Eight tracks of pure, uninhibited Julien-K is what fans will get this April when their latest LP, Harmonic Disruptor, drops. It’s a triumphant record through and through, filled with the sounds that have delighted fans since their inception in 2003 taken to the next level and already a contender for one of our most favorite releases of 2020.
The title track is the greatest slab of aural ecstasy you’ll hear in the new decade and a revelation regarding the evolution of Julien-K. Combining Industrial, Pop, New Wave, and more, the track is a beast and a declaration of intent as vocalist Ryan Shuck comes off as a man possessed while sounding feral as he barks the chorus at unsuspecting listeners.
“Cross” is a new school anthem with lead guitarist Amir Derakh’s driving riffs bring a hearty heaping of hefty shreds while Anthony “Fu” Valcic provides a solid bass throttling, drummer Alex Gonzales relentlessly pounds, and Shuck’s voice just screams through the noise. Perhaps it was the recent tour with the legendary <PIG> that lit a collective fire under the asses of Julien-K and brought back a heavier overall feel but whatever the reason, I definitely applaud it. As will fans. Especially when hearing gems like “Stronger Without You” which could best be described as sounding “New Wave Industrial” with echoes of Death To Analog seeping through in the synth work.
“Lies Like Fire” is the closest this outfit has ever come to sounding like Orgy and that’s just fine. Because J-K has always stood on their own regardless of where their notoriety was borne from. And on a side note, I will say it is nice to hear that glimmer of nostalgia especially when the current incarnation of Orgy is such a fascimile. Then there’s “Shut Down Your Soul” which is a blistering Electro romp in the vein of Ministry’s The Land Of Rape And Honey and “Stigmata” in particular with its’ onslaught of bleak, mechanical menace. And later still, “Burn The System” is a refreshing new Electro anthem and the kind of modern New Wave that Duran Duran should be producing with Valcic’s bass rumbling ominously into a HUGE chorus.
All good things must end eventually, right? With Harmonic Disruptor, all good things must end in the most grand way possible as is the case with “Undo Everything”. Shuck, Derakh, Fulcic, and Gonzales concoct a fitting end to HD with this bleak, foreboding ditty which builds to an inevitable conclusion but finds a way to completely blow your perceptions once again of what Julien-K is supposed to be along the path ending as a throbbing, symphonic Goth masterpiece.
Harmonic Disruptor is out now on TLG/INgrooves and can be streamed now by clicking here. For the most up-to-date info on Julien-K, including where you can see them live when they hit the road with The Birthday Massacre later this year, follow the band all over social media by clicking here, here, or here.