Bracewar - Juggernaut (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Juggernaut (2007)


The last and only time I saw RVA's Bracewar live, I wasn't really impressed. It was December 2006 on Long Island with Down to Nothing and Have Heart. Kids were going apeshit, and that was fun to watch, but eh. "This sounds like Outbreak," I thought, "except not as good and pointlessly moshier." Consequently, I never bothered checking out the full-length that came out the following summer. Bad idea.

1917 Records sent me a package recently, letting me play catchup with their catalog's most recent releases. There was only a few things in there, but, yeah, Bracewar's Juggernaut was probably the oldest release in this bunch (street date: 8/7/07). I figured what the hell, threw it in and was pleasantly surprised by what I heard.

Juggernaut sounds much less forced and more naturally thrashier than I remember them being that day. Maybe it's just that much of an improvement from their early EPs, but the vocals parlay a frank raspiness and slightly lower-register bellow every so often, while fast tempos, punctual gang shouts and flailing drums often flare away into churning boils of rage. It's a level of "heavy" that they strike rather precisely, somewhere between peers like Trash Talk (not as manic) and Ceremony (heavier than) and retaining that more punk-leaning feel.

Despite the super epic art history cover, there's definitely a hint of playfulness on the record, which always helps matters. The temple-throbbing intro track could end a little less abruptly, but whatever.

This full-length takes no more than 14 minutes to come in, swear a lot at its antagonists and leave. It's hard to want it any other way.

Calling Out