Album Review: Rough Justice - Faith in Vain
Reviewed by Liam True
Since their debut EP in 2019 Rough Justice have been one of the standout bands in the UK underground hardcore scene. Fast forward to 2024, they’re releasing their debut album, Faith In Vain, and through future tour mates Malevolence’s record label MLVLTD nonetheless.
As you’d expect from the Sheffield quintet, the album is full of chest beating rhythms and chunky guitar riffs that you’d find only from the north of England. The guitar tone through the album does sound more like Malevolence than you’d perhaps like, but, seeing as they’re on their label, share Josh Baines (albeit he’s behind the kit with RJ) and were the first band other than Malevolence to record in their DIY studio, it makes sense as the energy and power through the album only takes small chunks of Malev. But this helps shape their own sound bigger and rougher than their EP.
The usual hardcore beatdowns are throughout the album. Coward starting with a chuggy riff that evolves into a hardcore kids dream with vocalist Jimmy’s rough-around-the-edges vocals cutting deep through the snare tone of drummer Baines. The title-track takes somewhat of a wild turn through the wilderness with the inclusion of a Creed-like chorus in the middle which takes everything you expected off the table. It doesn’t happen again on the album which is a shame as it showcases that even with their metallic hardcore might Rough Justice can show a mild melodic side betwixt the sharpness. After this turn you go back to the usual in-your-face aggression, save with a few soft intros and the two-minute-long interlude Rusting which could have cut to half of that time.
In just 24 minutes, Rough Justice have shown that they’re a force to not be taken lightly. Extrapolating what bands before them have presented, flipping it and adding both melody and aggression makes Faith In Vain shine through the current scene and puts them in the running for the head of the table.