Jesu
Terminus


4.0
excellent

Review

by Alex H CONTRIBUTOR (17 Reviews)
November 15th, 2020 | 64 replies


Release Date: 11/13/2020 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A return to miserable form.

When Justin K. Broadrick revived Godflesh a few years ago, it was inevitable that his post-metal project Jesu would take a back seat, although it never fully went away for too long. In the time since his last full-length under the moniker, he provided the instrumentals for two Sun Kil Moon/Jesu collaborations that were unfortunately released when the widespread fatigue towards Mark Kozelek’s artless journalistic ramblings was palpable; and then there was the heavily loop-based EP Never from earlier this year, a twenty minute release that bordered on interminable. Yet even after those meandering and half-baked projects, Jesu’s fifth (or sixth, depending on who you ask) full-length Terminus arrives not with renewed spirit, but with deep loss and hopelessness. Given the depressive nature of Jesu’s back catalogue, this isn’t particularly surprising; what is, however, is that it’s the project’s best album since their debut.

The earth-rumbling distortion of earlier works has receded even further into the past, but Terminus is still a heavy record. Loneliness, depression, and regret permeate these songs, as evidenced simply by glancing at the tracklist (see the miserable suite of “Disintegrate”, “Don’t Wake Me Up”, and “Give Up” that brings the album to a close). Over wooly slowcore riffs, greyscale electronic textures, and sparse percussion work, Broadrick delivers a nakedly emotional vocal performance, perhaps a career best; it strains as he goes high, and quivers as he sinks lower. Vocals and lyrics were never the main draw for Jesu, but the airier arrangements shed more light upon the despondent ruminations on loss and destructive patterns. Terminus can be moving in a way that Jesu hasn’t quite been before.

It’s also front-loaded with some of Jesu’s best songs to date: “When I Was Small”, the title track, and “Sleeping In” are the heaviest songs on the record, featuring exquisitely heart-rending riffs and trudging tempos, while the sample-heavy “Alone” is one of his most complete electro-pop excursions. The record sinks into a wallowing mood as it goes into its second half, toning down the distortion and emphasizing Broadrick’s wounded singing. And yet, songs like “Alone” and “Give Up” re-affirm that Broadrick originally started Jesu as a way to explore more conventional pop songwriting. Despite the dejected emotions that seethe through the songs, he often imbues them with subtly gorgeous vocal melodies.

Even so, Terminus is a decidedly more lo-fi and stitched together album than what we’re used to from Broadrick. Throughout the record, frequent collaborator Tim Parson’s drums drop out for a split seconds, and verses and choruses feel roughly taped together, creating a subtly disarming sense of unease. The low, overdriven guitars suffocate the low end, and the haphazard mixing pushes every element into the red. These aspects might come off as lazy, or give the album a rushed feeling. But I don’t think I’m giving Broadrick too much credit when I saw these shoddy aspects only strengthen the notion that Terminus is a skeletal, brittle document of someone at a brutal low point. I can see all of this being a huge turn-off for some listeners, and maybe it shouldn’t work, but I think it does in some strange way.

Terminus is raw and haggard where earlier releases like Silver and Conquerer felt immense and impenatrable. As ever, Broadrick’s lonely wail is surrounded by lush instrumentation, acting something like a defence against crushing isolation and loss—a distraction, a compensation. It’s ominous, then, that the last track “Give Up” is an instrumental, albeit a relatively upbeat one. Throughout Terminus, Broadrick sounds strengthened by the arrangements, as if the melancholic riffs themselves can inspire true healing; not hearing his voice on “Give Up” darkly adds to the album’s tangible feelings of finality. Seeing as how Terminus is one of Broadrick’s strongest works, released some thirty years into his career no less, hopefully that’s not the case.



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user ratings (48)
3.6
great


Comments:Add a Comment 
Sharenge
November 15th 2020


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

shame about your take on his collaborations with Mark Kozelek and Never... but yeah definitely feeling some slowcore vibes strong on here

Digging: Jesu - Terminus

hel9000
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2020


853 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Yeah idk. There’s some nice stuff on those albums but I felt like they didn’t really live up to their potential. If it came about before Koz’s shift in songwriting I think I would’ve been more partial to it.

Digging: Jesu - Terminus

parksungjoon
November 15th 2020


23199 Comments


Jesustin "Broad" Rick at it again!

Digging: First Fragment - Dasein

Sharenge
November 15th 2020


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

glad one of his releases this year finally got a review.... gotta be at least 5 or 6 releases (and likely more that flew under my radar) and he was involved with the new Vatican Shadow... guy truly is a workhorse when it comes to music and a treasure

nightbringer
November 15th 2020


1578 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Good review. Digging this record.

JesperL
Contributing Reviewer
November 15th 2020


1928 Comments


hel yeah sweet review, convinced me to give it a shot :]

Digging: Palm Reader - Sleepless

parksungjoon
November 15th 2020


23199 Comments


>gotta be at least 5 or 6 releases (and likely more that flew under my radar)

the singles are redundant with the LP and EP

DarkNoctus
November 15th 2020


11326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

i'm not 100% sure about this one. vocals have taken a noticable step down and it sounds a bit thin. plus there's a bunch of audio clips and glitches that really take me out of the experience.



i really like how it seems to take the spacious approach of conqueror with the playing style of opiate sun. that's cool.

Digging: Shores of Null - Beyond the Shores (On Death and Dying)

Sharenge
November 15th 2020


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

>the singles are redundant with the LP and EP

wasn't including them in my count

parksungjoon
November 15th 2020


23199 Comments


then where do you count more than two cuz they sure aint on rym

Sharenge
November 15th 2020


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

>there's a bunch of audio clips and glitches

I did notice one that was pretty bad on the opening track that made me go and grab a different .mp3 only to find that it was still there, but other than that nothing comes to mind that stuck out to me

Sharenge
November 15th 2020


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I was referring to Justin Broadrick's entire catalog not just jesu.... the guy's only got like a dozen or so aliases

parksungjoon
November 15th 2020


23199 Comments


fair enough, i see theres a few more on some of his less known projects

Sharenge
November 15th 2020


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

I find it hard to believe him and Ben haven't worked on anything through all of 2020 and I could have sworn I remember some mention in an interview of an upcoming Us and Them remix album or something like that

Pikazilla
November 15th 2020


13369 Comments

Album Rating: 3.0

On first listen, this was as underwhelming as the previous album

kevbogz
November 15th 2020


2644 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

the summary made me think u thought the album was ass.

have to agree with Noct about the vocals + audio glitches, and Pika about the underwhelming-ness in some areas(except that Everyday I Get Closer. . . is his best release). I'm just glad this isn't another SKM collab or something in the same vein as Never.

Digging: Provoker - Collection No. 1

Sharenge
November 15th 2020


599 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

man "Disintegrating Wings" and "Don't Wake Me Up" really be choking me up

DarkNoctus
November 15th 2020


11326 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

"I did notice one that was pretty bad on the opening track that made me go and grab a different .mp3 only to find that it was still there, but other than that nothing comes to mind that stuck out to me"



drums clip in a couple of places. the first track is definitely the worst offender. the dude's a producer so idk how he let things like that slip by him. jesu is kind of a 'vibe' kinda band and it just totally sucks you out.

Darius The Imposter
November 15th 2020


22661 Comments


dude hell yes

bigguytoo9
November 16th 2020


885 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

This was a surprise. Heartache, S/T and Conqueror are my faves though.



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