"Let There Be Nothing"

By Colonel Angus

People have always knocked heavy metal bands as being stupid musicians who barely play their instruments and have the lyrical equivalent of the wall in a bathroom stall.  Critic have been dismissing the genre but the reality is that most metal players are more than capable of playing their instruments and quite intelligent.  History has been common theme with Steve Harris and company putting forth “Alexander The Great”, SLAYER’s Jeff Hanneman bringing in World War II themes, and more recently, SABATON has created a sub-genre that could be called historical battles metal.  I do like a bit of history with my metal but let’s face it, if the music isn’t there, then there is no amount of lyrical history that can save an album.  Like SABATON, JUDICATOR’s latest release “Let There Be Nothing” has a more obscure historical reference (at least for me).  The concept revolves around a Byzantine general named Belisarius and while this disk has a common theme, I don’t find that it is a concept in the same way QUEENSRYCHE’s “Operation Mindcrime” unfolds its story.  “Let There Be Nothing” is more about emotions with historical references without walking the listener through a step by step tale. 

I have to admit that upon first listen, I was not that impressed.  This was my first experience with JUDICATOR so I had no previous bias and can’t compare previous albums to this one.  Although, something did happen with repeated plays (yes, I do listen to them more than once) and I really started to get into this release.  Not all of the tunes work for me with “Autumn of Souls” being the biggest culprit of the skip button.  The track takes power metal and cranks it up to 11 and it is too frantic to really work for my ears.  Thankfully it is the shortest tune on the disk.  “Gloria” is another track that doesn’t quite hit the mark for me but there are moments; it’s just the chorus that doesn’t quite fit the rest of the track.  Aside from those two pieces, I have to say that this is a solid record and the rest of the disk stands out as very good.  As I mentioned, this one grows on you with repeated plays and it is still growing on me because my favorite tracks change each day.  I love the thrash influences on “Tomorrow’s Son”, the proggy elements on “Amber Dusk”, and the epic tones of the title track.  As I write this review, I’m listening to “Let There Be Nothing” again and I find myself starting the album over again and again minus the 2 aforementioned songs.

According to the info I received, there has already been a lineup change since the recording of this record.  No matter as the three main stars of this effort are still with the group.  John Yelland puts in a great vocal performance throughout with his clear and powerful singing.  Tony Cordisco provides most of the rhythm and lead guitar and his playing incorporates melodic and heavy riffing with emotional soloing that fit the songs perfectly.  Jordan Elcess (who is switching to bass) is a powerhouse of a drummer and makes me wonder why he is swapping instruments.  Michael Sanchez, although no longer with the band, puts in a solid performance on bass with some lead guitar work as well.  I don’t know if the changes will make any difference on their next release but the guys involved in making “Let There Be Nothing” managed to make a fine release.  Many albums in my collection are ones where I was not a fan upon the first spin but later grew to be some of my favorites.  I don’t know where this JUDICATOR disk will wind up but for now, I like it more each time I hear it.