Jesu Heart Ache & Dethroned

Jesu Heart Ache & Dethroned
Justin K. Broadrick's output for Jesu, let alone his thousands of other projects, has been enough to significantly give one's record shelf a permanent lean. While it may be a brand new release, Heart Ache & Dethroned is actually a repackaging of his sold-out debut release, two-song EP Heart Ache. But being the prolific juggernaut he is, Broadrick went back into his studio to complete four songs that made up an unreleased EP called Dethroned from 2003. As anyone who's followed the project's evolution knows, Broadrick has "lightened up" on the post-Godflesh din that inaugurated Jesu. For those in search of thunderous backbeats and masticating riffs, this double EP has all the trimmings. "Heart Ache" and "Ruined" circle the 20-minute mark, demonstrating just how epic Jesu was meant to be from the outset. The title track begins with a violent chug, only to yield to the softer melodies that have now infiltrated his sound. "Ruined," on the other hand, is prefaced with tender piano that unfolds into a punishing spread of sludgy, detuned guitar before segueing into an orchestral finale. Dethroned, as a whole, is a more concise, streamlined effort. The title track actually moves up a few BPMs, to the point where you wouldn't sound foolish thinking it was an unreleased Helmet track, circa Strap It On. The rest of the EP slows down like feet in quicksand: "Annul" is doom-y, yet Broadrick's vocals are remarkably melodic for such an early Jesu recording; "Aureated Skin" balances the shoegaze ether with distortion that'd make grunge blush; and "I Can Only Disappoint You" strips and slows things down to one of Broadrick's sparsest recordings ever. Another generous helping of music courtesy of Broadrick, but even more so, a proper release for a record many fans have been waiting for. (Hydra Head)