While I could go on and on about how criminally overlooked Judicator is, I too am guilty of overlooking their first two albums. See, I got hip to them in 2015 with their massively beautiful album At the Expense of Humanity, a surprisingly emotional and deep power metal album that also brought the, uh well, power. Recently they released their fourth album The Last Emperor and again, it’s a tyrant of power metal majesty.
What stuck me first with Judicator was their shameless love of the earlier speed/power metal, European bands, particularly Blind Guardian. They’re loving incorporation of Blind Guardian’s varying sound is remarkable, especially when they use it to their own affect instead of just blindly mirroring their unique sound. So it caught me a little off guard when I put on their second album Sleepy Plessow and found that Blind Guardian style wasn’t really present that much. Usually bands shake their influences as they progress but Judicator incorporates it more and more (Hansi even sings on the new album). There’s still a large love of the grandiose European power metal style, particularly in it’s story telling, which as a nod to that grand presence, is a concept album about Prussia and the life of Friedrich der Grosse (Frederick the Great). It’s almost like stage production with different movements, drama, all sorts of special guests, and it plays out over the course of an hour and twenty minutes, and it’s nothing but power metal glory. While the album is a bit over indulgent, power metal is the place where you expect that sort of thing, but still, almost ninety minutes for any musical style is a bit much, especially when you’re expecting people to follow your musical concept storytelling.
While I don’t think this one is a incredible as the following two albums, it’s a fucking damn good power metal album, especially from America, where the genre seems to withering on the vine. No, I’m not talking about all the “trad metal” resurgence bands either. Power metal. We need more Judicators.
Get the album on their Bandcamp page for any price you want. I suggest you do.