Jesu - Jesu (Cover Artwork)
Staff Pick


Jesu (2005)

Hydra Head

It's only fitting that Justin Broadrick would once again step up and deliver something outstanding. Broadrick of course should be remembered from the almighty Godflesh. Godflesh, while releasing consistently strong records and being highly influential, is often forgotten. Although some know and love releases like Selfless, more people haven't even given the band a listen. Many of those same people swear by bands like Isis and Pelican. While those other bands are both excellent in their own right, Godflesh certainly had a hand in shaping the music they play. Perhaps this will open some eyes, because even without knowing the past of this project, this release is outstanding.

Jesu released an EP last year, which somehow flew under my radar, but I was really excited to find this album in my mailbox a while back. I wanted to listen to it right away, but I knew that I had to hold off until I could devote my complete attention to it. When I finally had the time to take this album in, I wasn't disappointed. Through the lengthy tracks of this self-titled disc, Jesu takes the time to build atmosphere and mood all while reeling the listener in until they are completely oblivious to what is going on around them. Fans of Godflesh certainly shouldn't be disappointed, while fans of bands like the aforementioned Isis will also dig this release. Although experimental metal bands have often been accused of lacking heart, Jesu shows it in spades, particularly in hauntingly beautiful tracks like "Friends Are Evil," which combines electronic elements and crushing guitars with restrained vocals.

Beautiful isn't a word I throw around in everyday conversation, let alone in reviews, but I'd be hard pressed not to use it here. Each track manages to be epic, but without leaving the listener bored. In reality, these songs can hold the listener as long they want to. The songs here, such as "Tired of Me," manage to pummel you, while at the same time showing off some great melodies. The vocals, particularly, often blend with a wall of guitar to help build harmonies and further the moods that the music creates. Much like the music itself, the vocals are often repeated, even further adding to the hypnotic nature of these tracks.

You need to be willing to invest some time into listening to this, but in the end, you'll be glad you did. When a band seems to ignore any sort of guidelines for song length, tackling the record might seem more like work than an enjoyable listening experience, but thankfully, rather than just being challenging, the music found on this record is powerful and emotive. The songs don't drag, everything seems necessary, and song lengths that might seem excessive end up making plenty of sense. Whether you're a fan of Godflesh, someone who enjoys most of the things Hydra Head releases, or just a casual listener, this is something worth checking out.