Jesu - Silver (Cover Artwork)


Jesu: SilverSilver (2006)
Hydra Head Records

Reviewer Rating: 4
User Rating:

Contributed by: AubinAubin
(others by this writer | submit your own)

Listening to the kind of music we do, it could be argued that we have a developed taste for noise; whether it be dissonant vocals, atonal bridges or walls of distortion. More importantly, there is a respect developed for musicians who can shape this noise and chaos into something beautiful. Bands li.

Listening to the kind of music we do, it could be argued that we have a developed taste for noise; whether it be dissonant vocals, atonal bridges or walls of distortion. More importantly, there is a respect developed for musicians who can shape this noise and chaos into something beautiful. Bands like Orchid, Pig Destroyer, Black Flag or Envy capably take noise and channel it into a sound that is both harsh and wonderful, and while everyone can appreciate a good pop hook, the ability to control this sound is truly something special.

The first time I noticed that I had this appreciation for chaos was listening to Helmet's "Unsung." In the bridge, the entire band plays layers of overlapping guitars, which, to the untrained ear, sounds like a discordant mess, but underneath it all, the bass-line carries the band's entire melody, like a ray of light nearly strangled by darkness. It was truly awe-inspiring, not just for the song itself, but because it created an appreciation in me for the contrasting sounds of dissonance and beauty.

In the modern era, the level of noise we're willing to tolerate in the name of music has increased, but the number of musicians who can truly mould this noise is certainly faltering; some bands spend so much time on the "heavy" or the "loud" that they forget to write a song; technical hardcore/metal bands write slews of technically daunting "parts" but rarely do they write a song. I wouldn't say it's turning into a lost art, but it's certainly become less appreciated than technical ability in some parts.

This, of course, is what makes Justin Broadrick's Jesu so incredible -- a musician who cut his teeth on the most formidable, and possibly best Napalm Death record; a musician who developed a pioneering mixture of man and machine in Godflesh -- has finally created what is arguably his best project. The band's debut, Jesu was crushingly heavy, but not in the sense of metal, more in the sense of mastery of the low end. The record was an exercise in contrast, Justin's clean whisper-sung vocals drenched with droning, but not amelodic guitars. It was truly unique and one of the most memorable exercises in sound released last year.

With this followup EP, Broadrick has taken an even more ambitious angle. He combines the droning, buried melodies of Jesu with more "pop" arrangements; it sounds like Mogwai gone Godflesh on "Silver," while he reaches his most accessible and catchy levels with "Star," a song which takes a hook-filled vocal line over power-chords over a 1-2 rhythm. The third track on the EP, "Wolves" is probably the closest to a "traditional" Jesu song. The final track, a flutter of melodies peaking through effects-driven guitars, also ventures into the post-rock sound, drawing from Sonic Youth and the dynamics of Explosions in the Sky.

Besides Jesu, Broadrick also keeps busy as a remixer, contributing to the recent Isis remix compilation as well as a stunning remix of Pelican's "Angel Tears" which is, to this writer, perhaps the most essential track that Pelican has worked on in their burgeoning career. His ability to balance the noise and melody in those projects is even more starkly presented in Jesu; each note rings clearly and each of the many walls of sound is distinguishable and rendered perfectly.

With its four songs running nearly a half-hour, this is perhaps a contrast from the punchy, bite-size songs that many of us are accustomed to, but its iconoclastic mixture of heaviness and melody is truly awe-inspiring.


People who liked this also liked:
Descendents - Milo Goes To CollegeIsis - PanopticonRefused - The Shape of Punk to ComeConverge - Jane DoeCoalesce - Give Them Rope She Said v2.0Alkaline Trio - GoddamnitJesu - ConquerorDescendents - Cool To Be YouConverge - When Forever Comes Crashing [reissue]Tragedy - Tragedy

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Fine Print: The following comments are owned by whoever posted them. We are not respon sible for them in any way. Seriously.
AcidPolice (May 23, 2006)

Really great album. I'm glad to see Aubin taking chances on some new and diffrenet material that isn't usally featured on Punknews.

Now we just need a Melt Banana review.

Anonymous (May 22, 2006)

Great album. I do think it's funny that now alot of folks are starting to understand or claim to understand Godflesh and Jesu now. I remember seeing the Streetcleaner tour and 7/8ths of the room running out by the 2nd song.

Anonymous (May 21, 2006)

i like how this new feature of "people who liked this also liked:" is sooooo different than what the albums reviewed are all about. it really does nothing. cause they never have any similarities to the reviewed album.

ElVaquero (May 21, 2006)

You know what's really sad? WIth so many punk kids coming out against Pitchfork and experimental music like this, they've ended up much more pretentious than even Pitchfork's own writing. Seriously, it kind of makes me sick when Pitchfork gives Avail's reissues a completely positive, strong review and kids on this site can't accept even a review here.

Nietzche said a little something about hunting monsters...

Anonymous (May 21, 2006)

fuck artsy fartsy noise. gimme some Negative Approach

Anonymous (May 21, 2006)

"Think long and hard about swallowing as many pills as your stomach will fit."

well he was right

Icapped2pac (May 20, 2006)

"i thought this was punknews not pitchfork"

Think long and hard about swallowing as many pills as your stomach will fit.

bryne (May 20, 2006)

Score's for 'Unsung'.

Anonymous (May 20, 2006)

i thought this was punknews not pitchfork

Anonymous (May 19, 2006)

Seven paragraphs and only one actually discusses the album being reviewed. Not that this review is especially bad for this, but am I the only one getting really tired of this formula where the reviewer writes some long-winded anecdote which they believe to be some "clever" metaphor for the album? It's not good writing, and in most cases, it's not even a good metaphor. Seriously, it's called brevity, fucking look it up.

Anonymous (May 19, 2006)


gladimnotemo (May 19, 2006)

I find it weird that for all the talk about distortion and feedback being "noise", there's no mention of the actual NOISE genre. What gives?

Anonymous (May 19, 2006)

if any album recently reviewed deserves 5 stars, it would be this for sure. bad job with the 4 stars. for shame.

nietzsche (May 19, 2006)

oh, i've been listening to this alot this week.
great album, even though someone scared me saying the new jesu sounds like the postal service.

ElVaquero (May 19, 2006)

Just wanted to mention also, the Pitchfork review of this album is also really really good (like this one). They actually manage to draw comparisons between "Star" and Dear You-era Jawbreaker. And it kinda makes sense too!

ElVaquero (May 19, 2006)

Star and Silver are both great new directions for JKB, hope we get to hear a lot more like that on the next album.

That Jesu-Isis remix thing is one of the most amazing things I've ever heard in my life. I'll have to check out the Pelican one too.

Anonymous (May 19, 2006)

Fucking fantastic stuff. That's all that needs to be said.

Anonymous (May 19, 2006)

This is why Justin K Broadrick can do no wrong in my book.

A great follow-up to the self-titled album released last year.

"Silver is just another gold". Just one of the few wonderful chilling lyrics by this man.


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