Review: Judiciary – Surface Noise

Such is my taste in rock music that an aggressive metallic hardcore album is likely to catch my ear. In many ways, it’s hard to go wrong.

By the same token it’s hard to get it as right as Judiciary have on Surface Noise. This is the debut full-length album from the Texas five-piece hardcore crew and it’s got the lot, including the compulsory sample from The Great Dictator.

That aside, Surface Noise is rather better than most of its contemporaries. In its thrashiness and its bounce it finds a screwface sweet spot that’s infectious from the word go.

‘Social Crusade’ kicks off proceedings with an almighty stomp, rides variations on it for a while in the most satisfying way, then ends with two of the best headbanging riffs I’ve heard for ages.

‘Karma’s Knife’ brings the thrash to the fore before making way for the powerful groove and aggression of ‘Temple’. ‘Burden Of Truth’ boasts one of the record’s most crushing riffs; mind you, Surface Noise is full of them.

But the vodka in this record’s punch is the drumming. Oh man, the drumming. The production allows for an irresistible live sound from the kit and when the drums on Surface Noise rumble, holy shit they rumble.

‘Stronger Than Thou’ is the most intoxicating example of that, and one of the finest songs on Surface Noise as a result. ‘Pure Fury’ and the last song, ‘War (Time Is Nigh)’, give it a hell of a run for its money.

Surface Noise is out now on Closed Casket Activities.

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Chris Nee