Lion of Judah - (Number-rology) [7 inch] (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review

Lion of Judah

(Number-rology) [7 inch] (2009)


It was odd that after D.C. hardcore act Lion of Judah released their incredibly solid 2006 full-length, Universal Peace, the band's activity largely ceased, only to seemingly make way for the slow rise of a rather like-minded band: Providence's Soul Control. Both bands didn't necessarily sound exactly the same, but they were coming from a very similar place: LOJ wrote thoughtful, soulful hardcore that mixed up the knotty but aggressive tendencies from locals like Swiz, Fugazi and Bad Brains, while Soul Control melded Supertouch's restrained, introspective air with Burn's ragged front and hints of Quicksand's crunch. Not necessarily six of one and half a dozen of the other, but pretty close. LOJ seemingly fell off the face of the very earth they were so wary of after Universal Peace's release, and Soul Control became Providence favorites with their early 7"s. Only, SC largely revamped their sound into a more abrasive and heavier beast with newcomer Rory Vangrol and the band's recent debut LP, Cycles, leaving a sudden void for the kind of hardcore both them and LOJ had briefly worn the crown for.

So here we are three years after Universal Peace, and Lion of Judah has reclaimed this fairly unique throne with an all-too-short trifecta of mindful, subtly dynamic hardcore. This is more or less a logical extension of Universal Peace (see aforementioned description), but it's done quite well.

The song titles on (Number-rology) follow this theme, with opener "9" an urgent, riffy three minutes with almost purposely sloppy but fleetingly-paced guitar work and a "Waiting Room"-esque repetitive refrain that, nonetheless, takes a few listens to come alive ("Shot by both sides--! / Nowhere to hide."). "18" and "16" are amiable followups: The former's got a formidable bassline and a bed of bright guitars pulsing along, and the latter's a whispery/frustrated, restrained, Dischord-saluting rager.

Recorded by Inner Ear Studios mastermind Don Zientara, the songs even have a 1991 production style that complement them perfectly. And the physical package is pleasing, with transparent green vinyl and a die-cut liner note that doubles as a tribal mask.

Not quite excellent per se, but damn near close. This sound's a rare commodity, so when it's done pretty well, it's definitely worth a listen or few.

(Number-rology) 7"