JESU — Jesu (review)

JESU — Jesu album cover Album · 2005 · Drone Metal Buy this album from MMA partners
4/5 ·
siLLy puPPy
JESU is the creation of Justin Broadrick who needed a new project after the breakup of Godflesh. While on the debut EP “Heart Ache” it was a one man show, on this eponymous debut album he created a post-metal power trio by inviting bassist Diarmuid Darmuid (Cable Regime, Final, Iroha, Greymachine, Council Estate Electronics) and drummer Ted Parsons (Swans, Prong, Buckethead, Legendary Pink Dots, Killing Joke) to join the feedback and fuzz distortion party. The band adds extra bassists and drummers for touring to fill the thicker than reality sound spectrums heard on their studio albums where they achieve atmospheres that i never dreamed possible.

JESU creates an interesting hybrid of various strains of post-rock and industrial metal rhythms wrapped up in a sludgy drone feedback fuzz that more often than not bleeds into harsh shoegaze. While the first track “Your Path To Divinity” sounds like the drone metal band Earth meets Mogwai song structures, on the second track “Friends Are Evil” we hear a total change of sound bringing the industrial metal Godflesh ties to the forefront. This track is even more distorted and has interesting intermittent guitar squeals. The third track “Tired Of Me” takes another completely new sound altogether beginning with an ethereal and detached Sigur Ros type of sound. It moves on to a slow distorted march with Broadrick belting out his buried depressive lyrics from the suffocating din.

The beautiful thing about this album is how diverse the rhythms and melodies are despite the tones, timbres and distortion being fairly uniform. Post-rock and industrial doom metal trade places while a steady brutally dissonant melody is usually keeping the echoes and grungy noise in its proper boundaries. The vocals tend to be of the same style but there is a surprise on “Man / Woman“ where they are more of a Neurosis type death metal growl. The tracks are quite lengthy with the shortest around the seven minute mark but somehow it all unfolds in a rather satisfying manner. Actually i feel like i hear some Kayo Dot influence on here as well especially from “Dowsing Anemone With Copper Tongue” album where power chords pummel the senses. The only difference is the dissonance and prog time sigs aren’t as prominent.

While the distortion reminds me a lot of the drone metal Earth meets the sludge metal of Boris, JESU manage to incorporate enough variety throughout the 74:30 long album to keep me happy. The production is noisy as hell but professionally done as to eke out every possible note and rhythmic dynamism. This album has a hellish doomy feel like few others and seems only to get better as it progresses towards the final tracks. This is my first encounter with JESU but after discovering this excellent debut release, it certainly won’t be my last. Don’t let the post-rock packaging fool you. This is full-fledged shoegazy atmospheric post sludge metal all the way.
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