Terminus is a varied yet still cohesive album that leaves the crushing heaviness of Jesu’s early material behind for the most part while also containing their strongest material since doing so. Following the EP “Never” which was released earlier this year, this is Jesu’s first full-length release since 2013’s “Every Day I Get Closer to the Light From Which I Came”. The space between these two albums is significant as in the interim Jesu main man Justin Broadrick resurrected the much-beloved GODFLESH along with his original partner G.C. Green.
Together they first released “A World Lit Only By Fire” which called back to the brutality of their earliest material and followed it up with “Post Self”, a far more diverse record influenced by the late ’70s early ’80s post-punk and industrial scenes. Now with this new Jesu album, Broadrick is exploring another place filled with feelings of despondency, nostalgia, and loneliness.
Broadrick is a brilliant musician and easily one of the most unique guitar players to come out of the UK so his ability to take his signature sound and express it in so many different ways shouldn’t come as a surprise to anyone familiar with his past works. When the first Jesu record was released it retained a lot of the crushing heaviness of GODFLESH but focused on bringing out Broadrick’s vocals in a much more melodic way. The first thing that struck me about Terminus was how much stronger his clean voice has gotten. Instead of being completely smothered in reverb and delay on every song his voice is less washed out and has a fragility that has always been there, but this time is much more pronounced in the mix. Album opener “When I Was Small” gets this across immediately. Opening with a breakbeat and a signature guitar riff that is droning yet melodic, Broadrick’s voice is upfront and grabs you right away. Title track “Terminus” is another great example of this with a beautiful vocal melody again accompanied by a droning and melodic guitar part. “Alone” opens up sounding somewhat like a lost Cocteau Twins song and “Don’t Wake Me Up” has a bit of a Red House Painters vibe to it but again Broadrick’s signature sound is all over these songs making them distinctly Jesu. The one overt showing of the heavier side of Jesu comes from the track “Sleeping In” which sounds like the sequel to “Tired of Me” from the debut with its main melody being quite reminiscent of the former along with it’s lumbering drums and sludgy guitars. Overall though the album leaves the sonic heaviness behind, perhaps because GODFLESH (who I certainly hope we haven’t heard the last of) has been Broadrick’s main focus the last bunch of years.
As Jesu progressed from their debut they incorporated dream pop, shoegaze, and electronica into their sound and one of the strengths of this new album is that it blends all these elements seamlessly. In fact, I would say if you’ve never heard Jesu before, this is a great album to start with.
Pre-order Terminus by Jesu here