Band Line Up:
Leandro Sousa Bastos – Guitar
Marcos Martins – Drums
Pedro Bastos – Bass
Pedro Simões – Guitar
Rafael Soares – Guitar/Synths
- Heavy Sea
- Great Isaac
- Mist Hardships
- Our Ganges
From Vale de Cambre in Portugal, Juseph began a full 10 years ago, and released a 5 track EP ‘Novae’ in 2013. They added Rafael Soares on guitar and synths to the already established 4 piece in 2015 and went back into the studios in 2016 to work with Daniel Valente at Caod Armado Studios. The album is being released on vinyl by Wooaaargh and both Regulator Records and Raging Planet on CD & download. Although just 7 tracks, some are very long, so this is not a short album.
They describe themselves as being post-metal or a rock-metal band with steroids. The main thing about this band though is they are instrumental. No vocals and no lyrics. It may be that in Portugal the instrumental album is a big thing; not having ever been I wouldn’t know, but I don’t see these sort of bands being mainstream. To me, the instrumental album is wholly self-indulgent, non-commercial and rarely are these bands exciting live. It’s one thing to drop the odd instrumental track into a full on album, something that has been done with great success by many bands, but a full album of instrumental is like saying you think you are up there with Mozart or Bach, so if you aren’t then it’s going to fall flat. Even if we just compare this to some of the famous, more recent tracks on albums, this is not going to win against epics like ‘Pet Sounds’ (Beach Boys), ‘One of Our Fruit Machines is Missing’ (Nik Kershaw) or ‘Rat Salad’ (Black Sabbath).
At 9 1/2 minutes, the first track, ‘Heavy Sea’, is a slow, plodding soundscape. If it were tied to some wildlife programme as background, maybe it would make sense, but it’s not evocative enough, nor atmospheric enough to create images in your head, it lacks drama or excitement and has no energy. If the guitarist was one who could make the guitar talk, maybe they could pull this off, but it’s just mundane and lacklustre. Just shy of 7 minutes, ‘Great Isaac’ also fails to ignite the imagination; it often seems dated and reminiscent of late 60’s/early 70’s filler tracks only less interesting and with the power of a milk-jelly (only old people will get this reference). ‘Laki’ is 8 1/2 minutes of tedium; if you were hoping for a change of pace, then somehow they managed to go even slower on this one, with lots of repeat movements and no character.
Even David Attenborough shows have backing that packs more punch than this. ‘Mist Hardships’ seems to be more of a foggy night in Hartlepool, while ‘Renewal’ was just more of the same and old hat, it lacks any redeeming qualities. At least ‘Pilgrimage’ is only 1 minute 29 seconds of nothing worth bothering with, it has so few notes writhing that time that it hardly registers as anything musical at all. Finally, we reach ‘Our Ganges’, another 9 minute plus dreary amble through a collection of chords that fails to ignite any interest.
Juseph are inspired by lots of bands I have never heard of, so I cannot comment on similarities, and without a vocal, it’s hard to grasp anything in these tracks; they lack something, there is no melody to hook into, and they are not special enough, original enough or exceptionally talented enough to make this work. It is just limp, dull and pointless. But as I said, maybe the market for this is bigger in Portugal; it’s not likely to sell much in the UK.