Junior Bruce – Pray For Death

Junior Bruce – Pray For Death
Sludgelord Records
Release Date: 30/10/2020
Running Time: 40:13
Review by Steven Hooke
7/10

Those of a spiritual nature may feel that the forces are conspiring against Junior Bruce. The Floridian five-piece has already overcome the passing of their founding drummer shortly after the release of their debut album; in 2015, their guitarist had to depart the band following a horrific motorcycle accident; and much in the same way as the bulk of the music industry, the coronavirus pandemic struck early this year and put a hard stop in their plans.

But in spite of it all, the rifflords commeth, and Junior Bruce delivers a high energy wave of sludge, heralding the guises of High on Fire and “Remission”-era Mastodon. It’s an explosive start with ‘The Sleeper Awakens’, spearheaded by a pummelling drum performance from Jeff McAlear seemingly wanting to reprise every position on a high school drumline.

From there, “Pray For Death” enters a staggeringly good one-two of ‘Terror Mounts (Wretched Thing)’ into ‘7,000,000 Years (Ancient Astronaut)’. ‘Terror Mounts’ opens with up-tempo bounce, reminiscent of Priestess before an octave change and a warcry courtesy of Scott Angelacos, sends the song into a Motörhead-esque punk-meets-metal rush of adrenaline that is gagging for a live audience. The track spends most of its second half at a more calculated, yet dangerous pace, bringing forth those Mastodon vibes once again, capped off by Angelacos, whose death metal-adjacent tomes add an extra layer of ire to proceedings.

Into ‘7,000,000 Years’ and the floating guitar works from Brett Walker and Christopher Hayden almost feels likes they’re performing above the song completely. A shoegazy vibe that gives an extra lift to Junior Bruce’s repertoire.

There’s something for fans on both sides of the sludge metal coin on “Pray For Death”. In the fast-paced, punkier market, ‘The Mirror’ fully embraces its gnarly punk origins, as does Cancer Bats-like closer ‘Unspeakable Horror’ and ‘Anti-God’ – which is an absolute belter by the way – is all too coy in its flirts with death and thrash metal. For those about the groove and wanting their riffs to sound like they’ve come from Swamp Thing’s arse, ‘The Basement’ has all sorts of Crowbar feels and ‘One-Nine-Nine-Nine’ bathes itself in those shoegaze influences from earlier.

As a listening experience, this album has got you covered. From gurning you face with a slow head-bop, to full-on windmills and mosh pitting your flatmate out the kitchen window, Junior Bruce comes at you with force, in an affluent well of ideas and creativity. Although not quite as immediate on the first couple of listens, once you get there, it becomes an exciting time of discovering what they’ve snuck in next.

TRACKLISTING:
01. The Sleeper Awakens
02. Terror Mounts (Wretched Thing)
03. 7,000,000 Years (Ancient Astronaut)
04. The Basement
05. Anti-God
06. One-Nine-Nine-Nine
07. The Mirror
08. Unspeakable Horror

LINE-UP:
Scott Angelacos – Vocals
Brett Walker – Guitars
Christopher Hayden – Guitars
Thomas Crowther – Bass
Jeff McAlear – Drums

LINKS:

Disclaimer: This review is solely the property of Steven Hooke and Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this review, unless you have the strict permission of both parties. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.

EMQ’s with JUNIOR BRUCE

EMQ’s with JUNIOR BRUCE

Hi everyone! Welcome to our new EMQ’s interview with Orlando, Florida based Stoner / Sludge / Doom Metal band Junior Bruce. Huge thanks to vocalist Scott Angelacos for taking part!

What is your name, what do you play, and can you tell us a little bit about the history of the band?

My name is Scott. I do all the hollering and provide metal hornz 🤘🏽 for the crowd while the dudes do, whatever it is they do, behind me.

This band started in 2008 with a few friends and the idea of combining Black Flag with Black Sabbath. We have released 2 full lengths and an EP with A389 Records out of Baltimore since then.

How did you come up with your band name?

