Jesu Jesu

Jesu Jesu
After the release of 2001’s Hymns — arguably Godflesh’s finest hour — and at the zenith of their career, band founder Justin Broadrick dissolved the group in an unprecedented move, leaving fans dumbfounded and dolorous. Last year, Broadrick finally resurfaced with a new project, Jesu, and a two-song, forty-minute EP called Heart Ache. Since then, he’s added former Godflesh/Prong/Swans drummer Ted Parsons and bassist Diarmuid Dalton, though this is definitely not Godflesh Part II. Jesu still run the gamut of smothering industrial beats and layered, repetitive riffs like old ’Flesh, but with Broadrick’s forays into cleaner vocals and epic-length tracks (averaging nine minutes) that become cosmic journeys into the limits of listlessness. Opener "Your Path To Divinity” isn’t as immediate as "Friends Are Evil,” featuring pummelling bass lines and melodic vocals. "Tired Of Me” instantly cuts the aggression with lighter chords and Broadrick’s vocal harmonies, while "Man/Woman” heaves one of the massively heaviest bass lines known to Broadrick and is the most Godflesh-y of them all — with partial thanks to guest guitarist Paul Neville, who also played on Godflesh’s 1990 breakthrough, Streetcleaner. Closer "Guardian Angel” starts out like Sperm Whale-era Thrones or Harvey Milk, peaks, then fades out over two minutes like a surreal montage-in-motion. Jesu is a living, breathing organism of sound, as Broadrick urges his musical ideas to maximum creativity.

How does Jesu differ from Godflesh at the most basic level? Broadrick: Godflesh was trapped by its own limitations. Intentionally, Jesu is designed to be a much, much freer experience. The two Jesu recordings that are available now aren’t a basic blueprint for the rest of the Jesu existence; it will morph and change every which way.

After a decade-plus of yelling in Godflesh, it’s really nice to hear your more subdued singing voice. I generally hate my vocals and do absolutely everything in my power to drench them in effects and basically hide them, hence the echoes and reverbs used, etc., but obviously I’m looking for that effect on the listener, too. I also think that’s what sets Jesu apart from being just another epic rock thing: the vocals are not an afterthought and I actually attempt to sing and do creative things with my voice. I don’t really feel the need to scream my head off anymore; I’m finding it unnecessary now, since it’s much more challenging for me to attempt to sing and try harmonies, etc. I like pop music and good clean vocalists, so I guess I’m trying to incorporate pop into something so heavy. For me, Jesu is like brutally heavy sad pop music, and I don’t care how trite that sounds. I’m looking for brutality, psychedelia, heaviness, beauty, and sadness all in the same song. This is what Jesu is about. (Hydra Head)