The Janitors - Horn Ur Marken

by Jim Harris Rating:5 Release Date:2017-04-28

When I first got this album I was thinking with a name like the Janitors it would be a fun, punky band of musical misfits with rollicking hard-driving garage punk masterpieces and such, not even close.  Straight from their press release…

“This record is a statement of sorts. It’s a call of arms from our side. It’s a tiny piece of protest. Be it against faith in religious misdoings from false self-acclaimed prophets or high almighty untouchable clergy, capitalist selfishness, racist idiocrasy or blunt fascism hidden in ignorance.”

I’ll say.  And then after I heard the opening track ‘Trojan Horse’ I thought I was in for a psych ride and a heavy one at that.

The Janitors, however, are probably more aligned with dark metal or alt-metal in the vein of Tool than Goat or A Place To Bury Strangers.  The opening track falls close to a psych exercise but the rest of the album is a dark, sinister, plodding romp through dark, sinister vocals echoing over slow to mid-tempo stadium metal foundations.  They get their point across as a serious metal band with serious metal intentions.  Horn Ur Marken (which is Swedish for Horns sticking out of the ground…there you to…) for the most part all works.

This is dark, politically activated statement metal and with evocative tracks like ‘Fear for All’ and the excellent, atmospheric track ‘Into The Woods’ if you are so inclined and have an appreciation of this sort of metal like Tool and even farther back like Iron Maiden or Black Sabbath, then Horn Ur Marken will be just what Dr. Frankenstein ordered.

My problem with many of these bands is they slap on themselves the label of shoegaze and psych and these just aren’t genres I think they should call themselves.  Just because you have a screeching guitar and solid bass and drum foundations does not make you a psych or shoegaze band. This is dark, heavy metal and perhaps a little too unrelentingly dark, heavy metal to the point of a little too much repetition.  The band commented that they are a shoegazing boogie-woogie band.  I found no boogie-woogie here.  Please.  Perhaps in concert they do Johnny B. Goode but this album consistently paints a slow, plodding canvas of dark metal that doesn’t pick up the pace very often.

But again, whatever metal tag you place on the Janitors, they get their points across and execute it all very well.  And in small increments, Horn Ur Marken, hits the mark.  I would prefer a few tracks of up-tempo power chords occasionally to break the repetition but perhaps they will boogie-woogie next time around.

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