Album Review: Juggernaught – Full Grown Woman

This Pretoria-hailing rock outfit has quietly been going since 2007; however, it wasn’t until the release of their sophomore album, Bring the Meat Back that Juggernaught became to gather serious momentum within the local scene. Now they have returned once again, with their third full-length offering, Full Grown Woman: a peculiar marrying of the blues-jazz-metal influences they count within their music.

Self-described as a musical piece of lumbar funk, the album is steeped in midnight-black tendrils of sound which quickly wrap around the listeners’ throats, arms and legs and then, just as swiftly, release them. While the technical jazz aspect to the sound is perhaps what aids in setting them so neatly apart, it has to be maintained that Herman’s vocals are one of the sole constituents which provide the jaw-dropping edge to which they hold perpetually true. These grinding, growling baritones, which if one didn’t know any better would usually be assumed to be electronically affected, forms the focal core of this band as a whole.

The album opens on “Animal Farm”: a witty spin on George Orwell’s ethos which lays bare the apparently animal-like political issues of South Africa. An off-kilter percussive progression drives the sound steadily forward through the sticky, tar-like darkness of the track, before giving way, through a bizarre transgression, to a significantly lighter sound. An under-toned narrative kicks in through the final third of the song, consisting of a recording of Jacob Zuma’s infamous number reading blunder, further highlighting the cause they are trying to take with the track.

A heady baseline welcomes “Devil’s in the Retail” while their bluesy influences make a welcome appearance in “Carry On”, whose simplistic, stripped down qualities don’t last long. It’s a tricky thing to keep an eleven-track album neatly on its toes in order to keep the listener engaged – and while Juggernaught does their best to do so, they tend to fall short at times – “Work With What You’ve Gone” being an unfortunate prime example. In spite of their occasional lapses into energised monotony, however, it never takes long for them to regain their balance.

“Kick Like a Mule” is a wildly organised cacophony of sound which reeks of a Thursday night at Up The Creek, while “Waiting” is peppered with tick-tocking percussion and a jangling guitar riff. The title track opens on a whining guitar progression which bleeds into the robotic vocal intrusions which make their appearance later on. Closing the album on an aptly poignant note comes “Run”, whose lighter vocals and gently grooving sound are a welcome, albeit strange, digression from their characteristic, heavy metal-esque verve.

6/10

1 Comment

  1. Herman

    August 12, 2016 at 8:57 am

    Looks like you played the album alphabetically and just gave it a quick skim. Thanks for the effort though.

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