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Set a fire, lock the door.
We are together to burn forever more.
Feel the flames swell, kiss your feet.
We're bound together to writhe forever more.
"When Crowns are Shattered"
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Judicator is an American Power Metal / Speed Metal band in the vein of Blind Guardian with lyrics focusing on important historical figures and literary works. Their first album, King of Rome, follows the events of Napoléon Bonaparte in his 100 days campaign, leading up to the climatic Battle of Waterloo. Their second album, Sleepy Plessow, incorporates elements of Progressive Metal, and focuses on Prussia and the life of Frederick the Great. The band was started as a collaboration between vocalist John Yelland and guitarist/instrumentalist/backing vocalist Tony C after they met at a Blind Guardian concert in 2010. Both musicians are involved in a variety of other bands and projects. In 2014, the band announced that they were going to be adding four new musicians to the group. A bassist, drummer, keyboardist and a second guitarist. They also announced an indigogo campaign to fund their new album. As of 2020, Alicia Cordisco left the band to focus on Project: Roenwolfe and transitioned the following year, but is still very good friends with the rest of them.

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Discography

  • King of Rome (Full Length, 2012)
  • Heroes and Villains (Single, 2012)
  • Wenn Kronen Zerschmettert Sind (Single, 2013)
  • Sleepy Plessow (Full Length, 2013)
  • At the Expense of Humanity (Full Length, 2014)
  • The Last Emperor (2018)
  • Let There Be Nothing (2020)
  • The Majesty of Decay (2022)

Band Members

  • John Yelland (Disforia, Ex-Shadowseer) - Vocals/Lyrics
  • Balmore Lemus - Guitars
  • Jordan Elcess - Drums
  • John Dolan - Bass

Guest Musicians

  • Bryan Edwards (Ex-Seven Kingdoms, Vermiform) - Death/Clean Vocals
  • Patrick Parris (Ex-Theocracy, Lascaille's Shroud, Project: Roenwolfe) - Vocals
  • Chad Anderson (Disforia, Dead Revelator) - Death Vocals, Drum Programming
  • Austin Bentley (Disforia) - Vocals
  • Alex Hinerman (Koala Combat) - Vocals
  • Paul Black (Turned to Stone) - Vocals
  • Elizabeth Hall - Vocals
  • Tyler Sherill (Steamforged, Lascaille's Shroud) - Keyboards
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Tropes relating to the band and music:

  • Affectionate Nickname: Judy, Judge Judycator.
  • Animal Motifs: Both albums include many references to the fox and the lion.
  • Badass Boast: Napoléon Bonaparte declares "If you would kill your Emperor, then shoot him now for here I am" in the song "Rising Again" at which point his troops swear loyalty to him with cries of "Vive L'empereur" instead of arresting him.
  • Badass Bookworm: Frederick the Great in general. Explicitly touched on in "The Philosopher King".
  • Big "NO!": Several in the chorus of "Memory of Shame".
    • Used repeatedly throughout "Blut vom Himmel".
  • Bilingual Bonus: Many of their lyrics are in French or German, providing added context to the story if you know what they mean.
    • For a humorous example, the song "Tu N'es Pas Mort, Coquin?" translates to "Are you not dead yet, sexy?" and the song is about Sir Frederick Ponsonby being impaled by a lance.
  • Book Ends: Sleepy Plessow begins and ends with the same acoustic guitar piece.
    • The first and last tracks on King of Rome both make reference to Prometheus at key points.
    • "Heroes and Villains" covers many different works of fiction but starts and ends with Beowulf.
  • Concept Album: King of Rome is about Napoleon Bonaparte's 100 days campaign.
  • Cover Version: Tommyknockers.
  • Deal with the Devil: Doctor Faustus in "Heroes and Villains".
  • Death of a Child: Mentioned in "Thirty Years of Terror"
    Children stripped of their clothes and left to die of exposure. * Despair Event Horizon: Reached by Frederick the Great in the song "Sapphire" when his father has his best friend, Hans Hermann von Katte, executed right in front of him.
  • The Dragon: Marshall Ney is this to Napoléon Bonaparte in King of Rome.
  • Downer Ending: King of Rome ends with the song "Elan" which details Napoleon's defeat at the Battle of Waterloo and return to exile.
  • The Exile: Napoléon Bonaparte in King of Rome... twice!
  • Epic Rocking: "Elan" "Heroes and Villains" and "Blut vom Himmel" all push the 12 minute mark.
  • Final Battle: The Battle of Waterloo in King of Rome where Napoléon Bonaparte suffers his final defeat.
  • Follow in My Footsteps: For both Napoleon and his son in the Title Track of King of Rome.

