Ok, I didn't see a track by track breakdown, so here's my view on the album :
Ok? Track synopsis, from me? Cuz I've already had the damn album on repeat for most of two days now.
01 - "Conqueror"
Very aptly named song. It's good for the title track of the album. It has the feel of some of the elements that were displayed on the self titled, such as crushing guitars and lots of drone, but it resorts back to the Silver'ish way of lyrics and singing and the use of synths. Very melodic. The lyrics in it are quite nice. Very shoegazer. Kind of soppy and and emotional, yet hopeful. I quite like the song. The bass is ever present over everything else. The drums, while a bit sparse, are a nice head bobber.
02 - "Old Year"
Wow! this song actually reminds me of latter Godflesh years. Slow and powerfully moving, the lyrics and guitars are very reminiscant of the Godflesh most people started hating on. I liked it a lot, but that's just me. Sounds like something that very much belonged on "Hymms". Quite despondant in many respects, especially the lyrics. Even the synths and such used on this track are kind of bleak. The drums are just background noise for the whole album in all reality so I'm going to quit mentioning them, but the bass is nicely done here. It's not quite so predominate and accentuates all the effects that are used.
03 - "Transfigure"
Amazingly, the track number would be where I would put this. It's my third favorite song on the album. It's definitively Jesu and a very thoughtful progression from where Silver left off. Poppy and shoegazer as hell, but nice despite it all. The guitars are a bit lame, as is the bass, but I really dig on the synths used in this one. They are very happy and create a good vibe and atmosphere, especially since the lyrics in the song are quite hopeful and lovey. JKB must have a flame that makes him smile all the time found in some lover we never talk about, LOL. It's probably the most mainstream song on the album, but well worth the spins.
04 - "Weightless & Horizontal"
By far, without doubt, my favorite song on the album and also happens to be the longest song, too. Starts off with some eerie and far off sounding synth stuff and crashes in on you with a decent beat and guitars and bass that remind me more of the Silver aspects that grabbed my attention. The lyrics, again, switch to a more despondant thing ("try not to lose yourself - i'm way past trying - i'm way past caring - i'm way past hoping", etc)... The use of effects on the vocals, not to mention that JKB truly exerts a bit of flex instead of doing his monotone thing makes the delivery of the message quite nice. It's a bit redundant for a 10 minute song but you never really get tired of it, especially since he seems to add in breaks just where you need to breathe and get ready to dirge back into it. Nice one, JKB. Really. Freakin' nice one.
05 - "Medicine"
Ok. This one is another poppy song, and is very much in the same vein as "Transfigure". The lyrics here are hopeful and sad all at the same time, as per usual with Justin. The guitars are quite sad, and probably the worst aspect of this song. Bad production maybe? Or maybe he did it on purpose? The bass is a great little ditty to bob with and pay attention to here, as it is fun and seems like something someone who had been playing for 6 months would come up with but makes you smile and nod through it anyways. The use of effects on everything in this song makes it a bit irritating compared to the rest of the album, but I can't help but smile and like it despite how much I WANT to hate it. Lots of delay/reverb/flange things going on everywhere in this song, and the synths in this are incredibly cheesy. To me, this one is more of a filler track than anything else.
06 - "Brighteyes"
Interesting effects used throughout the whole song. It's quite cold and mean after you get past the sound walls that crash in on you. very grudgy in the delivery of all the instruments and the lyrics are nowhere near happy. JKB sings very nicely on this song, and it makes you almost want to cry that he can feel that much pain about someone. The synths used in this one are excellently executed and are probably one of the forefront devices used in this song. Done at key moments very loudly and fade back off into the background during verses.
07 - "Mother Earth"
Another one that I could have lived without but it sounds ok. Sets you up for the final track on the album. very filler'ish. the lyrics are standard JKB, meaning that they are repeated quite a bit, and the guitars are nothing special. Hell, there IS nothing special about this song other than it is a good lead up to the final track. It's about <gasp!> the EARTH! And how we should be nice to her or she'll kill us all, hehehehe... I think. Anyways. Without fail, the worst track on the album. I keep finding myself skipping it. It's just TOO repetitive and poorly done so enough wasting time describing it.
08 - "Stanlow"
Ok. There can be no arguement that this is about pollution and such, especially follwing a track called Mother Earth and it being named after an oil refinery. This is my second favorite track on the album. It's also much more like the self titled album, with aspects of silver. More vocals than I thought he would throw in on something like this, and the lyrics are rather sparse for as much as he is talking. But it's a good message and the use of effects on the vocals is really expertly done. The guitars are fun as hell to listen to and could place this anywhere in the middle part of the s/t better than a track say like, "We All faulter". It plods along to the rythem and tempo of something off Silver but, the bass... DEAR GOD, the BASS. It's phat again and just aurally assualts you. Even the drums finally make an appearance (at the end of the album, no less!) and are well done. Lots of snare and crash and hi hat and ride to mix it up all nicely. And the synths aren't really a big focal point now. They are there but they are really just a background noise to help make the song a bit more ambient. By far one of the best tracks that JKB could have come up with and put on this album.
Now, for a total thought on it. You can definateluy tell that it is more of a "band" thing now, and not just Justin coming up with everything. That may be why it's touch and go on a lot of tracks, but all in all a solid recording. Definatly something I cannot wait to come out so I can buy it. I'd give it 3.75 out of 5 stars. Not the best thing in the world and doesn't make me quite as happy as Heartache or Silver did, but easily as good as the self titled. What amazes me the most about the album is the track lengths. Most of the songs <gasp louder!> are cut out around 6 - 7 minutes! They are real songs and not some huge dirge of a thing! Only one long track (#4) that comes in around 10 minutes, a few 7's, a few 6's and one 8'er. So you don't have to worry about being bored with something for too long. The album clocks in at just under 60 minutes and it's an hour of good music. Nothing I would kick out of bed for eating crackers, so to say. Anyhoo... Hope you all enjoy it and get it when it comes out.
P.S. Actually it's well worth the listen straight through until you get comfortable with it. It's a really solid album. It's not crap, but it's not the best thing that JKB has done. It's the logical followup to Silver. To put it simply I would rate the tracks like this (from best to worst) :
Weightless & Horizontal
Transfigure/Conqueror (about equal in my opinion)
But don't just take my review and all for it. Give it a spin when it comes out or grab a copy of it online and listen. The mp3s (while not the best quality) aren't that bad and well worth having just to know what you are getting.
_________________ godflesh is dead. long live jesu.
although I am sure as a teeny-bopper I would have had my mind blown if you told me I could have any music I wanted, without spending a dime and without leaving the house, from over my goddamn phone line at any time. Even months before release!
But having to seek things out and carefully weigh the drachmas in yer pocket vs. your desire to hear an album created a stong bond with albums that delivered.
Such a bond is something that children born into the downloading age can only pretend to understand.
'In my life so far, I have discovered that there are really only two kinds of people: those who are for you, and those who are against you. Learn to recognize them, for they are often and easily mistaken for each other.'
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