I have never been so confused and so impressed at the same time. After reading some other opinions on this album, it seems that is exactly the consensus. Some people had the interpretation that it is try-hard nonsensical BS, others think it is an experimental masterpiece.
I really like this, but I totally understand the opposing arguments, and the reason people have for being so impressed by an album that, in reality, doesn’t make that much sense. There isn’t very much music like this. If you are a fan of chaotic yet emotive music, this is what you have been looking for since you first heard ‘Miss Machine.’ The riffs are really fast, the phrases travel across several octaves and the key seems to change on the fly. There just hasn’t been this fluid of an album in this style because the style itself is not fluid. I agree though, a lot of parts really don’t make that much sense, but that doesn’t make me not enjoy it very thoroughly.
This album is a concept album about two brothers, one good and one evil, one of them has this ribbon thing (?) who uses it for evil and control or something, and the good brother has to find the mighty weapon Unlorja, a sword that can destroy the ribbon thing and vanquish his evil counterpart. The concept is ok on paper, but the story is told in such a confusing way, with the perspective coming from different characters or sometimes in 3rd person objective.
Yeah its weird.
Between The Buried And Me’s Parallax does a similar perspective trick, but the change between them is pretty obvious because of the style they are playing in and even the vocal style. It’s an even more difficult story to understand because of the subject matter being much more abstract, but the story telling is what really makes them so great. So when I say the story in ‘Unlorja’ is confusing, it’s the way the story is told that is confusing. They had a good idea, but didn’t have a very coherent way of communicating it.
For instance, the song starts in clean vocals, he is talking about forgetting his past nightmares and replacing them with good thoughts of the future. Then they begin talking about taking the blade Unlorja to go and fight the evil brother. Who is talking to him though? Previous and later songs are from the point of view of the good brother and bad brother, but this song is some god talking to him, I don’t know, how can we know? This story doesn’t take place on earth, or even in our dimension maybe, yet they name specific events in the timeline as if we are supposed to remember them.
Aside from the story being a little over-the-top and not flushed out, this album really blew my mind. The transition from part to part always flow, if not lyrically. The phrasing of the lyrics with the phrasing of the instruments helps the otherwise confusing lyrics, the changes between the softer and the heavier or more chaotic sections helps us discern at least how the subject feels. Every phrase has distinct intent, none of it is heavy just to be heavy, there is no clichés. Journal wrote music in the way they felt it needed to be written, not for anyone else, not by some formula. For that alone I think this band deserves a lot of respect. Perhaps after they have released more albums they will be more on the same page lyrically and musically, or their story will make more sense as the expand on the concepts universe, I can’t wait to find out.
Other bands are more straightforward with their lyrics.
This is pretty bad. I don’t know why they bother making recordings when this is clearly a band whose strength is being the referee for moshing matches. It has its place though, if I was really drunk and angry, this is exactly the kind of band I would want to be performing, because it doesn’t take any mental effort to understand at all. Maybe it’s a good unwind after getting your brain twisted into a mess by Journal.
Pretty bad though.