Mixed and mastered by Justin Nicholes (aka Just1ce S0n). Released Tuesday 9 May 2023.
For fans of The Electric Hellfire Club, White Zombie, Satanic Hispanic
Blaspheme is the latest album from Menomonie, Wisconsin metal vocalist and dark electro industrial artist Justin Nicholes, aka Justice Son (stylised as Just1ce S0n).
Until now, most of my industrial music listening has been the heavy, metal, wall-of-noise variety—think Godflesh, Prong, Ministry, Circle of Dust, History of Guns, even Throbbing Gristle.
There is sparseness to this album. A gentle subtlety.
The album opens with the jaunty and heavily electro “Dungeon” (track 1) that lasts only sixty seconds. Before the gruff, almost robotic vocals of title track “Blaspheme” (track 2) trundles into the audioscape built around the waves of a distorted electronic bass line.
Before you know it, “Burn U alive” (track 3) buzzes into action—a wall of sound with a throbbing bass, sampled vocals and splashes of distortion and a subtle melody gliding effortless overhead.
“Skin mask” (track 4) is the track that on each listen I’ve thought, “Oh! Are we here already?!” The song has an almost Depeche Mode vibe to the intro… until the creepy vocals whisper “Skin mask is the sure fire, sure fire…” Definitely one of my favourite tracks on the album.
“6ft” (track 5) is another under-the-radar track that rumbles along, searching for meaning in a very progressive music sense—a showcase for different styles and musical ideas.
The melody that introduces “V01ddirge” (track 6), a very hollow and atmospheric track, feels quite derivative of other tracks on this release—but I don’t mean that in a bad way, there is a theme, a core that ties the tracks to each other. This song has a steady gentleness and a haunting beauty.
The album closes with the bouncing, plodding “7nife” (track 7), another hauntingly gentle track that reminds me of mid-career Depeche Mode. The track bounces along until it burns out and fades to silence. The whole album is only 21½ minutes long, and coupled with this peaceful outro, the silence that follows listening to this album always takes me somewhat by surprise.
It is for releases like that that I love this 195 metal CDs project—being introduced to new corners of the musical landscape. There is a familiarity about this genre, but at the same time, it feels new.
I have loved listening to this album, not least, I think, because it seems to soothe and calm me, even on the most manically busy of days.
Review score: 90%
MDPR contacted me inviting me to preview Just1ce S0n’s latest album, thank you. I have no connections to either MDPR or Just1ce S0n. I’m not being paid to review this, but I did get a free digital copy of the album to review which is pretty cool. Many thanks to Zach from MDPR, and to Just1ce S0n for continuing to create fresh, exciting new music.