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Familiarity breeds Respect - 91%

Metal_On_The_Ascendant, November 21st, 2020

This new Jesu feels old, man.

I was listening to new and somewhat stylistically similar projects from Nothing, Molasses, Botanist and Salem and this fit right into the pile. It came out of nowhere but it also managed to feel like it had been lingering everywhere for a while. How Justin Broadrick manages to sound well-worn yet so vital is certainly cause for kudos. The man is a towering figure for even just Godflesh only and yet every release marks yet another significant notch on his tablet. The long ago apocalyptical grime of his earlier sonic-wound exacerbations gave way to more brooding masterpieces and "Terminus" which is of that ilk is how the legend has ushered in the new decade.

Here's an album that aurally conveys all the palpable dread, suffocating nostalgia and crippling loneliness borne out of the global lockdowns of 2020. The fact that he put this out towards the close of this most remarkable year is nothing if not the fabled masterstroke. "Terminus" grows and groans under the considerable weight of common-man woes and even when it gets inventive, the muted suggestions of its trend-nodding fall beneath the gaze of the contemplative gait it launches straight out of the gate. These are large post-rock songs made of distant melodic configurations and stacked downcast harmonies.

It is worth noting that this is a very guitar heavy album. As always with Jesu, the trick was in crafting the illusion of bleak vastness over supreme amplification. The apple never fell far from the godfleshed tree it seems. This is no different. There's the dreamy nuances steeped so deeply in shoegaze that they literally force you to peel back the skin on your human nature to contemplate. It is not music for everyone but those that it is for will rate it generously. Electronic touches like in the auto-tuned vocals and round bass in "Consciousness" and the pleasantly pop-ish "Give Up" do little to persuade the album in leaving its comfortable grey zone. The variations that subtly happen within "Terminus" all perfectly play out to the larger theme of shared gloom and inevitable dread.

The title track is my favorite of them all and staggers weepily for nearly ten minutes, piling on the discomfort, riff by bleak riff. Was it meant for just simple rainy days or for the fucking end of fucking everything. Possibly something in between. Justin's vocals are appropriately thin and agitated but also sighing and mournful. "When I Was Small" has a confessional tongue and what it reveals is heartbreaking for its simplicity. "Sleeping In" doubles down on the somber qualities with humming bass and swelling synths. It boasts central sludgy riffs that munch on a lot of tone and drown you in warm blankets of sound. Indeed, there's a lovable familiarity to the album that immediately places it well within the company of past bleak triumphs. It is so apparently negative that it ends up inspiring resolve and promise. At least for me it did - and we can't give up even if the fucking end of fucking everything is tomorrow.