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Heart Ache / Dethroned

Jesu

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Album Review

This pairing of Justin K. Broadrick's Jesu releases offers an excellent way to look at the evolution of a project. Broadrick was — arguably anyway — the man who brought shoegaze music into doomy, sludgy, turtle-paced metal via the first two 20-minute cuts found here, the long out of print Heart Ache EP. The latter of these tracks begins with a solo acoustic piano, but becomes something wholly other midway through. these tracks offer both malevolence and vulnerability. The four new tracks that make up the Dethroned EP were begun in 2004 but finished in 2010. They offer a heavier, slightly faster metallic crunch that draws on not only shoegaze, but post-punk as well. The best of these cuts, "Annul," pumps out a steady, two-chord power riff that touches on Killing Joke's earliest material. "Aureated Skin" contains flowing melody both in Broadrick's voice and open-tuned chords and plodding, drums that underscore the sheer melancholy that has become Jesu's trademark. The post-metal "I Can Only Disappoint You," uses dissonance and a much more present vocal mix (Broadrick sounds strangely similar to Robert Wyatt here), backwards tape manipulation, undistorted single-string guitar and bass runs, as well as beautifully tempered atmospheric keyboards that suggest melody even when it's not present. What the Dethroned half of this nearly 70-minute set reveals is that Jesu is still breaking new ground. Contrasted with Heart Ache, this new double EP is an excellent introductory portrait of the project, past and present.

Biography

Genre: Rock

Years Active: '00s, '10s

Jesu is another musical project spearheaded by Birmingham-based musician and producer Justin Broadrick — a fixture of England's extreme music scene since his membership in the earliest recording lineup of Napalm Death in the mid-'80s. Also an occasional member of several other bands (Head of David, Techno Animal, etc.), he is probably best known for his decade-plus leadership of pioneering industrial ensemble Godflesh. Finally having officially laid that hallowed institution to rest following...
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Heart Ache / Dethroned, Jesu
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