Words: Steve Belcher
Everyone who knows me well, knows at least that I am fond of virtually everything Justin Broadrick has done, but especially Jesu, the progenitor of most modern post-metal and shoegaze metal bands that have become in vogue at this time. However Jesu was doing this stuff back in the 00s, and Justin’s guitar work in it has become a significant influence on many bands, and my own guitar playing and songcraft as a musician as well.
Terminus, is the latest release of Jesu, the shoemetal brainchild of Justin K Broadrick, The opening track “When I was small, unspools itself in a cyclical pattern of fuzz, followed by the more anesthetic pop of “Alone” with its ascending choruses. The title track, “Terminus” opens with a glacial riff before Justin’s soaring vocals come in, then a crystalline guitar lead before returning to vocals and another shimmering lead and a vocal crescendo.
The track lulls in the midsection before coming back in at full force, the lead guitar lines gleaming and beautiful like sunlight reflecting off the icy wastes of a glacier field. “Sleeping In” opens with swells that are evocative of dawn sunlight through the blinds, a bit on the head to describe it as such, but then the heavier riff kicks in, and is more reminiscent of a hangover. One of the things that I like about this particular riff is the dissonant chord thrown in at the end of the chord progression. This is actually a trick that I myself have been using, but I digress.
At one point Justin’s voice hangs in the ether like an anesthetic apparition. “Consciousness” starts off with what apparently sounds like electronics and a drum line before the vocals come in, sounding like modern dream pop. Disintegrating Wings opens with a hanging delayed guitar line, before the vocals and then fuzzy guitar comes in for the outro before suddenly cutting out, leaving the clockwork delay line. “Don’t Wake Me Up” opens with guitar that beckons before Justin’s clean singing comes in with several admonishments,
There is a sort of note of nostalgia, or bittersweetness to this one, not just the words, but the sound alone is reflective. The drum machine intro to the last track on the album “Give Up” unmistakably reminds me of My Bloody Valentine’s “Soon” though the guitar sounds much more like Slowdive, This track is probably my favorite of the album, along with the title track, because of the swirling guitar work and richly layered soundscape.
Overall the album has a metallic ketamine vibe, It sounds like listening to a doom metal concert while sedated at a hospital, pure white and boundless, with the dampened effect of muffled snowfall, very much similar to the atmosphere of Lycia’s ‘Cold’ but with much more distorted guitar. If Lycia was referred to as ‘Ethereal wave’ we could possibly refer to this as Ethereal Metal. Appropriately released in November, It accompanies well with winter.