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I could attempt a witty introduction for this review, but both you and I know that you never read the first paragraph of these reviews. It's just witty banter or some lame story that attempts to tie in with the band's release. So to cut to the chase, what we have here is Boston-based rockers Junius' new EP, Blood is Bright.

Following a brief intro track, "[The Annunciation]," Junius open things up with the title track to this five-song EP. "Blood is Bright" immediately brings to mind a mix of space-rock and 80's alternative/industrial cross-over. The later of which is a result of guitarist/vocalist Joseph E. Martinez's vocal harmonies, which bear a striking resemblance to Robert Smith. And while the vocals may be what catch your attention first, it is the musical compositions of the band that are truly the showcase. The remaining members - Dana Filloon on drums, Keiffer Infantino on bass, and Mike Repasch-Nieves on guitar - skew together angular guitars, dramatic drumming, and upbeat bouncy basslines. Think Jupiter-era Cave In, but less progressive and more direct and straightforward in its song structure.

"A Word Could Kill Her" hits the listener midway through Blood is Bright. This is definitely Junius at their best, providing an outstanding demonstration of their musical capabilities. The song rocks a bit harder than the other songs and is primarily an instrumental, but despite this it fits perfectly and doesn't seem out of place in the context of the EP. "In the Hearts of Titans" and "At the Age of Decay" follow with more of the well-executed combination of dark and moody alternative rock that we've heard throughout.

Blood is Bright is an excellent EP from a band deserving of as much praise as possible. I loved everything about it, well except the packaging. I loathe cardboard sleeves for the lone reason that the CD gets scratched sliding it in and out. Nevertheless, fans of The Cure, Failure, and Oceansize will greatly appreciate what Junius has to offer.

- Scenepointblank.com


Junius. In a word, epic. Yes, their music is heavy, but Junius are not a metal band. Theirs is a sort of heaviness that transcends mere riffing and embodies a more literal sense of the word. There is weight to their music.

Their new-ish seven inch, The Fires of Antediluvia, comes in five colors, each corresponding to one of the classical elements (Earth, Water, Fire, Air, Aether: transparent green, transparent blue, transparent amber, clear, and black, respectively). The seven inch's cover art sums up the band's vibe appropriately-- it is solid black with a minimal silver print, the image depicting meteorites on a collision course with a planet, seemingly suspended in the very aether of time itself.

The bass and drums drop out in the middle of "A Word Could Kill Her" at Don Pedro's last night and Joseph E. Martinez's voice just hangs there over a simple, monophonic two-note guitar lead-- much like those meteorites over the planet-- and then, as the listener is drawn in, leaning, leaning, to the point of nearly losing their balance, the full band hits a monumental downbeat in perfect unison. The meteors escape from their stasis and, in a massive tempest of earth, water, fire, air, and aether, slam into the planet's surface below.

Junius is one of those rare bands that commands the attention of those with even the shortest of attention spans, leaving listeners itching for more. They could have played every song they've ever written last night (which isn't all that many songs just yet) and I would have wanted more still.

- Crustcake.com


From the string of new artists coming from Radar Recording comes Junius, a melodic, yet powerful space alt rock outfit. While Forcing Out the Silence may only be an EP, it shows immense promise, and crafty softwriting.

After a brief intro, "Elan Vital", the album kicks into gear with "Hiding Knives", a track that is musically reminiscent of Cave In, backed with vocals that really give the band's sound a personality of its own. "Hiding Knives" is a real delight, with enough ups and downs to keep the listener's continual interest. "From the Isle of the Blessed" may start off calmer, but it packs just as much if not more of a punch than its predecessor. Melodies and softer riffs surround choruses that explode with beautiful vocals and aggressive guitars. "Elan Fatale" proves to be the album's most aggressive track, especially vocally. The vocals on this track range from well sung melodies to ear splitting screams, with a background of spacey alt rock music that has large range. "Forcing out the Silence" closes out the EP and clocks in at a whopping seven minutes and thirty seconds. Like the other songs on this album, the track experiments with not only a soft and spacey sound, but also with a more aggressive alternative rock sound, with vocals pretty much remaining in the range of soft melodies through out. The track doesn't lose interest, and that an important factor with a song of such length. The song provides a strong finish for an even stronger EP.

Forcing Out the Silence really stands out from the other recent releases from bands experimenting with a spacey sound, and should earn Junius the credit they deserve. The only down side of this album is that it is only five songs, and with the creativity present in this material, it is obvious that the band have more in store for the listener. This is another great release from a label that seems to know what they are doing.

- Decoymusic.com


If today's exploding post-rock scene pulled a Marty McFly and went back to the late 80's to pick up a few tricks, I am positive that the outcome would be Radar Recording's Junius. With their latest release, Blood Is Bright, the Massachusetts quartet has produced a well-crafted EP that will surely grab attention from old fans, new fans, and those simply willing to put their blast-beats on hold for twenty minutes.

From the simple ambient intro to the close of the disc, Junius consistently displays their greatest musical attribute: continuity. The slow and spacey sections are seamlessly blended with bass driven rock and well placed heavy climaxes, allowing the entire EP to possess excellent flow. After countless listens, I can't seem to find a misplaced or misused section on the entire disc. Granted, it is only a 5 song EP, but if there is anyone worthy of intelligently filling up a full album, I would put my bet these guys.

With the first word, the vocals are immediately reminiscent of The Cure or Depeche Mode. While I was originally slightly biased against this particular vocal style (the influx of trendy 80's rip-offs has gotten to me), I have since decided that the vocals are a significant part my overall enjoyment of Blood Is Bright. The singing is never forced, sometimes going several minutes without any trace of it. In fact, the longest track on the disc, "In the Hearts of Titans," has barely any vocals at all. I enjoy it when bands have the capability to write a melodic vocal-driven verse and then effortlessly dive into long periods of instrumental soundscapes. With further regards to song structure, the tracks on this EP are short enough to not get lost in the periods of nothingness that are so common in post-rock, but are long enough to evolve into beautiful crescendos of true heaviness.

The production on Blood Is Bright fits well with the overall mood of the disc. The bass is emphasized in the appropriate areas, and everything from the range of ambient melody to dark walls of sound is properly captured on the EP.

Bottom Line: Blood Is Bright is a solid piece of music that displays great aptitude in areas of continuity, whether it is in the individual transitions in each track, or in the overall flow of the EP. I'm glad that I gave this disc a good number of listens before I sat down to review it, because there are elements of the EP that have grown on me, making me appreciate it more than ever. If you enjoy intelligent music of all genres, then giving Blood Is Bright a couple listens will be well worth it. - Lambgoat.com


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I had been pretty stoked for this show for a while. I never tire of seeing Boston’s JUNIUS live and tales of the epicness of HOWL and VALIENT THOR live had been told to me many a time. All three bands will be on tour together until October 3rd so make sure and see them in your town!

More images after the jump!

*click link below to see photos* - Metal Army


photos... - Brooklyn Vegan


“You had to be there.” It’s a phrase oft uttered by would-be storytellers who just can’t seem to convey the hilarity of said story to anyone who wasn’t, ya know, there. And it’s a phrase that perfectly applies to not just the particular Valeint Thorr, Junius and Howl show Axl and I witnessed in Brooklyn last week, but to each individual band in the broader sense. Try as we may, there’s no possible way we can convey to you how freaking awesome each band was at this show, and try as those bands may, it seems damn unlikely that any of these bands will ever be able to make a record that even comes close to approximating what it’s like to see them live. Simply put, these three bands are the very embodiment of “you had to be there.”


