It seems rather appropriate to be sitting here listening to an album by Colonel Petrov’s Good Judgement the day after the US Mid-Term elections. There’s a feeling that, for two years at least, the world might just have dodged a bullet… America stepping back from what I call ‘the Handmaid’s Tale scenario’. As I talked about in my review from the band’s first album ‘Moral Machine‘ their name commemorates act that, had it not been taken, may have plunged the world into a third and final world war.
It is therefore also appropriate that the vocals on the opening track (‘Fire and Fury (The Poetry of War’) on this second album, ‘Among Servants’, consists solely of quotes from POTUS 45 and Kim Jong Un. Again set amidst a torrent of genre this first track in many ways reflects the approach of the band’s debut, but this time is more song-based compared with its instrumental predecessor. There is a real punch to this… mostly in the gut… and you really have to be in the right mood to take everything that is going on here on board. Today, it seems, I am.
‘Resistor’ also bursts onto the scene with a drum roll into that’s right out of the Motörhead playbook… but then goes off on an absolute deluge of sax and guitar that you really find hard to keep up with. Its feels like you are on a moving train, clinging on to the outside while trying to take in the scenery as it flies past.
After that ‘Providers’ does at least slow things down a bit. There’s something a bit more reflective about this piece in the way that it seems to force you to think much more. Here the band seem to swirl round the vocals in a way that frames them without ever impinging on their meaning.
‘Ascension’… and it strikes me how most of the track names here could be from a Killing Joke album, a favourite band of mine who have a similar penchant for genre defying music on the edge of chaos coupled with a striking political stance… sounds like a track that is almost going backwards… I guess upwards is more the movement of choice here, but it is certainly not one that seems to be reflected in any sort of positive way… apocalypse would seem more of the case.
The title track then powers this album to a new level. On the one hand it feels like a contemporary metal track, but as with the rest of this album you need to sift through the surface to see what’s going on in the musical hinterground of this number… it’s an absolutely massive slab of contradiction which I will be mining for some time to come.
‘Bad Shepherd’ starts it’s life as a fragmented runt of a track and suddenly bursts out into a full psycho-pocalictic rage of a song with sirens going off all over the place and a mad chaos injecting itself into every pore… this does not feel like a world that has been dragged back from the brink. This is initially the case with ‘Death of a Guardian Angel’ with it’s high octane vocals and stressed melodies. However, unlike the other tracks here this one works its way towards a resolution and feels weirdly laid back by the end.
‘Burning Straw’ is another one that sets off slowly but picks up the pace as it goes. There’s a kind of etherial base to this that gradually morphs into a free-jazz subtext that gives the track a whole new dimension and as it segues into ‘Ashes’ there is a feeling of finality as the stone pillars of guitar drop into the track like falling lava from an erupting metal volcano. This isn’t the end we might have been looking for… there is no hope here… just more pain and more anxiety… the American people’s good judgement is not something we can rely on yet.
‘Among Servants’ is available on CD and download from the band directly here.
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