Judgement Day

Early Queen albums announced, “No synthesizers.” Judgement Day, the San Francisco Bay Area-based string metal band, echoes that adage with an inscription on Peacocks/Pink Monsters: “There are no guitars on this record.” When the Patzner brothers—Anton plays violin, Lewis, cello—play a shredding metallic solo, it’s hard to believe the shrieking flurries of 32nd notes aren’t coming from an electric guitar. “People say [that] our sound is guitar-like,” says Lewis Patzner. “The high end of the cello and the low end of the violin have a range similar [to that of a guitar], but we’re not trying to imitate the sound of a guitar.”

The Patzners developed their aggressive Radiohead-meets-Slayer-and-Shostakovich sound while playing on the street for tips. “We love metal and jazz,” Anton says. “We wrote songs we could improvise on that were heavy enough to make people stop and give us money.” Lewis echoes his brother’s sentiment. “With only two instruments, you have to make as much sound as possible. Now that we play clubs, the emphasis is on getting a good tone from our instruments.”

The Patzners were classically trained, but adding metal, jazz and rock to their music seemed natural. Their first album, Dark Opus, featured the songs they played on the streets, but when drummer Jon Bush joined, the music became even more aggressive. “The music is challenging,” Bush states. “It allows me to be creative and anchor the band’s hard rock aspects, and [pushes] the band in a heavier direction.”

After Dark Opus, Lewis Patzner earned a degree in advanced music theory. Both brothers worked with other bands. “I toured with Bright Eyes,” Anton says. “I learned a lot about the effects pedals we used to layer up the sound on Peacocks/Pink Monsters.” The dense, driving, cinematic music of Judgement Day balances their metal impulses with quiet, melodic passages for a sound that fits both concert halls and hard rock clubs.  Says Lewis, “When the metal dudes love your music, it makes you feel like a real man.”

– J. Poet

For more info visit: www.myspace.com/judgementday