These visceral metallic punks are kicking back against their political environment
American hardcore has a long history of political activism, but seldom has there been a more fitting time for a band like Judiciary to smash a few metaphorical windows. Roaring out of Texas with a sound that welds pitch-black metallic crunch with bursts of old-school fury, the Lubbock crew are a fiery riposte to the entrenched bigotry that they have seen all around them since childhood.
“Living in a firmly red [i.e. Republican] state and a very firmly red region of that state is 100% the reason Judiciary’s message and worldview is what it is,” states frontman Jake. “I think I can speak for all of us when I say that we were fed tons of the bullshit that is the majority opinion around here and we were expected to roll with it.”
Relentlessly punishing and blazing with righteous anger, Judiciary’s debut album, Surface Noise, is a glowing advert for the rude health of the Texas hardcore scene. As Jake admits, enlightened America’s renewed battle with deeply entrenched but wholly destructive opinions has provided plenty of lyrical ammunition.
“You can see how much that influenced us and fuelled us,” he says. “Surface Noise is thematically based on our frustrations with America and the world around us. It addresses the abhorrent nature of the racist, homophobic and bigoted people that still very largely exist in this world. Lyrically, I tried to capture how insane to me it is that these people exist and how satisfying it would be to shut them up!”
Bolstered by vocal cameos by members of Knocked Loose, Morality Rate and God’s Hate (whose frontman Brody King is also a professional wrestler: “How sick is that?” notes Jake), Surface Noise is a brutal reminder that heavy music can and possibly should play its part in the pursuit of a better future. For Judiciary, the verdict is simple: don’t be a dick.
“I don’t know if I’d call us a necessarily ‘smart’ band, but I don’t think it’s very hard to be good people in a band that exists in a dumb world,” Jake concludes. “It’s not hard to not be a piece of shit, you know what I mean?”