Justice For The Damned

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What’s in a name? See a good name or title, and on the surface, a feeling of curiosity is sparked. Peel back the surface and often more is revealed than was first anticipated. Don’t judge Justice For The Damned by their cover. Though their name assumes their intention is to serve justice to overzealous metal fans by punishing their eardrums with their delicious take on post-hardcore, in a sense, they themselves are seeking retribution. Whatever you might discern from titles and labels, the one truth about the Sydney outfit is there’s a far more emotive and a far more empathetic element to them.

Their long-awaited debut album, Dragged Through The Dirtis about to rock people’s worlds and with just four words, it elicits interest as to the story behind its collection of anthemic songs. Guitarist Nick Adams has described the debut as being a “raw expression of total despair, each song written during times when all hope was lost and putting the feelings to paper would be the only way to escape the pain.” Indeed, many musicians take to their instruments because it offers an escape, an outlet for the more negative things they might be experiencing. Justice For The Damned unthread the negative aspects of life without avoiding the nitty gritty. “The topics discussed do become pretty broad,” Adams begins, “A lot of it is past experience and stories from things in life, really focusing on a specific year or two.

“There are songs about love and romance or a lack there of, there are songs about friendship or a lack thereof, lonely feelings. One song is centred on the issue of domestic violence, [we] definitely wanted to sing about it and get that story out there. Another has to do with the struggle of fitting in socially, fitting in the world and realising who you are. It’s fairly broad.

“Despite the fact we’re a heavy band with such negative stuff to sing about, it does pigeonhole you a little bit. We’ve done our best to broaden it and sing about everything in our hearts – at the end if you don’t do that, how are you gonna touch other people’s hearts?”

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With all the negative connotations to Justice For The Damned’s music, they have a certain way of turning it on its head and making it work to their advantage, addressing it with force and creating a kind of self-prescribed group therapy. The accompanying video to single “It Will Always Be My Fault” sees the protagonist, clearly experiencing doubt and confusion, take a seemingly calm approach to coping with the use of a relaxing bath. When Justice For The Damned appears, you know it’s not always about lying about all contemplative in a bathtub for them – they’re not-mull-over-our-worries-with-mood-candles kind of guys. This song, in particular, is very volatile and Justice For The Damned perform with tension. Adams takes this as a compliment. “That song is about a bit more of a complicated emotion process that I and other members have experienced so we wanted to write about it,” he says. It’s much more [of a] self-persecutory way of thinking. It comes down to when times in life are really low, really harsh, somehow you’ve made it your own fault in your head and no matter how incorrect, your rational mind tells you you could have prevented it or done something different.

“The visual that accompanies that, our protagonist is contemplating all of that, you can see it on his face – the worry, the concern, the self-loathing. What is also discussed in the song, is like that, thinking like that, eventually, it erodes away and you esteem your self-worth. You come to a point where there’s just nothing left to keep going into it. That’s why he sinks into the water.”

Justice For The Damned though, are far from sinking. Currently on tour supporting Ocean Grove, where fans can have their first taste of the album in all its brutally therapeutic glory, they’ll soon be heading off to Europe for a colossal run of headline shows, bringing aggression and understanding to the live stage. “We want to make it more of an experience,” says Adams, “We have to lay down ways of how we do it. Of course at the end of the day you’ve come to see us vent what we’ve written, but we want people to come away thinking a bit deeper than before.

“We always try and jump in there with a lot of passion but if we can amplify that, that’d be a big plus for us.”

Written by Anna Rose

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Justice For The Damned “Dragged Through The Dirt” OUT 4th September

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Written by Carl Neumann

Carl is the owner and the director of HEAVY Magazine. Carl is a music journalist and photographer for HEAVY, Rolling Stone, scenestr, Planet Rock and Kerrang!

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