ShotgunJustice-StateOfDesolation-frontoverAs the head honcho at Unchain the Underground, I had to review all the crap no one else wanted. As one of a handful of butt honchos at AMG, I have the luxury of picking and choosing what to review (aside from the occasional metalcore lashing from the Powers That Should Not Be). In these days of the digital drop, music is all the more accessible so I tend to gravitate towards what I want to hear, or at least what I think I will be relatively adept at reviewing. Doing so, it is easy to fall into a critical rut. To step out of my comfort zone, I chose Shotgun Justice randomly without knowing anything about them or their sound, the only connection being they shared their moniker with one of my favorite thrash metal albums (see the Razor retrospective Druhm and I shat out in 2014). Do these Krauts live up to that thrashtastic standard?

I can answer that in three ways by quoting a grade school aged student I once overheard in the Peekskill Public Library: “English, ‘No.’ Spanish, ‘El no-o,’ and ghetto, ‘Hell no!'” According to their bio, on State Of Desolation, their debut full length in a baker’s dozen years of existence, Shotgun Justice are going for “great and diversified oldschool Heavy Metal,” but, like Ray Charles at a turkey shoot, they miss the mark by a mile.

Perhaps the best thing about the whole proceeding the great ESL in their bio, “The band’s critical and and provoking lyrics appear as straight as their music. In addition, the great voice of singer Marco, which has been formed by years of classical education, enriches the band’s sound.” Classical education in what? Tapestry-making? Half the time he sounds like the greased up naked deaf guy from Family Guy. The lyrics are also often equally as unintentionally funny, like in “Blessed With Fire,” a nauseous song, shitting the bed somewhere between a power ballad and a bowl of poop: “We are blessed with the fire that is running through our veins. My bleeding ears were the price to pay but still we shall extend. We are blessed with the fire that is running through our veins. It’s some kind of a fuel for us with a cold beer in my hand.” My ears bleed around five minutes in when a special guest female vocalist warbles in with a piercing falsetto like a bit drill to the temple. Being tone deaf makes someone “special,” but that doesn’t mean you let her sing on your album. The breakdown about 3:15 into the song is awkward and sounds like a garage band that isn’t quite at garage level yet and practice under a bridge instead.

shotgunjustice

The musicians in Shotgun Justice are adept at sounding amateurish and making odd choices. Bizarre percussion in the middle of “Forsaken” comes out of nowhere like a bukakke blast and it sounds like it is being played by a novice middle school band member. “Harvest the Storm” starts off like Iron Maiden covered by the International Epileptic Orchestra, but picks up to be one of the better and heavier songs on the album with Marco going for a guttural grunt for most of the duration, much to my ears’ relief. More of that would make for less, “Ow, my freakin’ ears!” Todd Flanders moments, perhaps the most egregious of which being the return of the “special guest” to schizer all over “Nemesis (A Global Killer).”

Eight minutes shy of a full hour to endure, everything on State Of Desolation could do with a lot of self-editing. I suppose this may wet someone’s whistle out there but mine is dry as an 80 year old cooch. In 2016, Shotgun Justice released an album that, like Savage Steel‘s 1987 Begins With A Nightmare or Intrinsic‘s self-titled debut of the same year, are remembered by many as classics, but when you go back and listen to them with modern ears you wonder, “What the fuck was I thinking?” While both of those bands went on to much better things, for a modern day band that has been at the game for 13 years, State Of Desolation borders on embarrassing and while I don’t jump at the chance to chastise a band, even though we are Angry here at AMG, our job is to be honest and unmerciful, and this one is like having a tooth pulled. If it was close to three decades ago, State of Desolation might be tolerable but this is 2016 and playing “oldschool” metal doesn’t mean playing it like you’re 15 and in your mother’s basement.


Rating: 1.5/5.0
DR: 8 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Kernkraftritter Records
Websitesshotgunjusticegermany.bandcamp.com | shotgunjustice.de | facebook.com/shotgunjusticegermany
Released Worldwide: January 8th, 2016

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  • AlphaBetaFoxface

    I can’t say I can recall reading too many of your reviews in the past, but this is one of the best reviews (if not THE best) i’ve read so far this year! Absolutely fantastic write-up man

    • Diego Molero

      Was going to say the same. Hilarious review! They should give him more albums to review

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        They should give him more BAD albums to review.

        • People were saying that after my Instigator review too, and I just realized I used a blind celebrity analogy in that review as well, except it was Stevie Wonder. I have nothing against blind people.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Remember Jeff Healey, Andrea Bocelli and Jose Feliciano for your next BAD albums reviews. After that, it’s all about the Blues.

          • Angry METAL Guy.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            I’m not talking about bad albums, I’m talking about blind people.

          • Good call! Blind Willie Johnson too!

    • Many thanks!

  • Well! I never. Yeah, the vocalist is pretty awful, and that ruins much, but I wasn’t willing to give in to your negativity until the song Nemesis. By that time I was starting to have a headache, something is wrong with the way they mixed this, I kept wanting to turn it up to hear the guitars but it made him too loud.

    Then I went to their website to see, frankly, if they had any fans. There I watched the video of them do Nemesis live.

    I am blind now. Thanks.

    • brutal_sushi

      They have the stage presence of some no name local band. Also the thumbs up from the singer at the end of the crowd clapping part was awesome.

    • Good luck at the turkey shoot.

  • Soge

    Wow, that sounds just like bad Karaoke. How does stuff like this manage to clear mastering and even be released? I can hear better from amateurs on Youtube FFS.

  • dduuurrrr dddduuuurrrr

    Dear metal artists,

    Unless your band has satanic imagery… never use upside down “t”s

  • Elton Chagas

    “(…) but, like Ray Charles at a turkey shoot, they miss the mark by a mile.”

