Junius – Eternal Rituals for the Accretion of Light (Prosthetic)Sunday, 12th February 2017
We could spend this entire review extolling the virtues of Junius’s simply unsurpassed Reports from the Thresholds of Death. Released in 2011, the album was a marvel because of its delicate simplicity, welcoming atmospheric blend, and the contemplative vocals of Joseph Martinez. Thresholds appeared to move the Boston crew to the front of the line here in America of bands who could actually challenge bands of a similar mind across the pond. However, their 2014 EP Days of the Fallen Sun was a non-starter; Eternal Rituals for the Accretion of Light appears to be the same.
The melodic element that so eloquently drove the jams on Thresholds is mostly absent, putting the band’s bare-bones, unchallenging riff scope in focus. That’s not Junius’s long suit. As a result, “A Mass for Metaphysicians” gets caught in the nu metal/Deftones worship crosshairs. “Clean the Beast” and “Telepaths and Pyramids” never quite gain traction, whether that’s because of the lack of dynamics, or because they both tend to meander along, particularly the latter.
Reprieve does come in the form of “The Queen’s Constellation,” where Martinez’s vocals have lift; “Heresy of the Free Spirit” finally throws out the melodic life-raft, parlaying a rather majestic opening keyboard patch, while “Black Sarcophagus” brings forth the spacious light and touch so often found on Thresholds. (It’s also of note that “Heresy of the Free Spirit” and “Black Sarcophagus” are the album’s last two songs.)
Expectations can be the ultimate buzzkill. While Junius did the right thing by not repeating themselves, the fact of the matter is Eternal Rituals for the Accretion of Light is inferior to its predecessor. Perhaps the bar was a bit too high, or, Eternal Rituals will be one of those “late discovery” albums. Anyone’s guess, really.