is a mean smasher which searches its way through the thicket with a more moderate tempo and offers a wonderful middle part. Satisfactory once more is the varied and excellent voice of Paul Mendoza who feels home in every vocal pitch and is not afraid of sensible and clean vocal lines.
This indescribable condition is also maintained by the warming and fascinating „Closure“ which one again presents the unbelievable variety of this band. On this song, they easily reach spheres where only exceptional bands like DREDG dwell. Especially “Closure” would have easily found space on this band’s masterpiece “El Cielo” and it should be understood as a positive additional remark in this place. UNJUST self-evidently don’t need to fear any comparisons to other bands and those who have already got used to the more relaxed tones is instantly brought back into reality by “Knuckles”. This song is a smasher par excellence whereat the crystal clear vocals slightly take the wind out of the really sharp instrumentation’s sails. The short spheric intermezzo “Naming The Monster” is a kind of stopping for breath and a prelude to the next smasher and ends in the explosive “Notes From A Sunday Morning”. Driving guitar sounds and hypnotizing drums fall into wonderful acoustic and keyboard sounds again and again and you could say that they connect good and evil. “Capital” is no exception and funnily the changes between loud and silent still convince you instantly.
Where other bands begin to tumble after the third song UNJUST reveal new ingenious ideas and connect them with unique sense and finesse. This is also the case with “Myron” where the band goes crazy again although they don’t evoke comparisons to some popular Psycho Metal bands but do their own thing and thus leave the field as undisputed winners. The closing is the slow motion track “Room 5” which concludes an album that is absolutely satisfactory, that can be heard hundreds of times and to sum it up makes you addicted.
Thus it seems self-evident that the band was signed by the ex-FAITH NO MORE bassist and his label Koolarrow (just think of the unique KULTURSHOCK). This man eventually has to have a good taste, doesn’t he? But there also was a suitable label in Europe and with the musical gourmets of Copro Productions, for whom UNJUST is the first non English band to be signed, a comfortable place could be found. The chances for a glorious future without betraying the musical roots seem to be there. I consider “Glow” a true masterpiece and with a performance like that, the band should be able to convoke even the critical Metal fans all around the globe. (Online April 18, 2004)