• 7.1/10
    FREAKS AND CLOWNS - Justice Elite - 7.1/10


Release date: October 16, 2020

User Review
6.5/10 (1 vote)

Justice Elite is the second album from Sweden’s Freaks And Clowns, the follow up to their self-titled 2019 debut. Formed by in 2017 Astral Doors skinsman Johan Lindstedt and vocalist Chrille Whalgren, the pair recruited two more members from Astral Doors, Mats Gesar on guitar and bassist Ulf Lagerström, as well as Chainwreck guitarist Mathias Henrysson to round out the necessary components for their heavy Classic Metal sound. Chrille is a belter in the Brian Johnson/Udo mode, and his raspy scream delivery is well supported by the veteran band, who favor a solid, restrained style of playing free from the gaudy flash of much modern Metal on the dozen songs comprising Justice Elite.

Freaks And Clowns are gunning for big anthems, songs intended for crowds to roar back at them from the pits and the cheap seats; this is obvious from the number of songs that feature a first person plural as the point of view of the narration, rather than the more typical first, second, or third person singular lyrical structures found in the majority of narrative Metal. By using “We” to relate the stories, the singer implicitly attempts to forge a bond of solidarity with the audience by singing with a shared voice. It’s the difference between Queen’s “We Will Rock You” and say AC/DC’s “Back In Black”; the first invites the listener to join forces with the band to become part of the “We” that rocks everyone, while “Back In Black” is a more personal story that invites the listener to experience being back in black via a sense of catharsis.

Nearly half of the songs on Justice Elite employ the third person plural: “Justice Elite”,”Welcome To The Freakshow”, “Guardian Angels”, All For One”, and killer cut “Flames of Fury”. Freaks and Clowns subliminally must have a strong desire to bond with their audience, because these five are among the strongest cuts on the album. Chrille sounds particularly gleeful on “Welcome To The Freakshow”, a sort of band-statement song following up on “Freaks And Clowns” from the album of the same name.

Solid musicianship and tight song structures are the hallmark of this very dependable album. There are a few slight missteps. The “ooo-aah” background chant in “Man With The Power” comes off as goofy rather than menacing on an otherwise decent song, and Chrille’s voice isn’t especially well suited for the balladic opening cadence on “The End Song”. Minor gear slips in an otherwise well-oiled machine.


  • Daniel Waters

    Daniel was a reviewer here at Metal Express Radio. Iron Maiden’s Piece Of Mind wasn’t the first Metal album he owned, but it was the one that lifted the lid off his soul when he received the record as a gift on his 15th birthday. He's been a Metal fan ever since. He's probably best known as the author of various Young Adult novels such as the Generation Dead series and the ghost story Break My Heart 1,000 Times, now also a major motion picture entitled I Still See You, starring Bella Thorne. Writing and music, especially Heavy Metal music, has always been inextricably linked in his mind and career. His first paid gig doing any type of writing was for Cemetery Dance, where he wrote a horror-themed music column called Dead Beats, and when he was writing the first Generation Dead novel he had a ritual where he started his writing day with a Metal playlist that kicked off with “Crushing Belial” by Shadows Fall.

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