Downjuly fall under the broad category labeled, for lack of a better term, “thinking man’s metal.” More than anything a sad indication of the state of thought in music today, but still. Think System of a Down, and you’re just about there, only Serj & Co. don’t have to lie awake at night just now, pondering the stiff competition out there.
Gray’s Astronomy is chock full of angular metal and post-grunge like it’s 1999 all over again. And maybe it is. The thin, trebly sound of it may be down to production costs, but actually serves them rather well, bringing to mind that remote, biting sound of the weirder side of early-to-mid 1980s hardcore.
Some tracks veer dangerously close to oh-so-tired radio-friendly post-grunge territory — check “New Skin” for particular evidence — but Downjuly’s biggest problem may be that their entire album simply drags by a little bit too slowly. There’s just not enough fire and fucked-up attitude on here. They tread too carefully along their way, and seem afraid of taking any real chances.
Downjuly need to sharpen their focus and approach for their next one — which may then prove to be a good one. A song like “Ghosting” may be overlong and drawn out, but there’s enough good bits thrown in to sustain the listener’s attention throughout. Much like the album itself, then. If Downjuly do resolve their mud-stamping issues, they should soon enough be able to come up with something really good.