In person, Relapse Records taco riff heavyweights Howl are fierce, punishing and brutal, inspiring a slow head-bob out of even the most stuck up old-timer standing in the back of the room; on record they have plenty of good ideas that just seem to get lost in their own repetitiveness and aimlessness. In person, heavy space-rock outfit Junius astonish with their razor-tight grooves like an asteroid colliding into the atmosphere, their powerful stage presence highlighted by back-lit white lamps that flare up to punctuate key moments of the songs; on record the guitars sound wimpy instead of heavy and the songs don’t convey the same sense of urgency. To see Valient Thorr in person is to be swept up into a 150 MPH hurricane that even this jaded blogger couldn’t resist getting into the moshpit for. You’re part of a movement led by the sweatiest human being ever, Our Fearless Leader Valient Himself, who intersperses the band’s ferocious songs with sermons on his own beliefs and “Do you know what I’m talking ABOUT!?” cries of call and response, and for the love of Venus the guy could be talking about taking a shit and you can’t possibly resist from yelling “YEAH!!!” at the top of your lungs. On record they sound like just another pretty good trad/retro metal outfit.

Of course, me trying to describe this all to you as in the above paragraph is completely useless, because in the end… you had to be there. No amount of waxing ecstatic and no amount of strung-together superlatives I can throw at you will possibly be able to convey how great these three live bands are live. I know you’re skeptical. So was Axl before this show. Just trust me when I say that you NEED to go see this tour if it hasn’t rolled through your town yet. Barring that you need to go out of your way to see any one of these three bands next time they come around. You had to be there. Trust me. Once you see them live you’ll feel the same way, I guarantee it, and hopefully you’ll drag a friend with you the time after that.

-VN

Remaining tour dates:

09/29 – Detroit, MI @ Smalls*
09/30 – Chicago, IL @ Double Door*
10/01 – Madison, WI @ The Frequency*
10/02 – Minneapolis, MN @ Triple Rock Social Club*
10/03 – Kansas, MO @ Record Bar*
10/04 – Denver, CO @ 3 Kings Tavern-
10/05 – Salt Lake City, UT @ Burt’s Tiki Lounge-
10/06 – Boise, ID @ Neurolux-
10/07 – Seattle, WA @ El Corazon+
10/08 – Portland, OR @ Dante’s+
10/09 – Bend, OR @ The Domino Room+
10/10 – Reno, NV @ The Alley+
10/11 – San Francisco, CA @ Bottom Of The Hill+
10/13 – Santa Barbara, CA @ Velvet Jones+
10/14 – Costa Mesa, CA @ Detroit Bar+
10/15 – Las Vegas, NV @ Cheyenne Saloon+
10/16 – Los Angeles, CA @ Spaceland+
10/17 – San Diego, CA @ Casbah+
10/18 – Phoenix, AZ @ Yucca Tap Room+
10/19 – Albuquerque, NM @ Launchpad+
10/22 – Corpus Christi, TX @ House Of Rock+
10/23 – Dallas, TX @ Double Wide+
10/24 – Houston, TX @ Rudyards+
10/25 – New Orleans, LA @ One Eyed Jacks%
10/27 – Tallahassee, FL @ Big Daddy’s%
10/29 – Gainesville, FL @ FEST 9
10/30 – West Columbus, SC @ New Bookland Tavern
10/31 – Greensboro, NC @ Green Street%
11/6 – Austin, TX @ Fun Fun Fun Fest - Metal Sucks


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When people fall for Junius, they fall hard. The band taps the sonic addictions of three decades: the moodiness of the '80s, the distortion rush of the '90s and the song-structure experiments of the '00s. Other bands may share these influences, but few combine them as organically as this Boston quartet. Their sophomore full-length, The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist, is a concept album about Immanuel Velikovsky, the Russian scholar who abandoned a successful career in psychiatry and psychoanalysis to espouse theories of catastrophism — the idea that the universe is random and unpredictable, and does not behave according to set rules or patterns. Velikovksy became a pariah, and led a personal life as colorful as his professional one.

Vocalist Joseph E. Martinez talked with eMusic's Cosmo Lee about Velikovsky, and how the band stays sane despite perpetually being in close quarters.



On how Velikovsky became the muse for an album:

I came across this one essay on Immanuel Velikovsky. It was really beautiful and really fascinating. The theories were really unbelievable to me. I was really taken by it. When I went on tour, I went and bought one of his books, Worlds in Collision, which is the first one he released. I started reading it and realizing that it would be a great idea for an album — not this album, necessarily. It was a very angular topic: cataclysmic events. We weren't looking for a metal album yet. I kept reading all his books. I'd just get one book after another. When I got to his memoirs, Stargazers and Gravediggers, I was, like, "Holy crap!" His personal life was just as fascinating as his theories. The Velikovsky archives are online; you can read all his letters and notes. His daughter wrote a book and published all his correspondence with Einstein and other professors and scientists. I got a more personal view of him. That's where I thought, "OK, these songs need to be about his life. That's something we can relate to. His life is a struggle. I can parallel it to anything, to anybody who's a writer or anybody doing music or anything that's not necessarily the easiest path to go down."

On relating to Velikovksky's pariah status:

It's been almost 10 years [for me] as a working musician. When you're a band and you're on tour, you go out and play these shows, and no one's picking up on what you're doing, and no one gets it or no one likes it. It's fine. You get used to it. But it is a struggle. You've got your family [saying], "What the hell are you doing playing music? You're getting old. You need to get a real job." And you're trying to go against them, trying to do what you love. You can relate [the subject matter of the record] to anybody. [Velikovsky's] struggle was the same as anybody else who's doing something outside the societal norms.

On being categorized as post-rock:

We're always lumped into post-rock. There's very few post-rock bands that I really admire, to be honest with you. A lot of it is just random bullshit that they're jamming out to, and they're just replaying the jam, as opposed to structurally creating songs. Everybody and their brother's in a post-rock band. They just put the delay pedal on and trill for 7 to 10 minutes.

On the influence of '80s music:

For me, Tears for Fears is huge. I think they have some of the most classic melodies. And Depeche Mode - if you listen to any '80s retro thing, it's always Depeche Mode. Apparently I can't get them out of my melodies. There's a darker tone to the '80s. Duran Duran, the Cure, Depeche Mode, Tears for Fears - they're more in the black keys.

On the unhappiness of happy music:

Green Day — it's always happy. They're playing major chords in major keys. It's happy, and it makes everyone happy, and they sell a lot of albums. That's generally how it works. For us, I can't do that. It makes me sick to my stomach. I get actually physically nauseous sometimes if I start listening to certain things that resolve so easily and are so boring to me.

On Junius' super-low, metal-approved Bb tuning:

I want the option to go as low as I can possibly go and as high as I can possibly go. I like the low end. It's darker, it's heavier, it's more impactful. It gives us more range as a band. Yeah, we do the drop tuning, and we definitely get the metal comparison nowadays. I think people are starting to realize we do have a little bit of metal influence going on with us.

On his uncle Trini, drummer for Bedhead:

The first indie band I ever listened to was Bedhead. He was always in a band, and he was the reason why I play music. He was so cool. When you're a kid, and your uncle's in a band, you don't know what that means, but you just know it's cool. I grew up listening to them, and they really influenced me. They're one of the first post-rock bands I know of, except they had vocals. These huge crescendos — I never heard anybody [else] do it until Mogwai, and that was 7 years later.

