Journal - Unlorja

Perhaps I should get one thing straight right away, Nintendo core is a style of music I simply don’t get it. Call me old-timer or whatever, but just the prospect of a bunch of guys churning out a technical hardcore-influenced sound with bits of computer game effects included is enough to make me cringe.
Still I approached Journal’s second album with an open mind, yet just as I predicted this Sacramento four-piece fail to change my opinion. The overall impression I get from “Unlorja” is basically of a band piling riffs and arpeggios on top of another ones without a sense of focus or song structure. It’s all technicality for the sake of technicality if you ask me and I for one am sick to death of listening to this self-indulgent music played by guys who’ve spent a good portion of their youth watching video lessons from Yngwie Malmsteen and Mike Portnoy.
The press release blurbs that “Unlorja” is a must have for fans of The Dillinger Escape Plan, but despite the complexity and chaotic nature of DEP’s compositions, they at least show a clinical and strong sense of focus which is something Journal absolutely lack.
In a competition for playing as much puzzlingly notes per minute as humanly possible, I’m sure that Journal would be on the top ten, but this is music after all and they mess it up by overplaying. (4/10)

David Alexandre

For fans of: Protest The Hero, The Human Abstract, Periphery


  1. Lots of unfair accusations and untrue assertions were made here.

    "computer game effects”? Where? Did we listen to the same CD? Not sure if this was directed at Journal or just their genre. With the exception of CD filler tracks, Journal songs only have guitar, drums, and bass.

    Yngwie Malmsteen? Ok. I agree. You are old. Is any guitarist allowed to play faster than 120bpm without being accused of having this influence?

    Dillinger "at least show a clinical and strong sense of focus"? Uuuuuummmmmmmmm…… Have you ever heard a Dillinger album? Listen to a few of their songs, besides “Black Bubblegum”, and rethink that statement. For consistency, hate neither band or hate them both.

    Unlorja: 10/10

  2. Well, first and foremost you have to consider a review and this particular one, just a personal opinion and everyone is entitled to disagree with that.

    Yet just to clarify a few things, let me just add that the computer sound effects mention is addressed to the whole Nintendo core style, though Unlorja does have some samples included.

    You’re right I am old, but you misunderstood the reference really, when it comes to playing fast and overly complicated scales, old Yngwie is up there on top 5, but it be could Al Di Meola, John Petrucci or whatever, it’s just a reference to the playing and not the music, from what I remember Journal doesn’t play neoclassical heavy metal.

    No, no I don’t hate Journal, neither do I love DEP, but if I had to choose between the two, DEP is definitely my choice and that goes for Black Bubblegum or Sugar Coated Sour.
    Anyway, thanks for reading.