© J U D G E H Y D R O G E N
"Atheistic God" review in Obliveon Magazine (translated from German)
Judgehydrogen describes his music as a hybrid of gothic, rock, metal and ambient, and suggest similarities to bands like "Dead can Dance" and the "Swans", though this is not a perfect comparison. Judgehydrogen eclipses the Swans most foreboding moments on "Atheistic God." Phenomenal are the foreboding slomo hymns such as "Your Warning" and "Sunless Waters", or monumental heavy tracks like "Cursed Name," that leaves little doubt of the coming man-made apocalypse of which the concept of the album is based. The tracks cut deeply into the subconscious and reverberates in the psyche of the listener. The intense compositions reach a frightening and nightmarish noveau that do not only rely on Judgehydrogen's deep and sinister voice. The nightmarish atmosphere of these tracks leaves little room for optimism. You can experience this masterwork at his website- http://www.judgehydrogen.com
9 out of 10 - MK
"Revolutionary Suicide" Review in Fireworks Magazine
Boarding on the line of eccentric and weird is 'Revolutionary Suicide' the bizarre but breathtakingly hugely enjoyable new nine track album from Madison based soundscaper Judge Hydrogen . This album has all the fundamentals I like about this style of music that strikes that chord with me for its rich diversity, fun energy and passion.
A lot of care and attention has gone into the creation of the album, especially with the crisp production and eye-catching artwork. 'Revolutionary Suicide' is space aged stuff, full of electronic progressions, ambient themes, haunting themes, Gregorian chants, almost of soundtrack nature, its progressive and it's something you need to live with for a while to enjoy, a quick spin and you just won't get it, although I'm unsure if there is something to get.
'To Swear Allegiance' is a deep, melodic, spacious, spooky simple theme of mood and energy. 'In These Hands' is softer with gentle acoustic guitars, there are vocals on this track that make one think of Frank Zappa. But listen closer and there is a slight moody feel to the vocals and they come over like Zappa crossed with James Hetfield. There is almost a ritual feel to this track, quite new age and interesting. 'The Sound of Life (Tearing Itself Apart)' is another track that could be soundtrack music meets Gregorian influences, again ambient and progressive with lots of electronic themes. An interesting track that needs repeated plays to appreciate, towards the end it gets quite freaky almost as if the vocal phrasing is trying to brainwash you, ha, maybe it worked, lol :)
There is so much to enjoy from this album, it's not something I would sit down every day and listen to, but it is something that takes your mind away from everyday agro and an album you can get lost in, it's not for everyone, but there is something unique if not strange and appealing about this album. Watch out for Judge Hydrogen, I feel he should concentrate on motion picture composing or put his efforts into a fully fledge progressive rock band, the talent is there.
A review of “Cult of Blood” in Schwarze-News by Johannes 8.5 out of 10
Original link in German:
There is a lot of sombre ambient music. But the truly distressing pearls of this genre are hidden wasting away in the abyss of the human mind. And thus Judgehydrogen (Wisconsin USA) hammer and saw - with some guitar support, sometimes minimalistic and Ambient/Gothic.
You can hear the sirens beckon you in the first track "Cult of Blood." It is a chilling mixture of monotonous keyboard/synths, vocals and whispers, interrupted by yelling and occasional screaming voices.
Now the storm intensifies and pummels the listener with "The Road (This Night they Walk)." The furious voice and guitar work together quite well. This bizarre song in particular creates an unbelievable atmosphere and climax.
After the short intermission "Prostrate," "Our Pursuit of Bliss" follows with a similar style as "The Road." It is an even stranger track, but more ferocious and distressing. It is an apathetic sound mix which wears down the mind.
After these ferocious tracks follows the atmospheric and minimalistic chorale "Our Shining Plague." At times it seems shapeless certain nuances give it form and lead you through the song. The vocals precipitate very quietly and strongly. The song - just like the whole cd from time to time - reminds a little of Nick Cave's first album "From Her to Eternity."
In "Silent Crypt" the tempo increases a little, but the Nick Cave like atmosphere remains in this "close season."
"Precipice" might begin quietly but the whisper combined with light acoustic guitar crawls slowly into your mind. It is a really consistent but unconventional work. To embed an acoustic guitar in the background was just the right decision.