On the advice his uncle gave - Emusic


The sonic envelope of rock music today is ever expanding, and generally for the better. The Mylene Sheath Records has recognized the possibilities of greatness within the post-rock subgenre, and after releasing the incredible new album from Constants earlier in the year, the label is back with another triumphant slab of assaulting beauty in the form of Junius’ sophomore full length The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist. Since 2004, the Boston natives have been perfecting their craft, releasing several EPs and their debut, while constantly touring and amazing fans worldwide. Their massive touring schedule has paid off, with the band emerging tighter and more focused than ever on The Martyrdom. Based around the views of Immanuel Velikovsky, a Russian born American psychiatrist originally focused on psychotherapy, before switching to the exceedingly controversial cosmology, and his ever growing fascination with the stars and planetary interaction. Such an intellectually themed album deserves music that matches its grandiose nature, and Junius deliver on all counts. Shimmering layers of seemingly endless guitar waves, deep booming rhythms, and gorgeous vocals swirl around with cosmic energy creating an expertly crafted blend of post-rock and dark new-wave influences. The constant highly orchestrated evolution of sound progresses through pulsating tempos, dynamics, and subtle intricacies keeping the album infinitely interesting and ultimately memorable. While the songs may not be “catchy” or filled with pop-styled hooks, the sheer battle between heavy dissonance and hypnotic beauty is more than enough to draw listeners back for the multiple spins required to fully embrace the ambitious sonic magnitude that Junius conjure up.

“Birth Rights By Torchlight” opens with a recorded passage of Velikovsky defending his research, “And if I transgressed, and went into many fields of science and humanities, it was not because I was born a rebel. I was coerced to trespass…” A loaded statement, followed further with criticism for planetary theory taught in textbooks set the tone for the record, as Junius come crashing in amidst their own ambient backdrop, with a singular blast of power and staggering rhythms that builds with each enormous push. Joseph E. Martinez’ vocals, perhaps what truly set the band apart from the pack, emerge with their own commanding wail. Vibrant tempo changes abound as the song slows to a single bouncing guitar only to lift and regresses with sweeping quiet/loud dynamics that cement Junius in the top tier of post-rock bands. A choir of mysterious chanting begins “The Antediluvian Fire,” accompanied by stirring echo heavy guitars as the band begins their ever building descent into the emotional depths and haunting vivid imagery. Clearly enunciated vocals make certain every word is understood, with a vibe similar to the strength of Joy Division and new wave’s finest. Careful construction of melody, harmonics, and structure are obvious throughout as the breaks hurtle with gorgeous power and control. After another thought provoking excerpt from Velikovsky, Junius casually launches into “The Dramatist Plays Catastrophist” with an understated piano and vocal intro. Dense time-melting drum structures combat for your attention against the contrasting vocal melody in a stunning push-and-pull where nothing suffers only thrives as the dust settles. Stellar orchestration swirls with textural mastery as lyrics of rebirth and revolution cleanly ring out.
“Ten Year Librarian” is a brooding display of gradually increasing intensity, with numerous layers slowly dripping into the mix, including mesmerizing bass, double tracked vocals, and the eventual symphony of angular washes of guitar. Just as the storm threatens to overtake control, layers are peeled back with fresh ambient breaths of air before the claustrophobic darkness creeps back into focus. Martinez sings “It’s closing in… my battle begins! And now it’s my time to show all the true wrath of God, the past we forgot,” referencing Velikovsky’s theory of past interplanetary struggle within our universe. The two years spent making this album were well spent, as the record pushes epic to another level, taking enormous compositions and stretching them into colossal landscapes. The second half of the album finds Junius even stronger, as evident on “Stargazers and Gravediggers”. Delayed guitars roar and swarm over the pounding rhythms, with well-built vocal melodies rallying just on top of the mix. “Elishiva, I Love You” perhaps evokes the most obvious new-wave passion, with low verses and a soaring chorus. While the music permeates with liquid fluidity, deep tribal drums pummel against the pop inspired melody.

“Letters to Saint Angelina” is the crowning achievement of the album, from the overall textural beauty to the gorgeously crashing cymbals leading into a legit hook that forges into the next stratosphere. The guitars contrast the drums, feeding off each othe - Exploding in Sound


The Band: Junius The Buzz: Breathtaking Boston metal band pulls off a perfect hybrid of Neurosis and the Smiths, striking a stunning balance of brutality and beauty. Their latest album, The Martyrdrom of a Catastrophist, is a concept record about catastrophe theorist Immanuel Velikovsky, exploring his insistence on a chaotic universe. Its songs are spellbinding and heartbreaking, gripping from the first note to the last. A hard rock dream come true. Listen If: You dress in combat boots and all black and look like you could uproot an oak tree with your bare hands, but your secret favorite record is Disintegration. Key Track: The heartbreaking "Letters from Saint Angelica," where pleas to "Wake up! Wake up!" are delivered against guitars that crash like tidal waves. The Band: Dam-Funk The Buzz: The new sound of old electro: California producer makes glitchy, slippery beats that recall the golden age of hip-hop. Call it Commodore 64-core: minimal blip groove with designed for serious swiveling. It's square and sexy. Listen If: You could beat Pole Position blindfolded, and used that skill to impress the ladies (or gentlemen!). Key Track: The laid-back "I Know Love is Here Tonight," with its martini-glass clink and hand-clap percussion. You can almost see the guys in pink pastel polos grooving on the light-up dance floor. The Band: Laura Veirs The Buzz: Magnificent Portland songwriter delves into the mystic, crafting spare, entrancing pop songs as informed by folk music as they are indie rock. Her upcoming July Flame takes its title from a type of peach, and its content is just as sweet and irresistible. Listen If: You rep hard for solo Tanya Donnelly, or prefer Cat Power's early, odd work to her late-period polish. Key Track: "July Flame," where Veirs hypnotic, mysterious voice wends its way around stiff guitar, purring an endless string of curious riddles until the whole song crests in a crescendo of swirling violins and ghostly choirs. - Rolling Stone


As source material goes, the work of Immanuel Velikovsky is a curious starting point for a metal band. A controversial proponent of the concept of catastrophism, Velikovsky argued (more or less) that the Earth has been altered not by gradual changes, but by a series of sudden, shocking catastrophes, each of which radically altered the course of history, geology and biology. It argues that the universe doesn't favor order and logic but, rather, that its natural tendency is toward chaos, and that any argument to the contrary is — as Velikovsky himself put it — "of Victorian vintage."
This kind of thinking doesn't square with metal's love of on-a-dime time changes, nimbly executed riffing and, in some of the more promising outliers, complicated song construction. Metal may sound like a tempest on the surface, but there are blueprints.

The Boston metal band Junius, whose superb The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist has the frustrating distinction of arriving too late to qualify for any best-of-year lists, is indeed among the more precise and scientific of recent hard rock bands. Martyrdom, their second record, is meticulously constructed, a deeply felt narrative of Velikovsky's life told via riveting songs that care as much about a good chorus as they do for pummeling volume. Appropriately, Velikovsky's work is a springboard to address life's greater catastrophes — loss, pain, suffering, heartache — and how each of those similar traumas can forever alter an individual's basic shape. It is to the group's great credit that it not only avoids melodrama and hyperbole, but manages to bring a measure of grace and genuine human blood and ache to the proceedings. These aren't songs so much as pleas; Joseph E. Martinez has the kind of gorgeous croon that makes Morrissey look like an amateur, and the contrast that comes from his heavenly New Romantic delivery and his band's avalanche of thick riffs is the kind of grand frisson that creates universes. Junius carves out a small, unfound space between Pelican and the Cure, and rages with the might of a band that's just now figuring out its full potential. - CityPaper