We were really into bad movies at the time and our guitar player had just bought me Death Race 2000 as a gift. This would be the original from 1975. It’s a horribly awesome and dumb movie with Sylvester Stallone and David Carradine. It is full of these awesome character names like Machine Gun Joe, Matilda the Hun, Lt. Fury, and Junior Bruce.

What Country/Region are you from and what is the Metal/Rock scene like there?

We are from the U.S. Orlando, Florida actually.

Everyone is still staying away from live events. The pandemic has everything shut down and it’s getting very scary for the venues we love and continue to try to support. I hope there is a way for them all to be able to survive these times, but we may be back in the VFW halls or backyards when we get to playing again.

After saying all that sad shit…I can tell you there are a bunch of amazing bands from down here: Holly Hunt, Ether Coven, The Glorious Rebellion, Intoxicated, Horsewhip, and Thunderclap to name just a few.

What is your latest release? (Album, EP, Single, Video)

We have a new album coming out via Sludgelord on Halloween. It’s called “Pray For Death”.

‘The Sleeper Awakens’ Single!

Who have been your greatest influences?

Jack Burton and Snake Plissken.

What first got you into music?

I guess first, when I was really young, I found boxes of my father’s records and loved looking at the naked ladies on the Parliament Funkadelic covers. I was like, shit yeah!!…Later, I used to watch my uncle play with his rock band in my Grandmas basement. He would chase me out if I came down (funny cigarettes are not for kids), so I would stand on the steps and bang my head to their classic rock.

My friends and I started a band when I was 14 or 15. It was fucking awful, but I was already hooked.

If you could collaborate with a current band or musician who would it be?

John Carpenter!

If you could play any festival in the world, which would you choose and why?

Stop bringing up shows. you are making me depressed. (Sorry!!!)

What’s the weirdest gift you have ever received from a fan?

Has to be a dreadlock. Although I did also get a framed My Little Pony watercolour. So, you decide?

If you had one message for your fans, what would it be?

I miss your face. Also, support your local music venues however you can. We need them to survive!

If you could bring one rock star back from the dead, who would it be?

Dude!! One?? I can’t do just one! Two is as low as I will go. Ronnie James Dio, and Kurt Cobain.

What do you enjoy the most about being a musician? And what do you hate?

I really love creating and preforming. I really hate the frustrations that come with creating and preforming.

If you could change one thing about the music industry, what would it be?

Not a thing. It’s obviously perfect in every way.

Name one of your all-time favourite albums?

Pink Floyd – “Obscured By Clouds”.

What’s best? Vinyl, Cassettes, CD’s or Downloads?

Vinyl…remember the Parliament Funkadelic record??

What’s the best gig that you have played to date?

Quite honestly, I really can’t pick, but maybe Maryland Death Fest, or playing with Pentagram with our original drummer Tanner before he passed (RIP).

If you weren’t a musician, what else would you be doing?

Smoking weed…well, I still smoke weed, but I would continue to too.

Which five people would you invite to a dinner party?

Here’s a list and what I expect them to bring:
Tom Petty – Ambrosia salad
Tom Araya – Flank steak with chimichurri sauce.
Tom Jones – Beer
Tommy Chong – Brownies
Tom Selleck – Macaroni

What’s next for your band?

We are going to do some videos from the studio and hopefully a livestream or ten until we can play shows again.

What Social Media/Website links do you use to get your music out to people?

www.facebook.com/juniorbrucerocks/
www.instagram.com/juniorbrucemetal

Jaffa Cakes? Are they a cake or a biscuit?

Uh…cake is kinda in the name there bro…Orange for me. I hate the raspberry ones. Also, please explain the difference between a biscuit and a cookie?

(Answer – In the UK both biscuits and cookies are sweet. Biscuits are hard and crunchy and cookies are softer and slightly doughier, although I’m sure there are regional differences, like there are with bread rolls…and that’s a completely different question – Rick, Editor 😊)

Thank you for your time. Is there anything else that you would like to add?

Thanks so much for taking the time to check us out!

Disclaimer: This interview is solely the property of Ever Metal. It is strictly forbidden to copy any part of this interview, unless you have the strict permission of said party. Failure to adhere to this will be treated as plagiarism and will be reported to the relevant authorities.