"Around Your Throat" and "Cruel by Just" completes the atmosphere by tempo increase and the application of an E guitar.
"Of Lepers and Prophets" is the archetypal 15 minutes long end piece. It holds a wide spectrum of sounds and moods until it runs out slowly with epic organ tones and vocal samples and carefully leads us intoinsanity.
To Summerize: Judgehydrogen creates incredibly thick atmospheres full of weird antipathy and occasional beauty. Always unconventional and willfull this album remains loyal to his vision and won't be liked by everyone. You should take the time to listen and let the music work on you. 8.5 out of 10 Johannes
"Cult of Blood" Review in Inwë Metal Magazine (translated from French)
Line up: Judgehydrogen - song and instruments
Judgehydrogen is a one man band originating in Madison Wisconsin (the USA) that formed in 2006. His first album is called “Atheistic God.” In 2008 he released “Cult of Blood”- this is the one I will speak to you about. First thing: The artwork. This is already a good point for him. I adore this type of pocket: Simple, dark and in total harmony with the music. The interior of this digipak is also extremely well designed with a photograph of our artist worked into the composition.
And now let us talk about the music. After my first listen, I wondered how to approach this epic. I choose not to detail each song separately-not because I am lazy-but quite simply because that is impossible! If one disassociates from each other, I think it would loose intensity and one would not perceive the totality of the vision expressed by this man. But this “Cult of Blood” is in which style? That is a good question! Ithas a lot of doom. The tempo is slow, throbbing but chaotic at the same time, moving in many directions, but with this feeling of perpetual control on us.
The dark ambient element plays an important role with unique soundscapes that one would find in Blood Axis or Jewels Of the Princess, whichreinforces the atmosphere of doom already extremely well carried out. Then, there are moments when one confronts total darkness-and that is when the
madness seizes the music and the feeling of control one had disappears. The synth which lasts the entire album is throbbing, and has a unique sound which helps create the fabulous setting of this music. It foreshadows a fine
tragedy which will soon arrive and gives a force to the music one seldom finds in
groups of pure doom.
The voice, or should I rather say voices, are all fabulous stylistically. Sometimes spell-binding, sometimes extreme, and you cannot stop listening. The female vocals are sometimes clear which adds a little softness and hope in this chaotic universe. At some moments it is darker and non-yelling and other times it makes me think of Aldrahn. Judgehydrogen is undoubtedly one of the best current singers to my taste!
In conclusion, Judgehydrogen and his “Cult of Blood” manages
to create a new style of music which penetrates the depths of the heart and soul with no return. 8.5/10
"Cult of Blood" Review in StonerRock.com
“Doom” does not necessarily mean “metal” - after all, myMerriam-Webster’s 11th Collegiate Dictionary proffers the tertiary usage of its noun form as “a: DESTINEY; especially: unhappy destiny b: DEATH, RUIN.” Madison, Wisconsin’s one-man doom ensemble Judeghydrogen purveys dark industrial dirges that has more in common with Coil’s Musick to Play in the Dark, Vol. 1-2, than ‘Sabbath’s Paranoid. Granted, the melodic guitar work and primal drums on the group’s second album, Cult of Blood, provide a head bobbing buoy, but the prominence of keyboards and black mass bellowing vocals make it clear Judgehydrogen’s vision of doom is eerie soundscapes and morbid incantations. The vocalist has a great pseudo-golem voice (see “Our Pursuit of Bliss”), although Cult of Blood primarily relies on his low end (see everywhere else, especially “Cult of Blood” and “Around Your Throat”). The accompanying music is less nuanced and creepy than Gnaw Their Tongues, which draws attention to the fact the word “blood” isprobably repeated over 100 times over the course of the album. Bloody hell.
