It could be argued, quite successfully, that Justin Broadrick is the most influential man to strap on a guitar n strum in the past 15 years. While his albums nor songs may never top the charts sales-wise, the Birmingham UK native has sewn his seeds of influence far and wide and, most importantly, unassumingly and unselfconsciously. After all, he never really meant to largely spearhead the molten majesty of Neurosis and Isis, nor did really mean to steer Ministry and Fear Factory toward the machinations of industrial metal, nor did he especially mean to "inspire" no, really the inpenetratable walls of stutter-chug Korn erected early on.
Nope, Justin Broadricks pretty much followed his own muse ever since vacating Napalm Deaths guitar slot in late 86. Not long after, following a stint as drummer for Head of David, the mans most mesmerizing project came to being: the monolithic Godflesh. Partnered with bass overlord Benny Green, Godflesh released classic record after classic record for more than a decade. Whether you rate the martial claustrophobia of 1989s Streetcleaner or the breakbeat dystopia of 1998s Us and Them and everything in between, Broadrick and Benny always maintained a sound so singular, outright plagiarism was nigh on impossible. Along the way, Broadrick flexed his musical muscles with the alternately icy/intimate ambient of Final, a savage subversion of hip-hop in Techno Animal, the distorted dub of Curse of the Golden Vampire, and further followed his violent-funk jones in both God and Ice. Not to mention countless remix jobs but hey, enigmas never rest.
Nope, Broadrick did not rest once Godflesh was laid to sleep during the Spring of 2002, following what we politely call a "nervous breakdown" prior to a headlining tour of the States. Little more than two years later, the man officially unfurled his oft-fabled Jesu project and "project" of the most amorphous variety, with Broadrick being the sole constant with a two-song/40-minute "EP" entitled Heart Ache. Indeed aptly titled, the record saw Broadrick bringing the sublimely bittersweet undertones of Godfleshs most sensitive moments unabashedly to the fore and marrying them to a "rock" context, abstracted to such an extent that what resulted was partly interstellar groove, partly pagan celebration, and perhaps his most intensely personal music to date.
But that all changes with Jesu, the selfsame bands debut album proper. Seventy five minutes in penetrating duration and eight epics comprising that (intensely personal) song-cycle, Jesu sees Broadrick and company abstracting The Rock even further, that sublime bittersweetness even deeper and more revealing, music thats laid open so bare, so naked in its emotional resonance, the result is absolutely disarming. But this is no whinge-fest, though: The Groove dominates, but its a groove markedly more understated than Godfleshs most shuddering moments, and yet shuddering nonetheless in the metaphysical depth it conveys. And if Broadrickphiles ever wanted the man to explore his ghostly clean-tenor the way he did on such Flesh classics as "Mantra" and "The Internal," Jesu is pure manna delivered by the God(head) himself.
And amen. Meet the new modern classic: Jesus Jesu, penetrating a soul near you soon.