Judicator - King of Rome 3.5/5

Reviewed: 4-1-13


1. Rising again
2. Into the sea of bayonets
3. Backs against the wall
4. King of Rome
5. Hougoumont
6. Tu n'es pas mort, coquin?
7. The iron duke
8. Elan

Judicator is a new U.S. band that was formed just recently, in 2012. The band consists of only 2 members - guitarist/bassist (and drum programmer) Tony Cordisco from Arizona, and vocalist John Yelland from my home state of Utah. Both have experience in other bands, but what they've done with Judicator is most notable to me personally. 'King of Rome' is their full-length debut, and it was released through Masters of Metal Productions, which was co-founded by Tony.

The CD's style is heavy/power metal with a traditional vibe, and it's quite heavy. The best and most recognizable comparison is early Blind Guardian, but there are also hints of early Iced Earth, and some other bands that have come to mind are Demons & Wizards, Burning Shadows, Persuader, Savage Circus, Winterfell, Edge of Thorns, Boomerang, Mystic Prophecy, Exiled and Viperine. Tony's guitar work is not only similar to what you've heard from these other bands, but it's also comparable regarding quality, and there are plenty of extra-catchy riffs throughout the CD.

Vocally, John has a slight resemblance to Hansi Kursch (Blind Guardian/Demons & Wizards), but he's not nearly as raspy. I like John's vocals a lot and those who regularly listen to heavy/power metal probably will as well. There are also some guest vocalists, and even some death vocals - provided by Bryan Edwards, who some of you may know from Seven Kingdoms' debut 'Brothers of the night'. I honestly don't really care for the added death vocals (I seem to only like death vocals when countered by female vocals - a la the "beauty and the beast" vocal style), but they're only present on track 2 "Into the sea of bayonets" and track 5 "Hougoumont", so it's nothing that should really take away from the enjoyment of the CD if you don't like death vocals.

If I were to describe this CD in one word it would be "strong", as it's definitely above average, while at the same time, doesn't completely floor me like the first time I heard the best CDs from bands like Blind Guardian, Iced Earth and Demons & Wizards. Still, it's easily competitive for the style and I hope these guys keep this band going for many years, as I'm positive they'll improve even more with time and this CD is already better than most debuts out there.




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