JUDGES, THE: Judgement Day: LP

Mar 19, 2024

The Judges continue the decades-long antipodean onslaught of monster riffage, booming metronomic beats, and molten leads on their debut long player, Judgement Day. They repurpose the rock moves of the Australian underground music cannon—a vocal homage to Chris Bailey on “The House Always Wins,” a guitar lick lifted from Lobby Loyde on “Be on the Beach”—to great effect. But they don’t just look to the punks and the pub rockers for inspiration. There’s some ’70s brown acid, wah-wah pedal, psych blues on “Bad Blues” that would be at home in any biker roadhouse down under or stateside. The next track, “Tuned,” and the closer, “Judges Theme,” are propulsive blasts of pure attitude that will send one bouncing around the room, the latter a nod to a fiendish character in Cormac McCarthy’s Blood Meridian. Out of many great moments on this record, the single most impressive aspect of it is lead singer Sam Hill’s dedication to “uh” as an object marker, a signal that what follows is going to put you on your ass the way all great rock’n’roll does. First-rate stuff. –Josh Benke (Total Punk, totalpunkrecords.com)

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