Juliet Ruin – Old Stardust, Love, and Chaos Review

Juliet Ruin - Old Stardust, Love, and Chaos 01Alright everyone, take a look at that album art and raise your hands if you’re too kvlt for this shit. Cool: head outta the Hall and keep those hands up — you’ll need them for all the high-fiving that ensues as you elitists in exodus bond over your trve superiority. The rest of you should be ashamed ov yourselves try to keep Kenbellina restrained, this thing is pretty much tailor-made for the lil guy and the bulk of this review will be centered around why that’s a bad thing. That Canada’s Juliet Ruin aren’t an excellent blackened Muppetcore act should surprise roughly no one1, and if you think you’re about to read a glowing review you should probably die just head out with the kvlt kids and try to keep that In This Moment tattoo well hidden. Alright, anybody still with me? Damn it, guess this review’s still happening after all…

Sugar before cyanide: while I’ve a fuck ton ov contempt for Old Stardust, Love, and Chaos, it’s not a terrible album, and Juliet Ruin are hardly an awful band. Frontwoman Jess Fleming is a versatile, competent and convincing vocalist, for one, and I genuinely enjoy her performance here; there’s a sense of cynicism and seriousness to the songstress’ sound, a certain scorn-speckled substance, and maturity that sets her apart from the more sugary clean stylings of her peers such as Sabine Scherer (ex-Deadlock) or Mrs. KenWord of In This Moment. Her screams are likewise efficient and enjoyable, and all in all the band has her to thank for the score not being any lower. I’m also a sucker for the chunky, djent-ish timbre of the guitars, which also recalls the fat n’ furious ways of Deadlock. Seriously, any time additional growled, garbled things are thrown in by either guitarist Kent Geislinger or bassist Corey Reid2 on tracks like “Seasons” or “Stay Gold,” I become only about 80% certain that I’m not actually listening to the Germans in the first place.

Therein lies the crux of my disenchantment with Old Stardust: Fleming might have an enjoyable and unique vocal identity, but everything else on this album might as well have been Frankensteined from fragments of the fluffier, often more famous side of things. Killswitch Engaging guitar noodledom greets the listener during the first seconds of opener “Simple Wars,” then it’s bits and pieces of Deadlock All That Remains Straightline Stitch Five Finger Death Slap every heavy/clean predictable act ever from there on out. Somewhere between Halestorm and Alexisonfire, there’s an undeniable energy and catchiness to Juliet Ruin’s formulaic compositions – and I damn them all the same, perhaps all the more so. Calling Juliet Ruin something like a more metal-centric Chevelle seems right but just feels mean to Chevelle, given their considerably greater sense of identity and creativity.3

Juliet Ruin - Old Stardust, Love, and Chaos 02

For what it’s doing, I concede that Old Stardust does its thing relatively well. The transitions between tracks are smooth and natural, especially from the moody In This Flawed Flyleaf Moment alt-metal of “FTW” into the by-the-numbers beauty vs beast metalcore of “Seasons,” making all this clonery feel like it least belongs together. I’m certainly not denying that some thought went into all this, and again I’ll gladly praise the technical ability occasionally found within — that Killswitch intro gave me a solid six seconds of suspenseful optimism, yo — but there’s just nothing going on here that hasn’t already been done the same way a thousand times by a million other bands4 before now; being In Another Moment isn’t something anyone should wish on a band trying to make a name for themselves, and while the overall sound of Old Stardust is hardly unbearable there is simply nothing unique or honest about this record besides the vocals, making it difficult for me to assess this with anything other than a resounding “Meh.”

Old Stardust is the kind of album you give your kid when something needs to beat the Korn out of them but they’re too weak young for real metal just yet, one you can tolerate while they grow and develop but will have to have words about if they’re still jamming it by Tchornobog age middle school. I wish I could praise something featuring Fleming’s performance a little more, but all the strong singerz and fat axes in the world can’t bring a billion-times-beaten horse back to life and that’s all this is. If that’s all you want, great, but I’m personally above such fare since I care just so Jørn damn much about that musical originality – that’s why I listen to black metal!5

Rating: 2.0/5.0
DR: 6 | Format Reviewed: 320 kbps mp3
Label: Self-released
Websites: julietruin.bandcamp.com | julietruin.com
Releases Worldwide: September 6th, 2019

Show 5 footnotes

  1. I’m a bit surprised. – Steel
  2. The internet claims that the male vocals come from these two people, but it doesn’t elaborate any further and my ears swear they’re the same dude.
  3. Kvlt Nazi punks fuck off, Vena Sera was a treasure and I’ll have no ill spoken of it. Also, didn’t I already kick you out?
  4. These are cold, hard, scientific facts which I am legally neither obligated nor allowed to provide corroborating evidence for.
  5. That’s right, you fvcks, stay in my kitchen, get yoself burnt!
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