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Jesu - Lifeline

  by Paul Raven

published: 8 / 11 / 2007

Jesu - Lifeline
Label: Hydrahead
Format: CDS


Blissful and redemptive post rock with a touch of punk-metal and industrialism on new EP from Jesu, the latest project of ex-Napalm Death and Godflesh star Justin Broadrick

For some, Justin Broadrick will require no introduction. Indeed, for those people this review will seem somewhat superfluous – if you're familiar with Broadrick's recent work already, 'Lifeline' is not going to disappoint. But for those of you who don't know the name, Broadrick was an early member of seminal noise-punk-metal band Napalm Death, and the man behind British industrial rock stalwarts Godflesh. As well as numerous side-projects and collaborations, he has acted as producer to bands like Isis and Pelican, and allegedly turned down offers to join Danzig and Faith No More. With a pedigree like that, it's safe to say Broadrick is a man who knows his heavy music. But don't expect Jesu to be a metal band – while Broadrick's history informs the sound of his current project, the emotional content is about as different as possible. The most obvious difference, right from the opening moments of this EP, is the pace; the title track comes in at chill-out room trip-hop tempo, slow and languid, almost soporific, setting the standard for the other three tunes. The more subtle difference is one of texture. Broadrick hasn't turned his back on crushingly heavy guitar tones – in fact, he seems to be refining the use of distortion as texture into an artform in itself – but the way they are being used is worlds away from the fierce nihilism of his earlier projects. What you get instead is a blissful, redemptive and almost transcendent atmosphere, a bath of thick and all-enveloping sound that has bright melody and uplifting chord changes at its core. I'm not the first to compare the 'Lifeline' EP to the work of My Bloody Valentine, but neither will I be the last – few bands have managed to make something so beautiful from something so powerful, an artistic project akin to carving rose petals from a mountain-side. Deep within the oceans of sound, Broadrick's voice calls quietly with an assurance and contentment that is the newest feature of his music – the sound of a man finally at peace with his place in the world, perhaps. The third track, 'Storm Comin' On', features guest vocals from Jarboe, one of the singers from legendary noise-nihilists Swans – a band whose position on the ancestral tree of Jesu's music is plain to see. But yet again, while there is a melancholic cast to the tune the overall effect is one of lift, of ascension. 'Lifeline' looks at the negatives of life and embraces them, accepts them – and in doing so conquers them. The beauty of pop melodies without saccharine falseness or polished production; the vast and captivating soundscapes of guitars processed and effected almost beyond recognition; the endless reaching for personal truths of an artist who uses his work to explore himself and the world at once. If you can find something that 'Lifeline' doesn't have going for it, email me your address ... and I'll come round your house and play it to you incessantly until you get it.

Track Listing:-
1 Lifeline
2 You Wear Their Masks
3 Storm Comin' On
4 End Of The Road

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Conqueror (2007)
Surprisingly mellow and subdued second album from JESU, the project of Justin Broadrick, the former frotnman with Napalm Death and Godflesh

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