    LOL

  • brutal_sushi

    Buzz’s girlfriends band… Woff

    • For that Home Alone reference you will receive total consciousness.

  • Rob

    Bless their little hearts, though…they tried.

  • Monsterth Goatom

    This band seems to get so many things wrong that it appears almost intentional. Great, honest review.

    Oh, and that album cover reminds me of the old Canadian $50 bill. Some Jokesters used to refer to it as the Newfie firing squad (not me: I’m half Newfie, b’y!).

    • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

      When I saw the cover I thought: “Mexican standoff”. But when I read your Newfie firing squad comment, I almost cried from laughing so much.

    • Also looks kind of like the Nuclear War Now! logo.

  • Scourge

    Juvenile review. Thought I went to the wrong site.

    • Reese Burns

      Good job backing up that argument, champ! If you frequent this site at all, you’d know the reviews (especially the negative ones) are written to be funny. If that seems juvenile to you, you’re not gonna have a good time on here.

      • Scourge

        Been here a while champ. Juvenile review.

        • Reese Burns

          No, no. Even though I pointed it out in my original comment, please continue to not back up that claim. I wouldn’t want you to feel obligated to explain yourself when criticizing someone’s work. Which, I might add, is a rather juvenile thing to do.

          • Everybody play nice. Scourge has been around a long time and he’s entitled to his opinions, as are you.

          • Reese Burns

            Yessir Mr. D. Standing down.

          • I appreciate you standing up. Thank you.

        • We all have different writing styles here. Al is a bit more blunt, like a warhammer.

        • I’ve been writing reviews since the ripe old age of fifteen. That is back in 1990, 26 years ago. This album sucked. Straight up, so I made light and had some fun and tried to generate some laughs. If I hadn’t had a little fun, it would have been all negative so I somewhat resent the juvenile comments. That said, as with everyone here, we are all entitled to our opinions so your review of my review deserves as much credence as the review that spawned it. I would like to point out that even though my review was less than positive, the fellas in Shotgun Justice acknowledged that I took the time to really critique it when they posted it on Facebook and wrote, “At least it’s fun to read, and he has for our hard critique really took the time, and we need to certify.” Again, ESL taken into consideration.

          • Scourge

            So you’ve got nothing but positive feedback from your readers in this comment section except me, and even the band gave you props, so don’t be too resentful for one negative comment.

            I think you understand where I’m coming from since you realized you made a second joke about blind people so felt it was appropriate to say you have nothing against blind people further up in the comments.

            So since you don’t like repeating yourself, I’m looking forward to your next review of a bad album, as we can be assured you won’t equate shitty music to blind people, deaf people, people with epilepsy, or “special” people. I’m less confident there won’t be references to shit or spooge though.

            And trust me, I’m not even close to being the PC police or I wouldn’t have categorized the review as just juvenile. And I don’t even disagree with your assessment of the album.

            Glad others enjoyed your write up. Sorry I offended y’all so bad.

          • You know, after further assessment, I have to agree with you. It was juvenile. I can very much be, I find poop and tasteless jokes funny, so good on ‘ya. You are for sure entitled to your opinion and I can’t even say you are wrong. Juvenile was what I was going for. My apologies.

  • sir_c

    Is that Nicholas Cage in the middle?

    • There is a resemblance…

      • Hulksteraus

        I thought he looked more like a Klingon Bill Bailey…

  • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

    Oh yeah, and talking about those Career-Retrospectives… It’s about time you guys do the second one.

    • Carlos Marrickvillian

      I keep hassling them to too.
      They keep saying they’re going to but that could just be to shut me up…

      • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

        Abbath just released an album… How about a Career Retrospective for Immortal?

        • We had a few in mind. Keep the suggestions coming!

          • Reese Burns

            What about Celtic Frost for a career retrospective? They have some amazing releases, and one so hated, they completely dropped it from their discography re-release. Would make for an interesting read.

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            It is still too fresh, but I guess ten or fifteen years from now it is going to be interesting to read a Career Retrospective on Morbid Angel and see how “Illud Divinum Insanus” is treated.

          • Morbid Angel too, though that last album is worse than Cold Lake

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            It’s worse because it’s not even a sellout, it’s more like a… trainwreck? I don’t know.

          • I like the CF idea

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Jorn Lande?

          • Carlos Marrickvillian

            How about a teutonic thrash scene retrospective?
            Hellhammer could be woven into that…Sodom v Kreator v Destruction…

          • That is a heck of an idea. Druhm??

          • Juan Manuel Pinto Guerra

            Hell yeah! Go for it! Make it a whole Series! After that you can have a Bay Area Thrash retrospective, then an East Coast Thrash retrsopective, then Brazilian Thrash…

  • Matthew Christensen

    Shotgun Justice is one of my favorite Razor albums.

    • Likewise! Druhm doesn’t like it so much but it stands up there as one of their best, if not the best. Violent Restitution is also tops.

  • Alex Benedict

    The similes are too good, as usual. If there’s bad material to be reviewed, give it to this man (sorry not sorry).

  • Oscar Albretsen

    Ouch! Went to spotify and listened to their song “Blood for Blood.” the music sounds like a bunch of junior high kids rehearsing in the garage, and the vocals sound like he’s auditioning for Thin Lizzy. 1.5 may have actually been generous.

  • Reese Burns

    God this is really awful. The singer sounds like they’re being tortured. When I listen I can’t help but cringe.

    • Celtic Frost is a great idea. Albums like Cold Lake and Vanity/Nemesis polarizes, yet every other album solidifies.