February 13, 2013

Junior Bruce - The Headless King

Review by Natalie Zina Walschots. Originally published here by Exclaim.

Based in DeLand, FL, Junior Bruce have been together since August of 2007. Over the last four-and-a-half years, they have produced several independently released demos exclusively available from the band, usually at their live performances. The Headless King isn't only their first full-length record, but also their first recording to receive proper distribution.

From the moment opener "Defeatist," begins, this band's chemistry and experience are immediately clear. Junior Bruce are closely related to vocalist Scott Angelacos (ex-Bloodlet) and bassist Tom Crowther's previous unit, Hope and Suicide, and so their sound shares a closely knotted consanguinity. Junior Bruce are a more precise and deadly incarnation of that sound though, teeth filed to finer points and blades more highly sharpened.

The Headless King is an aggressive yet somehow thoughtful combination of sludgecore and blackened Southern rock. The songs have a sense of gravity to them, a force that inexorably pulls the listener in. As the album progresses, the audience are overtaken by the uncomfortable feeling that their bodies are being co-opted by the riffs, neck muscles overridden by the rhythm. There is something very natural and organic to Junior Bruce's compositions, but there's also something profoundly disconcerting about how easily this album gets under your skin. The Headless King is perfect for those looking for classic, sludgy riffs and Angelacos's trademark punctured trachea vocals, especially if you rather enjoy being unsettled.

[Go to the post to view the Bandcamp player]

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