By Rip Empson
Judgement Day was upon the hill Saturday night, and to the right were the Sinners and to the left were the Blessed. Everybody Else was somewhere in the middle. From atop their mount, the hometown trio brought a small apocalypse to the ears of the gathered faithful. Honestly, those in attendance will probably be disappointed if a day of reckoning should arrive without a sound track composed by a “string metal” band. Judgement Day’s sound, and its resident genre, are well-suited to narrate epic events – in the biblical sense, of course – like Morgan Freeman is to penguins.
Judgement Day, which consists of Anton Patzner on violin, Lewis Patzner on cello, and Jon Bush on drums is what you might now expect: progressive rock and metal blended with classical composition, played on strings dipped in distortion. This musical marriage is a unique one–like the galactic honeymoon of Dracula and Venus. And like their genus, Judgement Day is nothing if not unique.
Celebrating the release of their second studio album, Peacocks / Pink Monsters, Judgement Day played to a crowd of head-bangers, hipsters, locals and classical fans alike, mostly featuring work from their fresh release. Bottom of the Hill is an intimate setting – and though the band seemed a bit road-weary after the first leg of a national tour – it seemed a welcoming venue and energy in which to return home. Nothing says “home” like a plaid mosh pit.
For a trio with two classical instruments, the band has a big sound and is a blast to see live — the black-tar theatricality of metal mixed with the rich resonance of effects-layered strings sounds crisper on recordings – but that raw energy translates much more effectively bouncing off walls and bodies in a live setting. A studio can make Ashlee Simpson a good singer, giving musicians and producers time to get it right, to tinker, and add digital band-aids, so when a band and its music sound better live, it’s always a testament to the quality of the material, and the musicians.
Definitely check out “Peacocks / Pink Monsters” and “Zombie Rodeo Clown” – two songs from their new album that will give you a good taste of what the band’s all about. On these tunes, the violin and cello bring a grace to the metal, whereas metal responds by coaxing mayhem out of orchestral arrangements that might not otherwise be so promiscuous. Plus, Bush kills it on the drums. So go check out this homegrown band. You’ll dig their album. It comes with art and stuff. And chicks love art.