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Jesu - Silver

I was passed a copy of this by my brother who thought I might want to hear it knowing that I had an interest in Godflesh, and the varied projects that Justin Broadrick was involved in such as Techno Animal, Final. Over the years my interest had waned somewhat, partly due to being unaware what he was up to and partly due to not being able to get hold of the titles that were now being released on American labels. Godflesh quite rightly disintegrated sometime around 2002. I guess, the pressures of having to remain a nihilistic rock band of sorts took their toll, and created a musical straight jacket they were unable to get out of. Broadrick's breakdown that rendered him unable to complete, or even start, the Godflesh tour characterised him as an emotional human being, poles apart from the individual that fronted the monolithic rock beast he led for more than a decade.

This human frailty is perhaps the starting point for Jesu. Listening to Silver, there are definite elements of the Godflesh sound that can be discerned but Jesu is an altogether more polished and, dare I say it, melodic outfit. At times it's brutal but there's now an inherent beauty to the works of Broadrick. It's in the *soaring* guitars that characterise Silver, it's in the vocal melodies that make Silver so enticing.

The soft acoustic strum that introduces 'Silver' plunges into mammoth, dreamy chords. The surprise here, though, is Broadrick's gentle morose vocal that is all moaning and becoming is delivered devoid of effects. Waves of guitars build and fall away before culminating into something epic. It recalls those shoegazing records of the nineties and it's half-paced soaring techniques recall the grandeur of Sigur Ros and the soft/hard structures of Mogwai. It's a great track.

The directness of the bass and drums on 'Star' may be evidence of the Godflesh sound but from the moment the guitars come into play alongside Broadrick's voice you realise that the drawn out guitar chords and Broadrick's extended melodies are actually working against the rampaging rhythm section. There's a beautiful moment towards the tail end of the song when the rhythm section subsides leaving only the voice and the effects to dissolve. It's like My Bloody Valentine playing with the Godflesh rhythm section.

The spiralling electronics of 'Wolves' drenched in fuzzy blissed out guitars is a dark and moody setting for Broadrick's gentle weary voice. It's a dizzying setting for his largely untouched melodic vocals that are woven into the melange. The fuzzed out guitars and rhythm of 'Dead Eyes' is set against a treated backdrop of backward electronics, with Broadrick's vocoder effected vocals placed way down in the mix. Halfway through it slips into a more distorted guitar sound pitted against processed rhythms before the layers are stripped away leaving the electronics to evaporate into nothingness.

Silver is only an EP, and I've no idea how this compares to their other recordings but on the basis of Silver Broadrick has replaced volume with dynamics and the use of his voice as a melodic tool to create varied moods may yet prove to be his most decisive discovery. For more information go to www.hydrahead.com