Concept albums, as history shows, either fulfill their intellectual promise (and premise) with excellence or they miss the mark with half-cocked ideas and only the loosest of connections. So taking up that particular gauntlet is a gambit, one the bearded gentlemen of Junius have done with supreme confidence. The ten songs of their sophomore album The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist create a narrative that revolves around the controversial scholar Immanuel Velikovsky, interpolating his philosophy into the sonic structure itself through the lyrics and two short interludes. Within the context of sweeping post-rock (think Hum meets Explosions in the Sky), Junius have crafted a rich and rewarding cerebral opus that traverses the void between the raw and the refined with grace. The fluidity of the album is surprisingly subtle, like a slow leak, from the gradual crescendo of opener “Birth Rites by Torchlight” to the crashing piano-driven “A Dramatist Plays Catastrophist” to the expansive unpredictability of “Ten Year Librarian.” The Interpol-esque “Elisheva, I Love You”, led by a beautiful and memorable riff, fits perfectly into the overarching conceptualization, and the haunting choral touches of “The Mourning Eulogy” concludes the experience in fitting fashion. And this experiential quality is what needs to be stressed about The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist. Junius is making more than music, as evidenced by the wonderfully illustrated insert that comes with the album, which is packaged itself in the increasingly amazing gatefold style of Mylene Sheath. They are making a comprehensive aesthetic, distinct and brilliant, that supersedes sound or simple description. In other words: this is how you do a concept album. - PopMatters


As source material goes, the work of Immanuel Velikovsky is a curious starting point for a metal band. A controversial proponent of the concept of catastrophism, Velikovsky argued (more or less) that the Earth has been altered not by gradual changes, but by a series of sudden, shocking catastrophes, each of which radically altered the course of history, geology and biology. It argues that the universe doesn't favor order and logic but, rather, that its natural tendency is toward chaos, and that any argument to the contrary is — as Velikovsky himself put it — "of Victorian vintage."
This kind of thinking doesn't square with metal's love of on-a-dime time changes, nimbly executed riffing and, in some of the more promising outliers, complicated song construction. Metal may sound like a tempest on the surface, but there are blueprints.

The Boston metal band Junius, whose superb The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist has the frustrating distinction of arriving too late to qualify for any best-of-year lists, is indeed among the more precise and scientific of recent hard rock bands. Martyrdom, their second record, is meticulously constructed, a deeply felt narrative of Velikovsky's life told via riveting songs that care as much about a good chorus as they do for pummeling volume. Appropriately, Velikovsky's work is a springboard to address life's greater catastrophes — loss, pain, suffering, heartache — and how each of those similar traumas can forever alter an individual's basic shape. It is to the group's great credit that it not only avoids melodrama and hyperbole, but manages to bring a measure of grace and genuine human blood and ache to the proceedings. These aren't songs so much as pleas; Joseph E. Martinez has the kind of gorgeous croon that makes Morrissey look like an amateur, and the contrast that comes from his heavenly New Romantic delivery and his band's avalanche of thick riffs is the kind of grand frisson that creates universes. Junius carves out a small, unfound space between Pelican and the Cure, and rages with the might of a band that's just now figuring out its full potential. - Altweeklies


Preparation for The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist, the latest record from Boston’s Junius, began way back in 2006 when the band became acquainted with the life and theories of Immanuel Velikovsky. A Russian-born American scholar, Velikovsky argued that the earth has suffered catastrophic “close-contacts” with other planets in ancient times.

Velikovsky found evidence for these catastrophes in the geological record, pointing to the extinction of many species as an example. His theories were not accepted by the academic community, by and large, and Velikovsky spent much of his career rejected by the mainstream community.

Junius picks up on the theme of Velikovsky’s lifetime and feeds it through a post-rock filter. As influenced as the quartet may have been by the scholar and his experiences, however, The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist owes a lot more to The Cure and M83 than it does to anyone else.

Quotes from Velikovsky’s interviews and lectures are scattered throughout the record’s ten tracks, but it’s the general melancholic tone that pushes this ship into the water. Junius utilizes each tool in the post-rock toolbox to create a vibe that is both expansive and desperate, fuelling each piece of music with a strong sense of desolation and pain.

With the sense of planetary collision in mind, Junius takes to the record with force and beauty. The meeting point of the deafening and the subtle is, along with being Velikovsky’s area of concern, the core of The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist.

What sets Junius apart from the pack of post-rock patrons is the little smidge of Dark Wave that gently kisses each piece. The vocals of singer/guitarist Joseph E. Martinez lead the way, fleshing out nicely against the pointed guitars and foggy effects.

The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist builds tightly, digging in deep the last few songs with a sense of necessity and dignity. It is a logical record, one that utilizes tracks like “The Antediluvian Fire” to lay out misty foundations only to drive it all home later with the Joy Division-esque flush of “Elisheva, I Love You.”

Junius has truly constructed a record of high concept art here, right down to the murky theories of Velikovsky and the intellectual lyricism. There’s not one hint of pretentiousness, however, and that clears The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist of any ostentatiously sluggish transgressions so often committed by other genre companions. - Canadian Audiophile


Can ass-kicking rock be intelligent? By its very nature, rock (and its subsets from punk to metal) is decidedly crude and visceral. Its primal instincts arguably preclude the need or desire to give it a brain. Let’s face it: few fans consume albums or go to shows to be intellectually stimulated. Despite such antipathy towards smarts, bands like Junius operate on a higher intellectual plane.

The Antediluvian Fire (excerpt)
Elisheva, I Love You

Junius constructs songs on girders of complexity. Though the material tends to wander, it’s dense and multi-layered. Shifts from intricate delicacy to seismic heaviness complement its cerebral component. Shades of Isis and Porcupine Tree color the songs, but Junius blazes its own path.

Joseph E. Martinez gives the band its distinctness with cleanly sung and clearly enunciated vocals. His soulful croon, reminiscent of Tears For Fears, lends the band a darkwave flavor. An almost ’80s goth tone blends with the symphonic swells of post-rock groups like Mono or Explosions in the Sky. This is most evident on the leaden Britpop of “Elisheva, I Love You.” Certainly this pairing is a problem for pigeonholing Junius. Its music is too loud for pop purists and too pop for metal connoisseurs. But this quality blesses the band with a unique character, something few bands ever develop.

The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist (The Mylene Sheath, 2009) is a concept album concerning the renegade philosopher Immanuel Velikovsky. Its lyrics are as carefully crafted as its music. This will sadly be lost on many who hear this record. But for a perceptive few, Junius will satiate cravings for heaviness in both sound and word.
- Invisible Oranges


The SMN forumers unveil yet another gem with Junius, a band listed in the “beautiful albums” thread – post-rock meets vocals from The Cure was the descriptor, and considering my fanatical approach to advocating the love for bands like Isis, Neurosis and such, always on the lookout out for reprieve from death metal sprees, I orientated myself the other side of caution and chanced a purchase of the band’s soon to be released sophomore effort “The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist”. A title that creams the jeans if you’ve ever been a post-rock idolizer or simply all things pretentious as extra safe Durex condoms; don’t turn your noses up at the post-rock idiom, I can’t think of anything most associated with the music, so instead of bitching incessantly suggest an alternative you cry-baby cunts (wait… our faithful readership, whu-?).

Now, the music more than supports the lofty title, as it appears a concept album documenting the life of some philosopher/theorist (er… Junius?), with recited quotes or even direct recordings overlaid, and so pretension is not on the cards for this effort – it appears to lead from the early conception of the man’s theories to his being misunderstood, condemned, the love and loss in between and terminating with his demise and subsequent passage beyond the Pearly Gates. Ranging from sparse, ringing cleans, dense instrumental cacophonies to even the most distorted sections which, although very slight in number, remind me of Isis-style drone – not suffering from the hindrances of such a sub-genre but added as an atmospheric aperitif that lulls to draw out the more emotionally-tense sections – there’s no doubt the compositions are sentimentally evocative and dense.

