Janus - Right Red Return (Cover Artwork)
Staff Review


Right Red Return (2009)


A word of wisdom to the dudes in Janus: More layers does not mean better songs. Just like adding extra double-bass doesn't make better metalcore and piling on eyeliner won't equal better screamo, Pro Tooling nine layers of sound may give songs a deeper texture, but won't make up for trite songwriting.

That seems to be the inherent flaw in Janus's newest, Right Red Return. While ghostly background vocals and atmospheric ambience blanket each song like a stratus, the corresponding dullness of form leaves much to be desired. Clumped somewhere between hard rock, heavy emo or some variety of bland post-hardcore, Janus moves tepidly between 10 songs of overdramatic monotony. Almost comically, their press material refers to Janus as "metal," going so far as to assert they bring "a fresh new sound to the genre" thereof. Perhaps some watered down form of nü-metal might be more accurate, but it's been awhile since nü-metal was actually considered new (or metal).

The histrionic singing of vocalist David Scotney is probably the most annoying part of this record. Set against such a lifeless musical backdrop makes it all the more intolerable, especially on tracks like "Eyesore," with its emotional shrieks and howls above layers of monastic drones and flat guitars. Likewise, "The Nerve" crawls in, building and building, but never snapping into anything substantial. The same could actually be said of most of the tracks on Red Right Return.

Lyrically, Janus is fairly stale as well, confessing on "Say It": "I can't believe / I can't believe / I let myself believe this lie / Say goodbye / Say goodnight / We wish you well / Make sure to write."

Janus' Right Red Return isn't really compelling to enough to describe in any more detail, so it's sufficient to say that 95% of readers will have no interest in this album, though some select hard rock stations across the country might find a home for it in their spin list.