AlbumsNovember 29, 201110,811 views

Jesu Silver

1. Silver 2. Star 3. Wolves 4. Dead Eyes
2006 Hydra Head Records
Our score 7

by Cory

Ever since the early days of Napalm Death, Justin Broadrick has marched to the beat of his own special (occasionally programmed) drum. After essentially creating grindcore and helping redefine industrial music with Godflesh, Broadrick has turned his attention to Jesu, a project that combines melody and heaviness like few artists before. After hearing Silver, it's clear that the group's first two releases were laying the foundation for some of Broadrick's most beautiful and clearly structured work to date. This new EP isn't necessarily a departure, as its four tracks still sprawl across nearly thirty minutes, but it is a more focused display of songwriting and suggests that Jesu will continue in this direction. This record is incredibly heavy, but let me be absolutely clear about what "heavy" means in this context. This record isn't heavy as in fast or heavy as in blasting drums or guitar riffs; Its heaviness is derived from a bass sound that rivals the uncomfortable lows of Sunn0))) and a remarkable production quality that keeps every note and every drumbeat crystal clear. Everything about this recording is just massive. If Broadrick wanted to, he could honestly retire from making music and spend the rest of his life producing stoner and doom cds, using the Jesu recordings as his resume. Silver is both an impressive piece of music and a feat of engineering prowess from Broadrick. Fans of the first two Jesu releases might be a bit startled by the disc's title track and opener, arguably the closest thing to a pop song Broadrick has ever released. It's simple, beautiful and tremendous all at once. An obvious three chord progression runs almost the entire course of the song while the vocals weave in and out at opportune moments. The layers of effect-laden guitars and driving bass build the song from a series of notes a child might have accidentally stumbled upon into an increasingly complex arrangement, calling to mind certain pieces by Godspeed, You Black Emperor, but with a more obvious structure. I've been thinking of this one as "Dinosaur Jr. on morphine" and while it might not be the best comparison, it should give you some indication of what to expect. The second track and potentially the most challenging track, "Star," combines an industrial drumbeat with yet another pop song, this time with a traditional pop song structure. Those willing to listen for it might even hear something akin to late-era Blink-182 hiding underneath the discordant guitar work. I'm not saying Jesu has gone radio-friendly or anything, but there's definitely a pop feel to this record and quite frankly, it works. For me personally, the first half of this four song EP is more interesting than the follow-up tracks, both of which seem tacked on. "Wolves" feels like it might have been left off the self-titled debut, which definitely isn't a bad thing, but compared to the progression exhibited in the first two tracks, "Wolves" feels slightly out of place. The album closes with "Dead Eyes," a track that combines what sounds like a backwards guitar track with another industrial-style drumbeat and a heavily processed vocal to create something Enigma-esque. At the four-minute point the track picks up a heavy lead and closes the disc with a rocking finish and a sequence that ties the disc together, but it's just not quite enough to justify the relatively lackluster ending to an otherwise great EP. One final note: The artwork of this disc reminded me an awful lot of Sigur Ros' "()" album. Though it's probably a coincidence, I think a comparison could also be made between the two bands, whose combination of relatively basic songwriting and lush, complex arrangements have resulted in a unique and powerful sound that has captured the music world's imagination. Bottom Line: Fans of Jesu will inevitably be happy to have more music from the man whose life's work has created and redefined entire musical genres. The first half of this record is fantastic and the second half is still pretty good. This EP is also a great choice for those interested in getting on board because it gives glimpses of both where they've been and where they're going. All in all, another solid release from Justin Broadrick and friends.