As for the vocals, Robert Smith-inspired styles may to some become too obtrusive, but let me tell you they make the album – I can’t identify the vocalist because they don’t list him in the booklet, but his performance is crooning, heartfelt, passionate, with enough vulnerability and amateurish approach to make it all the more sincere; other songs boast the man’s creativity and degree of schooling, such as “Elisheva, I Love You”, where he never truly breaks free of his negligible ineptitude, but rather uses his weaknesses to boost his performance to the fullest so as to match those with more apparent experience. Lyrically, the album likewise takes a life of its own, the main drawback being the repetitiveness in such a domain which is easily forgivable considering the album’s nature; overall, there is a lot to connect with purely on the vocalist’s performance falling shy of emoting the turmoil of a catastrophist, but nonetheless I can’t help but smile at some of the lines written.

The musicianship is nothing to brag about, but the band have cut away any excess, not to the point where not a note is wasted, but where the album is left a fulfillingly exhilarating affair from start to finish, an effect enhanced by the very spry production. I can’t help but feel something very magical was in the works whilst viewing studio footage of the recording, and where 2010 (or late 2009) has certainly not been a good year for me and my hopes in the metal world, “The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist” has been an enormous success in one of the least likely of places. A band that embraces post-rock but doesn’t fully support it is something I shy away from, as there is a mainstream gearing to be found that often spells disaster in my books most commonly because they fail to pin the right vocals to the work; this album is about as absolute a package as they come, and probably one of the top five albums of the year all things remaining equal. - Global Domination


Junius’ The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist pays homage to Immanuel Velikovsky, a Russian-born American scientist of Jewish descent; a free thinker, a philosopher and a catastrophist, who had been in the centre of a great scientific controversy in regard to his revolutionary ideas about Earth's history, chronology, and acceptable theories regarding ancient near-East civilizations.

Velikovsky theorized why the great flood had occurred in biblical Noah's time; tried to settle down the dichotomy and animosity between the biblical plot and the opposing hard, scientific proof about Earth's existence, its creation and its much debated chronological time (5500 years or so according to Judaism versus 4.5 billion years according to science).

He had theorized many important events that had shaped planet Earth were caused by catastrophes usually involving celestial bodies such as the planets neighboring Earth. He claimed catastrophes are Earth's shaping force and had occurred and will continue occurring, even though humankind is too scared to acknowledge that alleged fact of his. Hence Velikovsky was dubbed "The Catastrophist." He was ridiculed by the entire scientific community and was left alone, almost ostracized... hence his martyrdom.

Junius resembles, in more than one way, the superb Italian band Klimt 1918 in that it is extremely emotional and owns a warm sound one can easily relate to and embrace. Junius also uses clean sounding guitars almost without any distortion — except for the shoegaze parts, where the distortion generates a fuzzy and hot wall of sound (a technique Klimt 1918 uses as well). Both groups have excellent vocalists with strong and spacious voices and bigger-than-life presences.

Most of Junius’ recording is flaked with Velikovsky's own voice citing one or several of his ideas, in his warm, semi-cracked, immigrant's English. His voice is old and authoritative, but at the same time also parental and soothing, as is Junius' music. The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist is a rock n' roll album dreams are made of. (9.5/10) - Maelstrom



Junius have written an oral poem that possesses such vigor and power that it can melt even the most callous of minds. The sound streams endlessly without digressing once throughout the entirety of the album, letting each note burst upon every second of its duration. The album plays itself out to be very calm and tranquil. There’s absolutely no screaming, and the few “heavy” parts are conveyed purely through the instrumentals. From the very dawn of The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist you’re submerged into a world of staggering vocals and rhythmic instrumentals that toil with each other as if they’re one entity trying to worm back together. Unlike other bands who try to separate the sound of their instrumentals and vocals to give individual sounds to each other, Junius attempts to combine both to create one continuous and flawless stream, and they succeed. What’s brought to the listener’s attention is an oral painting of various colors weaved together impeccably to form what could be called a heir to the pioneer’s artistry. The guitarist riffs are very smooth, and adds tone to the bands harmonic sound. The drum player almost appears to be the background of the band, but you notice him all the same, and you can tell without his subtle beats that the band would be nothing. The bass player on the other hand appears to be merging with the guitarist. The guitarist, the bassist, and even the drummer converge their sounds together to accumulate a superior and more striking melody than ever. Sounds, such as muffled lyrics being spoken by an older man of Einstein, and intermissions where instrumental booms occur are just the tip of what’s offered besides the general song of the album. The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist siphons the world’s calm and suggestive side, introducing a plateau of extraordinary musicality and sound.

The album begins with Birth Rites with Torchlight. Various melodies clash about each other as they introduce a muffled voice from a man speaking of how assuming the Universe as an ordinary being and that nothing new has occurred since its birth is simply “wishful thinking”. This particular song’s vocals stay relatively the same. You’ll notice at first that it appears as if the vocalist is almost just speaking in tune rather than singing. If this irks you, then don’t give up just yet, as the vocalist doesn’t stay like this throughout the entirety album. Personally, I believe the introduction of the vocalist, excluding the muffled voice of the old man, is a wonderful medium for the instrumentals. The second song, The Antediluvian Fire, begins in an odd formation. The guitarists have obviously been experimenting in this song, as you’ll notice. This song appears to be mixing a variety of different cultural sounds to complete itself. The song is very much like its previous song, and not in style or technique, but in enjoyability and tranquility. Coming up ahead is an intermission and quite an immaculate one at that. Junius’s intermissions are amongst the best I’ve ever heard. The instrumentals are incredibly unique as even the muffled voice comes back to greet you once more. Treading along, the sequel to the album so far is A Dramatist plays Catastrophist, which is my favorite song off the album. A piano heavy song, everything created amongst this masterpiece is haunting and moving. Vocals and instrumentals create almost a stair way for each melody to trip ahead of itself. Imagine a melody, and then elevate it higher and lower, you’ll create music. Now imagine these melodies squirming about these stairs in a form as dazzling and beautiful as you can imagine. You’ve just created Junius, but better yet, you’ve just created A Dramatist plays Catastrophist. Various instruments pool amongst each other to manifest concord as soft and tremendous as your mind can fathom. To succeed that wonderful song is Ten Year Librarian. At first, you’re led to believe that this is yet another intermission, however, it isn’t. The beginning of this song appears to be almost digressed from the rest. Instead though, it’s an introduction to the feverous chant that lies ahead. It’s all very calm and mellow, and to me, this is perfect for what’s lying ahead. What’s lying ahead though are the best songs on this album. Stargazers and Gravediggers is the follow up. It’s the second shortest full length song, and it’s much like the second song. New vocalization appears, and more instrumental variety is implemented. Along next is the intermission preceding Elisheva, I Love You. A grandeur of rhythmic melodies come and strike up now once Elisheva is now into play. The vocalization has begun to melt into the song like a coat of acid debuting its arrival on a human's skin. The melodies here are what really impress me as they fluctuate so often and so impeccably. Letters From Saint Angelica is the 9th song. The words spoken soften and sport a tasteful sound. Certain parts of this song can give you goose bumps if the time is set right. On my - Sputnik Music


Junius began its musi cal career in 2004 with the release of its debut EP, Forc ing out the Silence. Over the fol low ing five years, the band released a sec ond EP and then a self-titled LP, devel op ing its sound into the post-rock influ enced sound of its newest album, The Mar­tyr dom of a Cat a strophist. The Mar tyr dom of a Cat a strophist is a con cept album focus ing on the life of Immanuel Velikovsky, a psy chi a trist who, in his own field of study, focused on Freudian psy chother apy but later became inter ested in cos mol ogy, propos ing a the ory that the Earth had expe ri enced numer ous “close-contacts” with other plan ets, as well as a rather unique view of his tory based upon this view. Though Velikovsky’s cos mo log i cal views are largely refuted by mod ern schol ars, the fan tas tic nature of his idea of the world con tin­ues to cap ti vate the minds of so-called “cat a strophists.” It is this view of the world that serves as the inspi ra tion for The Mar tyr dom of a Cat a strophist, cre at ing a thor oughly inter­est ing album which man ages to carry over the pro found sense of the extra or di nary from the the o ries of Velikovsky.