Review by Nick DeMarino (StonerRock.com)
Interview with ZombieInfo.com by The Zombie King
Yeah…I KNOW that a Musician IS an artist… but trust me when I say that this guy is both… Here are the particulars, and fuck all that bullshit bio stuff- in his own words:
“It is my obligation as an artist to capture visually life tearing itself apart. My work focuses upon apocalyptic myths. These myths shape our conscious and subconscious minds and provoke great conflict. The conflict that arises from these myths is one between outdated cosmologies and technology. Is our survival possible if our belief systems are based upon ancient myths and we posses volatile technologies that could easily annihilate all life on Earth? Humanities nature is in contention with technology. Our capacity to adapt, our independence, and survival is threatened by the contradictions engendered by these myths. If we are to change our “path,” it is evident that we must abandon these myths and create a new vision of ourselves and our role in nature.”-JUDGEHYDROGEN 2009
Now THAT is some heavy shit… I first became aware of the Judge’s work at Gen Con… I was walking past the art show looking at all of the artists’ work, when I saw the digital chaos that is the reality of Judge Hydrogen’s work. Needless to say, I was blown away. I got a chance to chat a bit with him, and tell him about my site here and offered up an interview- that was… August. (Yeah, I’m a speedy motherfucker) and now here we are! Ladies and Gents- welcome to the site Judge Hydrogen!
ZK: Heya, welcome and all that crap- so let’s get right to it… why digital? Or is that just one of the mediums you work in?
JH: First I would like to thank you Zombie King for taking the time to interview me. I am pleased. Yes I work exclusively in the digital medium. It is infinitely malleable like the human mind. I am focused upon creating images that capture sublime moments of horror that dominate the current human consciousness. I do not always revel or take pride in my grim creations but I see them as essential. Is it not the artists’ duty to raise the mirror so we can gaze upon our horrific reflection?
ZK: Well whatever the fuck it is, I dig it… You also make music, so tell us a bit about that.
JH: Musick is very important to me. I find great inspiration from My Dying Bride, The Swans, and Coil . I greatly admire doom, dark ambient, gothic, and industrial genres. My musick incorporates many of these influences. The emotions I feel and create in my musick is very much like my art. I see a human made apocalypse. Many believe in some sort of biblical end times. I see that as pure folly. Our fate is in our hands. No supernatural being/s can save us. All we have is this earth and nothing more.
ZK: Now, it looks like you seem to build on a ‘layer approach’ when you make a piece of art- is that intentional when you start and see where it goes, or do you have an idea of the finished piece when you begin?
JH: Often times I have an idea/concept for the basic composition. For example, in the “Death of Life” I knew I wanted a hand behind a skull with an industrial smoke stack. Later, I realized a placenta hanging beneath would deepen the theme and enhance the composition. After that I superimposed an execution over the placenta for good measure.
ZK: What influences your work? Are there other artists you find yourself drawn to?
JH: I have been greatly inspired by HR Giger, Francis Bacon, and Edvard Munch. I was very much taken by Giger’s alien landscapes and original style. There was nothing like it before…almost beyond human consciousness. In many of Francis Bacon’s works I see images that transcend terror. The profound horror cannot be described accurately with words. A violence beyond violence. I see great loneliness and despair in Munch’s haunting masterpieces. He was the lone man that could not find peace with himself or with others. I am also much interested in the films of David Lynch. I was very much impressed with Mulholland Drive and Lost Highway. His films are very much like an abstract painting. The further you step away from it the less certain you know what you’re looking at.
ZK: The standard question around here, no matter HOW out of context (although I’d LOVE to see a digital zombie…) – Fast or Slow Zombies? And why?
JH: Once I had a dream that I awoke in a deserted home. It was ruined beyond repair. I was alone and searching for signs of life. This was a forlorn and dilapidated building. I heard something stirring in another room. I began walking towards this sound and great ferocity tore through the door. It was an undead behemoth that moved swiftly with great hunger. Let me ask you…does this not inspire great terror? There is also a certain creepiness with slow moving zombies…gradually hunting you down like time. I am pleased with how “The Walking Dead” series combines both elements…fast and slow zombies. Yes I could create a digital zombie. That is an excellent idea my friend!
(Yeah it is…and I damn well BETTER get the exclusive on it!!!! – ZK)
ZK: With all the work it takes in creating, do you find it difficult to dedicate time to either music or art… or do you only do it as you are inspired to?
JH: I don’t find it difficult creating both art and musick. I find promoting both can be more than enough to keep one busy for an indefinite amount of time. After working on a music project I’ll begin working on a visual composition and visa versa.
ZK: What’s on the horizon for you, and where can we get your stuff?
JH: My visual and musical abominations can be found at http://judgehydrogen.com For 2011 I am releasing a new album, going on tour (either east or west coasts), selling art at cons, and exhibiting my artwork.
Thank you for taking the time out to chat to us… you are a deeply disturbed individual…