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x_ 4/27/2006 9:30:28 PM

Pirst fost.

sarcophagus_ 4/27/2006 9:31:54 PM

I wanna hearrrrr sooooo baaaaddddd

chadster_ 4/27/2006 9:37:43 PM

Holy shit... this got a... 7?? WEEEEEEIIIIIIIRRRRRRRDDDDDDD

adam hellbound_ 4/27/2006 9:52:42 PM

excellent review.

jefferson_ 4/27/2006 9:52:55 PM

a 7.... cory strikes again

notorious_dob_ 4/27/2006 9:54:50 PM

good review, fantastic album

adam hellbound_ 4/27/2006 9:56:38 PM

however, i would disagree with your assessment of the last two tracks. while "silver" and "star" are quite obviously huge progressions in broadrick's sound, dismissing "wolves" and particularly "dead eyes" as retreads seems a little unfair. "wolves" is markedly slower than the rest of the ep but it feels even more lush and alive -- whereas the self-titled lp was dark, morose and cold, "wolves" feels like the first thaw after winter.

yeast_infection_ 4/27/2006 10:18:48 PM

not to mention, JKB also made one of the best hip-hop albums ever; Techno Animal "Brotherhood of the Bomb"

morgan_ 4/27/2006 10:35:32 PM

totally agree with the review, greatly written songs and all around great ep.

gsfd_ 4/28/2006 1:00:14 AM

like jesus without the s

lazerxbeast_ 4/28/2006 1:10:27 AM

Cmon know it's better then a 7/10.

xtroyx_ 4/28/2006 1:19:04 AM

good album and good review. it did differ a little from the last full length, but it is enjoyable nonetheless.

xtroyx_ 4/28/2006 1:19:43 AM

oh and the third track sounding like it belonged on the last full length was a good call.

anonymous 4/28/2006 1:33:25 AM

"Cmon know it's better then a 7/10." unfortunately, it's not up to cory, it's up to the webmaster...although i'm certain if you ask him personally he would have encouraged a higher rating.

TheReapersSon_ 4/28/2006 2:06:11 AM

I saw this coming, and with it the controversy of the 7/10 not being good enough.

picturesofme_ 4/28/2006 2:43:09 AM

good review, great ep.

grudgeagainstastranger_ 4/28/2006 11:03:28 AM

Haha, I thought that track 2 sounded like Mark Hoppus as far as the vocals go. The last two tracks are just as good as the first imo. The last track is the most unique song JKB has written under Jesu. An amazing release, but not enough to top the full length. I'm looking forward to the next full length, which he's working on right now.

united_ninety_three_ 4/28/2006 3:02:08 PM

i like this ep quite a bit. nowhere near the s/t but still f*cking genuis.

matt_ 4/28/2006 3:08:48 PM

this album completely sucks ass compared to the self titled and demo

Joel_ 4/28/2006 4:24:21 PM

really good review

el botcho_ 4/28/2006 4:32:31 PM

Really good review, but I enjoyed all the tracks equally. It's easily a 9 from me. Best thing I've heard this year and the best Jesu stuff so far.

Fur_Beach_ 4/28/2006 9:51:48 PM

this is what the jazz... is all about. 10/10

Imalwaysright_ 4/29/2006 7:39:00 AM

Amazing cd.

King_James23_ 4/30/2006 2:12:41 AM

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

johnfuckingdenver_ 4/30/2006 4:47:55 AM

seriously... 9/10. this ep is soooo good. and i agree with his voice sounding a bit like mark hoppus on the second track. but it works.

wes_ 5/1/2006 4:57:50 PM

good review, the second two songs were decent but not up to par. Star and Silver are worth the cost though

Hox_ 5/2/2006 2:17:56 PM

Cory's still reviewing? I thought he was going to become independently wealthy from his Movie production company. I can't wait to see 'Midnight Skater' on IMax.

anonymous 5/2/2006 9:50:11 PM

nice review. i enjoyed this ep thorougly

anonymous 5/4/2006 1:10:42 PM


Pookie_ 5/7/2006 4:01:19 AM

Fantastic EP, "Star" especially makes me eager for the next full length. "Wolves" actually reminds me more of the rifgaye-laden title track on the "Heartache" EP, which is still only available as an import from the UK. Anyone who hasn't found that EP should definitely snag it off Amazon UK. Why it hasn't been released Stateside is beyond me.

Maniac_ 5/11/2006 1:47:58 PM

i like this. but, i'm not too sure about the vocals. agree with Cory... it does have a poppy twist.

greatlakeshxc_ 5/19/2006 7:41:36 PM

this is an amazing ep. i love these guys

bastardkillme_ 10/1/2007 3:37:36 AM

Dead Eyes is f*cking breathtaking