December 23, 2022

Grim Justice have been rocking hard and heavy since 2010. Inspired by the good old 80’s Heavy Metal and 70’s Hard Rock legends, Grim Justice’s songs tell about the unmerciful justice that everyone gets to know at least once in a lifetime. The talented musicians based in Vienna, Austria add a clear individual note to classic and dark Heavy Metal elements.

They stand out from the crowd courtesy of strong vocals by front woman Michela who delivers a heavy and soulful vibe reminiscent of Doro and Crystal Viper’s Marta Gabriel. Add that voice to some strongly infectious tracks and suitably meaty guitar riffs a la Saxon or Iron Maiden, and you get the general picture! Grim Justice released their first eponymous studio album in 2015, following it up with a steady workload of gigging around Europe. They recorded their second album The Return of the Flame in May 2018. In 2022 they came back with a new single and videoclip, and developed this new third album Justice In The Night. More live performances over the last couple of years have seen them supporting a number of big bands, such as Gus G (Firewind, previously Ozzie Osbourne), Raven (UK), Omen (US) and Edenbridge (AT)

Grim Justice are:
Vocals & Guitar: Michela Vignoli
Lead Guitar: Thomas Strohmayer
Bass Guitar, Backvocals: Gernot Schwarz
Drums: Ernst Gumprecht

The band are particularly proud of this new self-published studio album. Justice in the Night features brand new songs such as the recently released single Curse of the Moon written by front-woman Michela, as well as songs from their founding period. Like their previous releases, Justice in the Night features mid-paced hard and heavy metal songs combined with Michela’s powerful vocals.

The album is a very passionate and personal production, recorded after a challenging period for almost all the members of the band. The opening title track is a fast-paced track composed by lead guitarist Thomas, it’s the Austrian musicians’ view of the more abusive and toxic individuals in today’s society who think nothing of walking over corpses to indulge their greed and privileges. Curiously, I find it one of the weaker tracks in this collection, it’s a bit too derivative and Michela sounds a bit stretched vocally at times. Her song Curse Of The Moon is much better, it builds satisfyingly and the riffs are stronger, with some very tasty twin-lead work thrown in for good measure. Michela sounds like a hyped-up Pat Benatar!

I’m beginning to suspect there’s a fairly dark overall theme to this album – the next song (This) Dark Soul (of Mine), strongly inspired by Iron Maiden, sees frontwoman Michela processing her coming to terms with depression. A tasteful, gentle intro lurches ever-so-slightly uncomfortably into the riff-fest that is Grim Justice’s signature style before dropping back again to a quite lovely semi-acoustic balladic section – before crashing back into the heavyweight stuff again. It is slightly odd, it’s as though there are two songs fighting each other to be in the ascendancy here, it’s a good song but I’m not completely convinced about the change-overpoints?

House In the Shadows is just classic 80’s NWOTHM twin guitar rock, Michela’s high-pitched vocals suddenly give me this sense of listening to Iron Maiden but fronted by Rush’s Geddy Lee’s voice! Next up is Terminus III, again featuring some luscious semi-acoustic work as an intro….I’m anticipating a head-on train crash of a riff to hit me but it’s more organic than that, building more gradually, Michela’s vocals more restrained and all the better for it. Almost reminds me of classic Wishbone Ash, does this, it’s that good!

Hey Angel continues in the same vein of Pat Benatar-style hard rock ballad, powerful stuff indeed backed up with taut percussion. I’ve not seen the lyrics but I think it continues the theme of nocturnal encounters of various sorts, some appropriately dark chord progressions! The last new track When Night Falls is a more familiar mid-paced rock number – I say “new” because it was actually the very first song that Thomas and Michela wrote together back in 2011, and only now sees the (dark) light of…night! Slightly plodding 70’s-style riff, but a lovely bit of wah-wah! – and some lovely solos towards the end. A new edition of their hit-song “Argus” is included as a bonus track, again the signature Saxon-esque riffing plus twin leads. Michela in full control on this one, again more than a hint of Benatar, and what’s wrong with that!

Justice in the Night is out now, exclusively in digital format, on Bandcamp and on all major streaming platforms. All songs were composed, performed and recorded by Grim Justice in Vienna, Austria, then mixed and mastered by Daniel Retzl, Big Field Studio, Vienna, Austria. The band thanks Claudia Schweinzer who allowed them to use the fabulous background image and her skull painting for the album cover artwork!

All in all, a thoroughly enjoyable NWOTHM album, lots of references back to the glory days of the 70’s and 80’s, lots of great twin guitars, and a really good band sound altogether! Michela sounds best when she reminds me of Pat Benatar, without the higher-pitched elements, but I appreciate she’s a full-on singer and All Power to her for that – enjoy!