There’s really no other way to describe Oakland’s Judgement Day except by their own self-description: string metal. It sounds, well, pretty much the way one would imagine. Loud, fast, and… kind of pretty.
No matter the style of music, if a musician is wielding a violin or a cello—as do Judgement Day’s Anton and Lewis Patzner, respectively—chances are that musician has the chops to back it up. After launching their career on a whim, the brothers have slowly begun to lace their music with hints of their more traditional talents; the Patzners are the offspring of classical musicians, and Lewis holds a performance degree from the Peabody Conservatory in Baltimore. It’s their musical know-how that’s kept their fans fixated and their music moving forward.
Everything about Judgement Day sounds silly on paper, but the band’s live effect is usually the complete opposite. After almost ten years of slaying on strings, the band has found an audience in the Bay Area that’s appreciative, and increasingly fervent. Sometimes their audience is on street corners, and sometimes, as in more recent years, it’s in real, actual clubs and in studios, where either one of or both brothers are often called upon by bands like Los Gatos locals Dredg and, famously, Bright Eyes, to open for them on tour or sub in as session men. Sure, becoming known as string metal masters can’t be too easy, but at least there’s not much competition.
Getting their start playing for change on the streets of Berkeley, Judgement Day has ridden the novelty of thrashing on delicate-sounding instruments about as far as it will go, and are starting to settle into their own distinct sound; they’ve become famous (or possibly infamous) for putting on live shows that blur the line between purely entertaining and awe-inspiring. It sounds weird, but things that sound weird are usually worth seeing performed in person.
Judgement Day performs an in-store show with Seattle punk band Mercy Ties at Streetlight Records on Saturday, April 16.