Com bin ing the musi cal ity of post-rock with the reg u lar use of vocals, The Mar tyr dom of a Cat a strophist is an expertly played album. The album often delves into uncom mon rhyth mic pat terns and so it is unsur pris ing that the drum line comes across as one of the strongest on almost any given track. Of par tic u lar note is “A Drama tist Plays Cat a strophist,” in which the con trast ing, yet inter lock ing rhythms of the drums and vocals are fur ther com pli cated and glo ri fied by the also rhyth mi cally unique gui tar lines. This track then con trasts excel­lently with its suc ces sor, “Ten Year Librar ian,” which, while over all notice ably less inter est­ing than pre vi ous tracks, has an extremely cre ative mid dle sec tion in which the entire track is bro ken down until only a drum line remains, upon which the track then slowly, care fully rebuilds itself.

More than the rhythms though, it is in moments, tran si tions, and paths where the album shows its worth. Excel lently dynamic, tracks grow, tran si tion effort lessly, and move between themes per fectly (although tracks late in the album are not quite as suc cess ful in this regard as ear lier tracks). One effect this often has on the lis tener is to block him from con­cen trat ing heav ily on the music, and instead become engulfed in the image the band projects through the album. There is lit tle that is eas ily iden ti fi able as unde sir able on The Mar tyr dom of a Cat a strophist. The one excep tion might be the overly gra tu itous choir of the final track.

Junius’ music relies upon a spacy, post-rock-like feel, fur ther accen tu ated and made unique by Joseph Martinez’s ethe real vocals. Martinez’s voice roams through The Mar tyr­dom of a Cat a strophist in an almost ghostly fash ion, cre at ing an echo ing sound that which is remark ably com ple men tary to the instru men tals - a sec ond stream of sound which is simul ta ne ously sim i lar to and com pletely dif fer ent from the musi cal base of the album. The Mar tyr dom of a Cat a strophist is also inter spersed with record ings of Immanuel Velikovsky him self, explain ing the the o ries which made him so con tro ver sial and upon which the album is founded. Expert mix ing makes these sec tions incred i bly inter est ing, as Velikovsky expounds upon catastrophism.

The sort of music played by Junius is quite frankly per fect for a musi cal con sid er a tion of Velikovsky - what ever your opin ion on his the o ries, it is hard to deny that the immense, con­stant energy present in The Mar tyr dom of a Cat a strophist does an excel lent job at bring ing to mind the near-collisions of cat a strophism in an impres sively vivid way. Lyri cally, the album also has par al lels to Velikovsky in its mix ture of inquis i tive ness and sur re al ism. On “The Ante dilu vian Fire,” Mar tinez sings of “the need ing to know” - per haps the best way of describ ing the ques tions inher ent behind such seem ingly curi ous the o ries as Velikovsky’s.

The Mar tyr dom of a Cat a strophist is an excel lent mix ing of a large num ber of related gen res. It draws incred i ble amounts of energy into its ele ments, which it steadily releases in care­fully directed streams, each com bin ing to form a del i cately bal anced, but musi cally pow er ful track. And while there is cer tainly a degree of qual ity dif fer ences between tracks, even the weak est of tracks on The Mar tyr dom of a Cat a strophist stays away even from medi oc rity. Over all, The Mar tyr dom of a Cat a strophist is quite good.
- Plumbiferous Media


There's no denying it. Junius has been quite the tease. After roughly five years of existence (2004 to present), the band had only two EPs and a short run vinyl release to their name, but due to the fact that this relatively small collection of recordings was both beautifully executed and intelligent, they still managed to hook a dedicated faction of listeners. A sonically monstrous live show anchored by a moody DIY light show and stellar musicianship didn't hurt either. So it's a natural reaction for listeners to have spent a bit of time wondering when a proper album was going to surface.

But fault the band we should not. It turns out that The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist has been incubating for years in one shape or another. Written in 2006, its completion was delayed by a piece-by-piece, cross-country recording process that strung itself along far longer than the standard time frame. And the delay was well worth it, as I can think of very few albums that are capable of stacking up to this record's masterful display of fine-tuned vision, both in its instrumental cohesiveness and thematic content.

Musically, the band has further perfected their sound that blends the heavy space rock of the likes of Cave In and Hum with sweeping post-rock structures and dynamics, all anchored by the brooding vocals of frontman Joseph Martinez. "Ten Year Librarian" ebbs and flows past the eight minute mark, swelling from a soft ambient beginning to healthy doses of reverb-soaked guitar work and the anthemic line "We are so curious / We are the fault in all we know." "The Antediluvian Fire" has an even stronger instrumental focus, using prominent bass lines to drive the track beneath walls of tremolo-ing guitars. "Elisheva, I Love You" is one of the more straightforward offerings, but with tremendously catchy vocal hooks coming from Martinez's pipes, it is perhaps the most memorable.

All of this is supported with a conceptual backbone revolving around the beliefs of Immanuel Velikovsky, a 20th century scholar responsible for controversial (and extremely interesting) views on ancient history. Actual quotes from an interview with Velikovsky are scattered throughout The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist to further its cohesive, dark feel. The idea of the concept album in the independent music world is a fairly common occurrence and although it's easy to feel a little jaded as it is recklessly utilized (and frequently bastardized) by so many, it's also easy to recognize that what Junius has produced here is light years ahead of the pack.

Rarely does a band simultaneously challenge boundaries and expectations in both instrumentation and lyrical content. It may have taken this record a few years to surface, but rest assured -- we're all better for it.

Bottom Line: Throw the rules out the window for this one. Junius' The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist is a brilliant example of dynamic rock fused with swelling, spacey soundscapes, all anchored by an intelligent lyrical foundation. This is highly recommended for those who dabble in everything from Cave In and Isis to My Bloody Valentine and Joy Division. - LambGoat


The sonic envelope of rock music today is ever expanding and generally for the better. The Mylene Sheath Records has recognized the possibilities of greatness within the post-rock subgenre, and after releasing the incredible new album from Constants earlier in the year, the label is back with another triumphant slab of assaulting beauty in the form of Junius’ sophomore full length The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist. Since 2004, the Boston natives have been perfecting their craft, releasing several EPs and their debut, while constantly touring and amazing fans worldwide. Their massive touring schedule has paid off, with the band emerging tighter and more focused than ever on The Martyrdom. Based around the views of Immanuel Velikovsky, a Russian born American psychiatrist originally focused on psychotherapy, before switching to the exceedingly controversial cosmology, and his ever growing fascination with the stars and planetary interaction. Such an intellectually themed album deserves music that matches its grandiose nature, and Junius delivers on all counts. Shimmering layers of seemingly endless guitar waves, deep booming rhythms, and gorgeous vocals swirl around with cosmic energy creating an expertly crafted blend of post-rock and dark new-wave influences. The constant highly orchestrated evolution of sound progresses through pulsating tempos, dynamics, and subtle intricacies keeping the album infinitely interesting and ultimately memorable. While the songs may not be “catchy” or filled with pop-styled hooks, the sheer battle between heavy dissonance and hypnotic beauty is more than enough to draw listeners back for the multiple spins required to fully embrace the ambitious sonic magnitude that Junius conjures up.

