The truth needs to be said. The self-titled Jesu record was an almost masterpiece that topped many critics' and fans' top records lists last year (and was the #1 album of the year here at Scene Point Blank). So, Justin Broadrick (known for being the mastermind behind Godflesh and also for his part in early Napalm Death) and company have quite a task to top or match the quality of that record with this their latest EP. It would be a bit futile to describe this group or band. Believe me, I have been trying and all I've come up with is relating them to a similar ilk, a la Isis (which is a poor comparison at best). However, with Silver, Broadrick brings the Jesu outfit closer to his other musical endeavor, Final, by pushing the electronics even more to the forefront of several of these musical pieces.
The marked evolution of Jesu with Silver comes in waves of the part ambient, part drone, almost shoe gazing metal that, so far, people have come to expect in the relatively short lifespan of the band. The title track is a monster of a song. I have never heard a louder, quiet song and it is easily my favorite Jesu track to date. The beginning of the song lends an air of grandiosity that many bands only wish that they could muster as it builds in a rapidly expanding movement of cascading sound and synthesizers. The mood that the song evokes is one of a kind of welcomed melancholy set in front of a backdrop of stark desolation. It is brilliant. "Star" is rather up tempo for the band. It definitely reminds me of a twisted pop song due to the rather different sound employed in the vocal arrangement by Broadrick. The use of the drum machine allows the percussion to remain in the background at times. It is actually a type of piece that is a departure of sorts from the expected material that Jesu has brought to the table thus far. I actually was interested most in how the song ends. It is very quiet as the instrumentation slowly drops away to leave the vocals with their echoes and then just the echoes of the vocals and instruments.
"Wolves" brings the listener back to the slower tempo of "Silver". It has an oddly comforting sound quality. The vocal arrangement is very reserved in contrast to that of the preceding track, "Star", but, like that song, is more of a focus of the song when it is present. "Dead Eyes" is a heavily electronics oriented song. It was shocking to hear the first time and did a double take due to the similar feel to the Nine Inch Nails song "Hurt", just without vocals. There is a bunch of interesting flourishes that dot the landscape of this track. These seem to take the place of the vocals for the song. It has a definite narrative motif in the progression of the piece and seems to end the EP appropriately enough.
Overall, Silver leaves me feeling conflicted. On one hand, I wonder why Broadrick would move Jesu closer in mood and musical timbre to Final. On the other hand, "Silver" is an amazing song. If that were the only song offered here, I would be most tempted to bestow a rating of 10 to the record. I think that the EP as a whole lacks some of the cohesion that the self-titled record had. "Star" and "Wolves" were interesting offerings that were excellent in different ways and definitely expanded on what Jesu has done previously. Still, it is a great EP that wets the appetite for their next full-length.
8.8 / 10
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Ah Justin Broadrick how you torture my twisted mind with your teasing Jesu EPs and side projects and reunions and remixes (dear lord does this man make a ton of ...
Posted Oct. 4, 2014, 8:50 a.m.
Hydra Head Records is set to release 3 reissues on Oct. 7, an LP of Jesu's Conqueror and cassettes of both A World Lit Only By Fire and Decline ...
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