There are few artists operative at the fringes of popular music today whose sound has not been in some way or another informed or shaped by the works of Justin K Broadrick. As a founding member or sole proprietor of seminal outfits such as Godflesh, Napalm Death, Techno Animal, and Final, Broadrick has managed to help change or even define the now widespread genres of industrial and death metal, abstracted hip hop and dub, grindcore, and ambient electronics. So is also the case with his work in Jesu, who in the course of a very productive seven year existence have taken the churning pummel of his former project Godflesh, augmented it with the textural melody of 90s shoegaze rock and spawned a new sub-genre and the inevitable legions of imitators. And while imitators may abound, as the originator of this relatively newfound musical territory Jesu is still the clearly visible leader.
For those who may only be vaguely familiar with the history and subsequent trajectory of Jesu the re-release of the debut EP, Heart Ache, may function as the most suitable starting place for the process of initial immersion and discovery. Over the span of two towering 20 minute tracks one can hear not only the smoldering remnants of Godflesh embedded in the aural tapestry, but also the foundational elements that would define the future of the Jesu lexicon - extended and hypnotic structures, overlapping multi-layered melodies, alternately harsh/beautiful sonic embellishments and a palpable sense of the human capacity to express feeling through the mode of song craft. While Heart Ache itself may be reason enough to warrant investigation by the uninitiated, the inclusion of the recently completed Dethroned EP as a part of this release gives further reason for new listeners and long time devotees to discover (or remember) why so many accolades lay heaped at the altar of Jesu. The 4 tracks from Dethroned were originally conceived and partially finished in 2004, but were only finally completed in 2010. Perhaps due to the length of time over which these tracks were created the full evolution of Jesu is apparent within their structures, fluctuating from suffocatingly heavy to delicately sparse and covering an emotional spectrum of considerable depth. While "full circle" might not be quite the appropriate term to describe the content of Dethroned there is a completeness to its statement, recalling the monuments of Jesu past while simultaneously pointing towards the ever widening path of its future.