    I was a slave to what my family forged.
    Thoughts of my son, I will not fail him now.
    I'll pass the light, give him all the might.
    He'll be the, the King of Rome.
    • What Frederick the Great's father wants for him.
  • A Good Way to Die: Frederick the Great in "Sans Souci".
    I smile to myself and think of all I've done.
    This is a death which I can live with.
    I rest my weary head and sleep.
  • Harsh Vocals: Used frequently by guest vocalists as both lead and backing parts. Used occasionally by Alicia during her time in the band.
  • Hero Antagonist: The Duke of Wellington in King of Rome. Given a Sympathetic P.O.V. in "Backs Against the Wall" and "The Iron Duke".
  • Horrible History Metal: Pretty much the M.O. of this band.
  • I Am Not My Father: Continually touched on in Frederick the Great's story arc in Sleepy Plessow.
  • "I Am" Song: "When Crowns Are Shattered"
    I am the guardian to the Prussian claim of life!
  • Lonely Piano Piece: The middle section of "Elan" comes to a lone piano piece at a point in the song where Napoleon is alone, injured, and retreating.
  • Metal Scream: You can bet when a song reaches its climax, John Yelland will top it off with one of these.
  • Non-Appearing Title: "Heroes and Villains" "Release Me" "Sans Souci" and "The Iron Duke"
  • Oh, Crap!: In "Blut vom Himmel" when the Prussians are overwhelmed by a greatly superior enemy force coming over the hill.
    You see the masses, don't lose your mind. We have to flee into the fray.
  • Power Ballad: "The Iron Duke" "Sapphire" and "Sea of Fire"
  • Power Metal: Of the speedier/thrashier variety on King of Rome, and much more traditional/melodic on Sleepy Plessow.
  • Pyrrhic Victory: How The Duke of Wellington views his victory over Napoleon in "The Iron Duke".
    All that I've left behind
    All that I've sacrificed

    Never I'll fight again

    Blood is too high a price


  • Self-Backing Vocalist: John Yelland takes this trope up to eleven on a regular basis throughout Sleepy Plessow.
  • Seven Years' War: The subject of "Blut Vom Himmel".
    Seven years we've fought and failed to win.
    And seven more will come to pass if you don't learn to yield.
  • Shout-Out: The album cover of King of Rome, as well as the chorus lyrics of "The Iron Duke", are a shout out to Colorado Power Metal band Vacant Throne.
    Staring at Vacant Thrones of my kin.
    Let's let slip the dogs of war!
  • Sliding Scale of Idealism vs. Cynicism: Somewhat rare for power metal, they can lean heavily towards the cynical side, often taking it up to eleven to drive home the ever-present War Is Hell theme.
    But in this world of abuse and decay, nobody is innocent anyway.
    • However, sometimes a little hope shines through and the scale slides back the other way. Sleepy Plessow in particular ends on a rather accomplished/proud/positive note after all the horrors Frederick the Great goes through in the story.
    Despite waves of sorrow, one must hold onto life.
    In war and times of hunger, you must hold onto them.
  • Song of Song Titles: "Sea of Fire" mentions "Journey Through the Dark" by Blind Guardian.
  • Soprano and Gravel: Many guest vocalists use Black Metal and Death Metal vocals in tandem with John Yelland's tenor and falsetto vocals. Additionally, Alicia will occasionally use Thrash Metal vocals.
  • Spoken Word in Music: Used in "The Elector" "Thirty Years of Terror" "Wenn Kronen zerschmettert sind" "When Crowns are Shattered" "Gedenkstätte" and frequently in "Heroes and Villains".
  • Thirty Years' War: The subject of "Thirty Years of Terror" and touched on in "Memory of Shame".
  • War Is Hell: A common theme in most of the songs. "Blut vom Himmel" and "Sea of Fire" particularly explore this in context of the Seven Years' War.
  • Workaholic: Both Alicia and John. Alicia was in at least four other active bands/projects at one point (though Project: Roenwolfe is her only current one), John is also the frontman of Disforia, both regularly do guest and producer work for other bands, and both help run an indie management/label company, in addition to their day jobs. Judicator itself puts out releases fairly often, their first two full length albums only being separated by about seven months. They like to stay busy.
  • The X of Y: "Into the Sea of Bayonets" "King of Rome" "Thirty Years of Terror" "Memory of Shame" and "Sea of Fire"
  • You Shall Not Pass!: "Elan"
    

Il ne passeront pas, we shall never yield!
    • In "Blut vom Himmel" the lyrics reference an instance from the Seven Years' War where Frederick the Great threw his sword into the ground and declared none would pass that point even if it meant his death.
    I plunge my sword into the ground and make a stand. Even if I die, I'll fight alone.

"I REST MY WEARY HEAD AND SLEEEEEEEEEEEEP!"
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