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The Unjust > Hammerhead > Reviews > The_Boss
The Unjust - Hammerhead

Total Old School - 90%

The_Boss, May 21st, 2009

I think it's safe to say that a lot of the history and information about New York speed/thrash band The Unjust is fairly unknown. They apparently appeared on a few random compilations that had to do with the label or something along those lines, either way, they released their only full length album through Big City Records in 1987 featuring a nice display of speed induced thrash metal. Hammerhead is a blitzkrieg attack on the senses with ear piercing falsettos, rumbling bass on both ends as well as the expected riff-mania.

Kickstarting the album with a full on shred fest that is Burn in Hell, The Unjust leave no table upright without missing a beat. Everything comes into full attack here showing they are not joking. Rumbling double bass mixed with vocalist Bruce Ruiz's insane vocal attack allows you to sink in a traditional feel to the style, with a lot of classic metal influence. Ruiz employs a nice mix of King Diamond style shrieks and overall piercing wails and sort of a low gruff growl, going back and forth with ease, although the clean parts are more appealing it seems. One guitarist is featured on this album, which blows my mind because this is all over the place. The traditional Iron Maiden melodies meet the speed induced onslaught of early bands like Exciter and the like, with thrashy riffs on top. Innocent Victims shows this style perfectly summing up the album with 4 minutes of shredding victory. The riffs are tight, the solos are straight up Iron Maiden meets Kill 'Em All, with plenty of melody thrown in, I fucking love it. Sometimes it's like they have a style on their own, that's hard to compare wither other bands, but it's safe to say there is a lot of tradtional influence to be found.

Hammerhead is a really short album, but definitely not to be missed. This is a thrasher's wet dream, the leads are fucking insane! It's amazing how this single guitarist, Chris Bernardo has apparently taken on all guitar duties and shred his way to notoriety (well, lack thereof technically). He has a real Diamond Head influence on his lead work it seems, with plenty of melody thrown in that makes this a real winner. The title track blitzes off once again with nonstop lead work and showing the listener again that SPEED is the name of the game, with a heavy bass thrown in providing some powerful rhythmic work; the opening of Ivan's Revenge is pretty cool as well.

I don't understand sometimes how there were so many bands flooding the scene, with a lot of bands gaining a shit ton of fame while there were some out there that were just as good, or even better in some cases, that didn't rise as they should have. I guess timing, location and overall direct contact played a big factor, but I can't imagine The Unjust not being loved in the underground community, even with their single full length they have proven they have what it takes and every thrasher out there should check this out for some thrashing fun. There is little here I can imagine a thrasher not enjoying, although I guess therein lies the problem. This is straight up speed induced thrash, with a direct and heavy "old school" feel, which goes for a direct audience. Even with a few punky moments like in the opening to Where Have I Been, or the gruffer lows Ruiz takes on behind the mic, I can still imagine this appealing to most fans of the genre. Otherwise, it's quite unjust that they didn't get the fame they deserved (lol lame joke).