This may seem too obvious to point out, but a lot of metal bands involving classical instruments tend to focus heavily on the neo-classical elements of metal, sawing their way through one arpeggio after another. In recent years, cello-having heavy outfits like Priestbird and SF’s own Giant Squid have employed their bow-wranglers in a more atmospheric manner, capitalizing on the instrument’s distinctive timbre and the unexpected texture it provides in rock music. Oakland instrumental trio Judgment Day combine these two tendencies–brothers Anton and Lewis Patzner have arpeggio chops to spare on violin and cello, respectively, but they leaven the shredding with canny riff arrangements and an arsenal of face-melting pedal effects. The end result is a distinctly progressive, experimental take on the guitar-less metal band, taking full advantage of the strengths of the strings while pushing the sound in unexpected directions.

The Patzners are blessed with the rock’n’roll-sibling superpower of effortless interplay, and it’s easy to forget that there are only two melodic instruments at work. They are also prolific composers, keeping the songs interesting and varied to compensate for the lack of vocals. Drummer Jon Bush mostly stays out of the spotlight, though he sports the necessary chops and excels at the unusual task of anchoring a power trio with half a string quartet in it. The sheer weight of many songs comes as a surprise, along with the band’s ability to convincingly borrow the grooves and conventions of extant heavy music styles. Judgment Day are at their best when frantic, distorted riffing gives way to Anton Patzner’s haunting lead lines, before resolving again into the group’s distinctive beeswax thrash.

Sunday’s concert at Bottom of the Hill will mark the debut of the band’s new 7″, Out of the Abyss, to be released on local indie label Third Culture Records. Recorded to tape on a bevy of vintage equipment, the record augments the band’s natural fury with the warm, enveloping quality of reel-to-reel, making the interwoven insanity of the licks all the more potent. The title track shows off the band’s many abilities, moving breezily through an intricate repeating intro, a swirling build, a thunderous mosh moment, a wailing harmony, and a violin solo, before somehow bringing all the elements together at once.  B-side “Etude” is similarly raucous, and fans looking to test themselves against Judgment Day’s maniac musical minds will treasure the “Etude” sheet music thrown in as a bonus.

The band will also embark on a week-long tour to support the record:


Bottom of the Hill
1233 17th st
with Triclops! and The Definite Articles
9 pm / $10 advance, $12 @ the door / All Ages


Club Pow (The Press Club)
2030 P Street
9 pm/ $4 / 21+


The Crepe Place
1134 Soquel Ave.
with The Secret Stolen and Room for a Ghost
9 pm / $8 / All Ages


Bootleg Theater
2220 Beverly Blvd.
with Ninja Academy
10pm / $8 or $10 (under 21) / 18+


5205 E Pacific Coast Hwy
w/Ninja Academy
10 pm / $7 / 18+


Speakeasy Studios
2403 Industry St
w/The Burning of Rome and more
7pm / $5 / All Ages


Nickel City Arcade
1711 Branham Ln
with Mika Miko, Audacity and more
7pm / $10 / All Ages