I always feel a little more intrigued when a band has big gaps between album releases. I knew immediately that it had been some time since Janus’ last release, but upon a little investigation (i.e. Wikipedia) it was evident that Janus seems to do this after every record they cut. With that said, enjoy this one for at least four to six years folks, because it will likely be closer to 2020 before you see another album by these four Chicagoans.
Going back to my intrigue, I like to categorize these kinds of bands with Tool. Obviously Tool is a bit of a stretch when utilizing any kind of comparison factor, but when a band spends that much time between releases, something great usually ends up as the product; for example, anything Tool has released. This reminds me, I am almost positive I can play the “Kevin Bacon Game” with this one. Let’s see: Janus is like Tool, in that the time between albums is greater than the average band. Tool has been compared to Chevelle, or perhaps that would go the other way around? Lastly, Chevelle has toured with Janus. Is that how that game works? Either way, makes sense to me.
Now that we are past the fun and games, let’s discuss Janus’ fourth studio album Nox Aeris. It comes fourteen years after the band’s debut release back in 1998, but yet they stay true (or should I say tru) to the alternative metal, or nu-metal sound. The key modification is how dark the band has become. The concepts and sound are mostly parallel to 2008’s Red, Right, Return but there is substantial growth overall. The mixture of the electronic elements (hints of Orgy, oh my) and the classic alt-metal sound make a bold and impressive statement. While the sound is reminiscent of the late ’90s/early 2000s, they somehow manage to make it new again.
While the band’s heavier and darker material is a statement to the current music scene, it absolutely does wonders for their overall image. The enhancement is 100% a move in the right direction. However, they still know how to tone it down and focus on vocalist David Scotney’s stellar chops. In “Lifeless” and “Always Rains” they take that necessary step back within the crushing muscle of Nox Aeris. Both tracks are a breath of fresh air, but don’t take that as a negative to the rest of the record. Scotney pulses through the airwaves from start to finish, but with these two tracks in particular. To be completely honest, while Janus find themselves compared to Chevelle most often, Scotney most closely resembles Ben Burnley from Breaking Benjamin. The sheer magnitude and drive of his voice triggers something deep. Not to get too dirty, but seriously, it is splendorous.
To recommend this album would be an understatement. If you like their past material, this will undoubtedly enrich your fond feelings of the quartet. Trust me when I say four to six years of Nox Aeris will be more than enough.
For Those Who Like: 10 Years’ The Autumn Effect – Breaking Benjamin’s We Are Not Alone – Chevelle’s This Type of Thinking (Could Do Us In)