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Bands like The Judge are nice, if for nothing else to serve as a history lesson and remind us metalheads where the music we love so dearly came from.


Quick Review: THE JUDGE The Judge

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Retro rock has exploded in the past several years. That term can mean a lot of things, but in this case, it's referring to those modern bands who wish they were born in the '70s when Led Zeppelin and Black Sabbath ruled supreme and write music that imitates that classic rock/doom vibe to a tee. They know they're never going to top the masters, but what they do is more than just paying mere homage to their idols. Underground rock label Ripple Music seems to be peddling a lot of the better acts in this movement, and The Judge is one such band. If one didn't know any better, their self-titled debut could be construed as a long lost classic from the '70s.

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Full disclaimer: I love this stuff. As a huge fan of Led Zeppelin and the classic rock bands of old, these bands hit a sweet spot and make for easy listening. That said, it's becoming obvious that this is yet another subgenre within the umbrella of metal and rock that has exploded, and as such, the duds begin to surface after a time. So where does The Judge stand? Well, they're definitely on the better end of the spectrum. "The Witcher" kicks things off nicely with bluesy vibes and booty shakin' grooves. Everything about this album, from the song structures right down to the vintage production, is a direct tribute to the '70s, kind of like what Graveyard does. Dylan Jarrett's soulful guitar playing could bring even your dad back to the glory days of rock n' roll, as could the sweet swoon of frontman Tyler Swope.

They traverse a wide spectrum of classic rock influence throughout the album, from Boston ("Movin' and Groovin') to the "Dazed and Confused" tribute "Planet Doom." Overall, the album is a fun and genuine continuation of what the legendary bands from the '70s started. Anybody who yearns for the classic rock days to return should be pleased with what The Judge accomplishes here. Anybody else can probably still find something to like, but if classic rock or blues isn't your forte, then The Judge probably won't change your mind. Still, bands like this are nice, if for nothing else to serve as a history lesson and remind us metalheads where the music we love so dearly came from.

Score: 6/10

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