“Birth Rights By Torchlight” opens with a recorded passage of Velikovsky defending his research, “And if I transgressed, and went into many fields of science and humanities, it was not because I was born a rebel. I was coerced to trespass…” A loaded statement, followed further with criticism for planetary theory taught in textbooks set the tone for the record, as Junius comes crashing in amidst their own ambient backdrop with a singular blast of power and staggering rhythms that builds with each enormous push. Joseph E. Martinez’s vocals, perhaps what truly set the band apart from the pack, emerge with their own commanding wail. Vibrant tempo changes abound as the song slows to a single bouncing guitar only to lift and regresses with sweeping quiet/loud dynamics that cement Junius in the top tier of post-rock bands. A choir of mysterious chanting begins “The Antediluvian Fire,” accompanied by stirring echo heavy guitars as the band begins their ever building descent into the emotional depths and haunting vivid imagery. Clearly enunciated vocals make certain every word is understood, with a vibe similar to the strength of Joy Division and new wave’s finest. Careful construction of melody, harmonics, and structure are obvious throughout as the breaks hurtle with gorgeous power and control. After another thought provoking excerpt from Velikovsky, Junius casually launches into “The Dramatist Plays Catastrophist” with an understated piano and vocal intro. Dense time-melting drum structures combat for your attention against the contrasting vocal melody in a stunning push-and-pull where nothing suffers but instead thrives as the dust settles. Stellar orchestration swirls with textural mastery as lyrics of rebirth and revolution cleanly ring out.

“Ten Year Librarian” is a brooding display of gradually increasing intensity, with numerous layers slowly dripping into the mix, including mesmerizing bass, double tracked vocals, and the eventual symphony of angular washes of guitar. Just as the storm threatens to overtake control, layers are peeled back with fresh ambient breaths of air before the claustrophobic darkness creeps back into focus. Martinez sings, “It’s closing in… my battle begins! And now it’s my time to show all the true wrath of God, the past we forgot,” referencing Velikovsky’s theory of past interplanetary struggle within our universe. The two years spent making this album were well spent, as the record pushes epic to another level, taking enormous compositions and stretching them into colossal landscapes. The second half of the album finds Junius even stronger, as evident on “Stargazers and Gravediggers”. Delayed guitars roar and swarm over the pounding rhythms with well-built vocal melodies rallying just on top of the mix. “Elishiva, I Love You” perhaps evokes the most obvious new-wave passion, with low verses and a soaring chorus. While the music permeates with liquid fluidity, deep tribal drums pummel against the pop inspired melody.

“Letters to Saint Angelina” is the crowning achievement of the album, from the overall textural beauty to the gorgeously crashing cymbals leading into a legit hook that forges into the next stratosphere. The guitars contrast the drums, feeding o - Decoy Music


The law of large numbers, also known as Bernoulli's Theorem, states that if you repeat something enough times, the patterns will begin to emerge and soon behaviour will become predictable.

That feeling was beginning to come to us with post-rock music. Sample a few hundred albums of the genre and the traits which at first were charming - the tremolo guitars, the building crescendos, the excessive runtime - soon become stale, with few surprises to offer.

While Junius aren't reinventing the genre, they can certainly make it go in directions which we have not before seen. It all starts so normally too: the shimmering feedback, the sampled speech of a German man discussing the nature of the universe, and just when you solidify your expectations, they are summarily executed.

For starters Junius have a vocalist. Not a words-as-music or a serene hums in the background type, nor even an Envy-style screamer. No, they have made the wise move in deciding to expand the limited palette of the genre. Tracks which reach into the region of eight or nine minutes now seem all-too-short and make us realise how urgently post-rock needs to expand if it seeks to survive.

The big ideas are still prevalent though. The album itself is a concept of sorts, chronicling the life course of psychiatrist Immanuel Velikovsky, who became increasingly fascinated with the stars as his life passed by. This leaves the album in the unique position of being able to examine from the deepest inner thoughts of humanity right out to the outer limits of space, and the music more than carries across such grandiose scope.

The formidable nature of this new musical beast becomes focused on "A Dramatist Plays Catastrophist" which uses startling vocal pitch changes to throw the song off track, into new regions and managing to enviable feat of causing an extreme psychological dilemma as to whether you should give your primary attention to the vocals or the rapidly swelling orchestra which errs on the edge supernova beneath them.

Surprising key changes, tempo shifts, atonal sections and major-minor transitions all serve to decorate the album with contrast, removing the new for reliance upon quiet-loud crescendos to do so. Any theorems which seek to nail this album down to base patterns will be completely blown apart, for it manages to fulfil, exceed and confound any and all expectations which are laid upon it.

Mono and Jeniferever may have put forward albums of mesmerising brilliance in the same arena, but this one matches their effort and shows a path for genuine progression into the future. It is certainly not one to be missed. - Strange Glue


Immanuel Velikovsky was a Russian-born Jewish scientist who believed that long ago Earth had suffered several near-catastrophic collisions with Venus and Mars. His alternate vision of the universe, which he laid out in the controversial 1950 bestseller Worlds In Collision, reads suspiciously like the plot to Stargate: ancient mythology, astrology, and astrophysics woven together into the kind of vividly apocalyptic swirl that attracts cults of believers. Velikovsky's theories, unfortunately for him, were debunked by every reputable physicist of the era.

It's easy to see the appeal this doomed, charismatic fringe figure might have for a melodramatic goth-rock band. This is where Junius comes in: their second full-length is a loose concept album about Velikovsky's life and trials. He is the "catastrophist" of the title, and a recording of his thickly accented voice, straight out of mad-scientist Central Casting, graces the album's opening. Here Junius treat Velikovsky not unlike how metal bands behold Aleister Crowley: a compelling Faustian figure, a man who was punished by society for his forays into forbidden realms of knowledge.

Junius are not a metal band, however. In spirit and sound, the Boston quartet are closest to darkwave bands of the 1980s, a kinship that only begins with lead singer and guitarist Joseph E Martinez's pitch-perfect Robert Smith wail. Like the bands they resemble (Tears for Fears, the Cure, and Depeche Mode, primarily), Junius have a knack for translating weepy melodrama into anthemic choruses. Almost every song makes its careful way through a maze of subsections, but this maneuvering is often hidden behind an instantly memorable hook, which tends to make the record's esoteric conceit melt away instantly. "We are so curious," Martinez howls on "Ten-Year Librarian", a song that is ostensibly about Velikovsky staying up endless nights to rewrite his life-changing thesis, but a line that probably resonates just as powerfully with sexually repressed teenagers.

The sound of the record is similarly stadium-ready. The reverb is cranked to cavernous levels, so that every isolated sound-- the glimmering Interpol-style guitar leads, the hi-hat cymbal washes, the unison "whoa-oh-oh" vocals-- spirals endlessly upward into a starlit sky. "The Antedeluvian Fire" has tinkling chimes doubling its murmuring, arpeggiated guitars, while waves of Mellotron well up in the background of "Ten-Year Librarian". As you would expect from such an 80s-rooted album, there are rich bands of synthesizers here too, and they shimmer darkly from every corner of the mix. Taken as a whole (as it demands to be), Catastrophist is a rich, immersive experience, a bleak jewel of a record that takes obsession as its theme and rewards it in equal measure.

