Lion of Judah - Universal Peace (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Lion of Judah

Universal Peace (2006)


Lion of Judah assuredly unleashes one of the year's more unique and ambitious hardcore efforts with Universal Peace, their first full-length.

Producing raspy vocally, musically driven "soul-influenced" songs, fellow D.C. residuals and legends Bad Brains is often cited as Lion of Judah's biggest influence. However, unlike another certain (albeit well-respected) gang of BB followers, Charge, never is there a sudden moment of upstroke-laced reggae (not that such would be a detrimental character); rather, Lion of Judah show it with a world-acknowledging socio-politico and personally introspective lyrical base, without dogging on specific events that would cause a datedness.

While it's also a musical standout thanks to its punchy tempo, "U N I Vs. All = Peace" shows off some of the band's more powerful lines; "'People kill people,' you tell me that's life / Ever said it to a soldier's wife?." "Sirhan's Secret" contains a surprising ton of tempo changes considering the style, further cementing the far reach of their unconventional, challenging methods.

While the type of intensity conveyed through Universal Peace is a little more subtle than most of the band's peers, when it's obvious they're certainly on. "Astral Master" concludes with flailing instruments and the vocalist fairly desperately screaming "So scared to live / But I'm afraid to die!." The rushed "Licking Evil" is particularly tasty, especially with the repetitive, frantic and anxious delivery of "In the heart of the right men / In the heart of the white men / Lies a piece of the devil!."

Exhibiting a variety of tempos, vibes, and guitar chords, Universal Peace is solid, smart roots hardcore. Whatever synonyms you can find for 'refreshing' apply here.

Astral Master