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Storm Comin' On. - 75%

Perplexed_Sjel, April 1st, 2008

If you pay close attention to Jesu’s entire career, you’ll see that listening to their music is like watching weather reports throughout the week. As I’m sure I’ve stated before. As much as you think you’ll be able to predict the forecast, change will always occur. One moment, we’re presented with sunshine and a warm breeze. The next, we have a downpour on our hands. The same, in a metaphorical sense, could be said about Jesu. Now, if you’ve paid particular attention and kept an eye on their sound, down to the every last detail, you’d probably be accustomed to the changes the band so often makes. Whether they’re small, or big changes, you notice. The one thing about the ‘Lifeline’ EP is that the change is much more noticeable that is has ever been before.

The vocals have always been whimsical by nature. Justin likes to keep his fans on the edge of their seats, waiting and watching to see what difference he’ll make to his voice in upcoming releases. On ‘Lifeline’ they’re much more mellow than they have ever been before. The inclusion of female vocals is also a smart touch. There is a huge market in the metal industry for female vocals. Whilst I’m never usually a major fan of female vocalists, as they mostly tend to delve into the operatic style when it comes to metal, they‘re different on ‘Lifeline‘. There are occasions when the female vocalist reminds me of the Battle Of Mice vocalist, Julie. Her voice, at times, is rather sultry. Considering the evolution of Jesu, her vocals fit nicely into the mix as opposed to contradicting it’s sound. Her voice flows alongside the ambience of the keyboards and the rhythmic beating of the drums. A very nice touch indeed. Fans of the older Jesu material will recall with fondness the powerful edge Justin always had to his vocals. When the guitars took a break from being the driving force behind the scene, the vocals were always there, ready and waiting to fill in any gaps that might show themselves.

The difference being these days is that the harsher style he once instilled into the frameworks of Jesu’s sound simply wouldn’t cut it with the new material. When you take a more mellow path, the vocals must follow, and usually do, otherwise the music will no longer stand side by side, or hand in hand to face the barrage of critics waiting to unravel all the faults. This is where the smart inclusion of using female vocals comes into largely into play. As the keyboards have slowly began to take over and evolve that shoegaze sound, Jesu have decided to dedicate their sound to the mellow side of metal, if you can call it that. Song writing is a particular element which has to be top notch in order for a band to survive the onslaught of critics and fans alike, and again, Jesu have come up trumps. Although the progression isn’t to everyone’s liking, one can appreciate the efforts put into making the material work for the rest of us. The style of the new Jesu is extremely accessible to the audiences across the globe anyway. That fact is cemented by the fact that the fan base of this British act has significantly been bolstered in the past year.

It would seem the old style of droning down tuned riffs is a distant memory. One, of course, which will shall cherish, but music is about evolution. Jesu are evolving and their music is just so accessible that anyone could come along for the ride if they gave it enough time to settle in. That seems to the main aspect of Jesu’s music that makes it sell. Although it may not be your cup of tea to begin with, it lodges itself in to your mind and stays there. Slowly, but surely bringing you around to the sound of the blissful backdrop of the soundscapes which are largely created by the keyboards. The electronic influence is undoubted. Long may this variation continue.