— Jayson Greene, March 19, 2010
- Pitchfork


This was a huge surprise for me. After reading “post-wave” in the press release, I was skeptical, but after listening for five minutes, I was sold. Somehow these gentlemen write a flavor of spacey dark rock in the vein of Joy Division and New Order without being a parody of their contemporaries, who try so very hard to be those bands. No, Junius has their own way of making slight nods to other experimental influences as well, melding them effectively so that the songs are interesting enough to stand out from one another. This means that there were many moments in this disc where I wanted to listen again just for those specific parts. While digesting those parts, I continued to hear more moments that I wanted to experience over again as well, which is the classic formula of a potentially favorite or even timeless album. Without hesitation, I consider their upcoming Martyrdom of a Catastrophist one of my most anticipated albums of 2008. –Conor Dow

http://www.slugmag.com/ncdr.php?issue=226 - Conor Dow


"Breathtaking atmospherics and dark sensibilities deserved of being likened to The Cure's Disintegration punctuate this EP. Vocalist Joseph E. Martinez deadpans a brooding style that clashes at the perfect angle with the swirling sounds that rise around his words. Without straying into anything too heavy, Junius manages to maintain an intense presence that is as stylish as Interpol but carries a sincerity and distinction not found in enough young acts. This band seems to have borrowed just enough from previous decades to build and shape something all its own. This Boston-based quartet approach New Wave tendencies with a shield of spacey guitars and artistic vocal stylings to create something that is not soon forgotten. With high energy emanating out of a pensive sound, Junius punctures each track with unshakable singularity until it turns into something addictive and encompassing." - Eclaim! Magazine


Man, it's been so long since I've heard a decent shoegazer album I'd forgotten the genre existed. Maybe that's why I'm feeling particularly generous towards Junius, a Boston-area band whose recent Radar Recordings EP release will likely be sticking around my CD player for a while.

Solid, warm distortion gives a sense of described space without crowding it. It's not ethereal; bands like Low and Tresspassers William trace only the outside edges of the kind of space that Junius is trying to actually inhabit. Joseph Martinez' vocals are not among the genre's strongest but he knows how to play to his strengths, subsuming whenever possible into the guitars and heavy rhythms.

A word Could Kill Her, probably my favorite track on the EP, starts off with a guitar line reminiscent of late-80's-era Cure, then after the first verse blasts into a sheer tidal wave of noise. It does cut off abruptly at the end of the song, though, which seems so unintentional that it sounds like an editing mistake.

The disc's largest weakness is a certain sameness to the songs, as if they found a groove that worked for them so well that they were afraid to leave it. As a result, time signatures don't deviate much and most of the album sticks to a formula of quiet-lead-in-to-first-verse-to-heavy-crescendo-to-muted-leadout. Fortunately, Blood Is Bright's 20-minute length ensures that this formula never wears out its welcome.

If Junius can show a little more variety in their future offerings, they just might be the next Hum--which, coming from this reviewer at least, is just about the best praise I can offer a band.

http://www.mammothpress.com/index.php?area=readreview&pid=708 - Aric Annear


This eponymous release by Boston-based “post-wave” quartet Junius is not really a full-length record. It’s a combination of their previous two EPs; 2004’s Forcing Out The Silence and 2006’s Blood Is Bright. A lot of critics, as well their own label, has likened them to a new interpretation of The Cure. If Joseph Martinez’s vocals are any indication, this would seem like a flawless comparison.

Their live show is thunderous, and the album kneels down to it unfortunately, but Junius does display their potential. Junius incorporates song structures from the vein of modern post-rock, “weighing” towards the heavier side. If they had no vocals at all, they’d be compared to Explosions In The Sky or Pelican, and the boys really push these associations too. Wall-of-sound guitar textures underneath drone-metal reverb drums, but there are no real instrumental melodies happening inside, just these epic guitar echoes.

Martinez is definitely a talented lyricist and singer. His voice bends throughout the album as his dramatic yells often need to overpower the clashing duo of distorted guitars. But this overdrama practically defines the group’s existence, which might turn some heads away. Their album titles, Forcing Out The Silence for example, are kind of hackneyed by the world of pop punk. And their forthcoming album The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist, continues in this path. Although, interestingly, this album will be released along with an accompanying graphic novel by Martinez and illustrator Matt Gauck, which gives this dramatism a raison-d’être and perhaps some levity on the side.

Junius puts the two EPs in chronological order, so things do change as the band slightly tweaks their sound from year to year, in this case, track to track. The Blood Is Bright section is more enjoyable, less loud, and one step forward with about ten steps back towards the eighties. “In The Heart Of Titans” barely features any vocals, but seems plucked right out of The Cure’s catalogue and very influenced by Brit-rock in general. My advice is to stay tuned for their next album out soon.

http://www.lefthip.com/albums/880 - Lefthip.com


Discography

Forcing Out the Silence CDLP (2004, Radar Recordings)
Hiding Knives CD Single (2005, Radar Recordings)
Blood is Bright CDEP (2006, Radar Recordings)
Keep Singing! A benefit compilation for Compassion Over Killing CDLP (2007, Exotic Fever Records)
The Fires of Antediluvia 7” ep (2007, Radar Recordings/ Anchorless Records)
Junius CD (2007, Radar Recordings)
The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist CD/2xLP/Digital (2009, The Mylene Sheath)
Junius 2xLP (2010, The Mylene Sheath)

Photos

Bio

The tireless and ever-touring bearded men of Junius are releasing their new record, The Martyrdom of a Catastrophist, this Fall on The Mylene Sheath (North America / UK) and Make My Day Records (Europe). Preparation for the long-awaited album began in 2006, with month-long writing/recording sessions in such unconventional locales as a bank vault in California, a warehouse in Texas, a farmhouse in Vermont, and a shack in the swamps of Louisiana. The result is a full-fledged concept album, inspired by the life and theories of controversial scholar Immanuel Velikovsky.
From birth to death, The Martyrdom of A Catastrophist chronicles a man whose progressive theories on ancient history and the cosmos were widely challenged by mainstream academia during his lifetime. The album's ten songs are both cinematic and accessible, building to crescendos which echo some of Post Rock's most epic moments, but with vocals, hooks, and lyrics creating focus throughout. Actual quotes from Velikovsky's interviews and lectures are interspersed between songs, providing a sense of narrative to the proceedings.
Junius produced The Martyrdom at the legendary A&M Records studios in Hollywood (now known as Henson Recording) over the course of a year, somewhat guerilla-style, during off-hours when the studio wasn't booked (the band has joked that they were bumped out by everyone from Akon to Bruce Springsteen—literally). The album was recorded by Kevin Mills and Tom Syrowski (Weezer, AFI) and mastered by Dave Collins (Danny Elfman, Black Sabbath). It also includes a 24-page book featuring art by Drew Speziale (Circle Takes The Square) and illustrator Matt Gauck.
While Junius' sound is sometimes tough to categorize, they have cited such artists as Bedhead (Junius singer/guitarist Joseph E. Martinez's uncle Trini was their drummer), Philip Glass, Hum, and M83 among a long list of inspirations. The band has been electrifying rapt audiences with their spellbinding walls of reverb-drenched guitars, haunting vocals and self-made lights since 2004.
Shortly after releasing their first EP, Forcing Out The Silence, Junius began a tireless touring regimen to fan the flames of an already blazing press. Among its accolades, Disclosure Magazine declared the debut "one of the most engaging Dark Rock albums to come out since Joy Division last graced a stage." Junius toured for over 9 months and played over 200 shows in their first year alone, embracing a DIY ethic which remains at the core of the band's ideology.
Both the debut EP and its 2006 follow-up, Blood Is Bright (later released as a self-titled full-length), were recorded by Will Benoit (of Constants), and mastered by Nick Zampiello (Isis, Converge, Torche). Hailed as a “darkly lush epic” by Alternative Press and “genius” by The Big Takeover, Junius’ work is borne of experiments in isolation and asceticism. It’s this austere approach from one of America's hardest working bands that adds a weighty sense of purpose and intrigue to their output.
2009 finds the members of Junius as tenacious as ever, continually touring Europe and North America (recently sharing stages with the likes of Pelican, Mare, Tombs, Wolves In The Throne Room, and Irepress, among others), headlining festivals, lending music to a series of short films by director Mary Lambert (Pet Semetary), and, of course, finally seeing the release of their new album.