In a perfect blast from the past, Justifide released their long awaited The Vault Sessions after a vigorous campaign that saw interest in the band's return.
The band had been gone for over 10 years and they abandoned tracks that would one day become Justifide songs upon disbanding. Now, after an accidental find of the demos, the band decided it's time for the world to hear what they were missing - The Vault Sessions.
"Live 4 Forever" opens up with familiar sounding chords, and brings in that nu-metal rap rock flare immediately. Lead vocalist and drummer Jason comes right in rapping, and although he's missing the youthful energy in his voice, what comes out is a maturity and clarity that he may have been lacking before. The verses fit into their known style of being heavily reliant on faith and God. The message of the song is as loud and clear as ever.
"Hail, Fire & Rain" is gripping from the get-go. The vocals cut right in softly yet sternly with "I'm not running away," which is a perfect reflection of the song. Justifide is not shying away, but rather gripping tight on the reins of this track. The harmonies and multi-tracked layers of vocals sound great along with the guitar slides during the instrumental bridge.
Opening ominously, "Stay," has a dark feel to it and sounds both something old and new. This track perfectly captures the sound of early 2000s Justifide but with a modern twist on it. Jason's vocals are at their most aggressive in this track, and most resembles where he left off on the last record.
"The End" is very much like the last track in that it definitely feels, as it could have been a B-Side on The Beauty of the Unknown. The guitars are shredding and the bass and drums are pulsing along perfectly with the intermittent screaming. "Run away, run away but you can't hide" is sang in the chorus bringing back the themes of track 2. Again the focus is on not running away, "this is our time."
And of course last but not least, is an acoustic rendition of the band's beloved "Pointing Fingers." It's a tad disappointing that the EP does not have another new track but with such a solid almost reimagining of the original song, the Justifide "fan feels" come swarming back. This version of the song is, for lack of a better word, pretty. The subtleties of the light percussion in the background along with the tenderness of Jason's voice makes this song a standout even 13 years later.
Overall The Vault Sessions is a nice trip down memory lane and a good look at "what could have been" had the band stuck around. Undoubtedly fans will be left wanting more because four new tracks simply aren't enough Justifide! However, the band was very clear with their pledge goals from the beginning and with every higher percentage of funds collected, they would release another song. Unfortunately it didn't happen, but Justifide will be playing a reunion show, so there's that for diehards.
The show will take place Thursday August 6th in Texas at the Rock the Desert festival. Pick up tickets here and see a bunch of other great bands as well.
Check out our interview with guitarist Joey Avalos here.