Released: 2007, Hydra Head Records
Jesu have presumed to challenge the fascism of homogeneity in random places. Thus, hoping to unveil the disingenuous constructions of “normality,” “safety,” and “awareness.” Enter Justin Broadrick’s (Godflesh, Napalm Death etc.) newest dream-gaze – CONQUEROR. Those of you familiar with this incarnation of JB know that it’s an ambient/drone rock project – and those of you unfamiliar have probably already stopped reading.
CONQUEROR track for track is pretty much hit or miss. Sonically, you have stripped down percussive-chugging drones, stratosphere synths, slogging drums, and light lullaby/dreamy vocals (Think- My Bloody Valentine – or, well, Tiamat). The production is odd in that the guitars are deeply buried under the synths, and the distortion has transformed into a twang. But on to the dichotomy: Cuts like “Weightless and Horizontal” and “Old Year” are beautiful in that they stigmatize the material psychic through simple synths and drone. Conversely, the title track “Conqueror” is shallow, formulaic, off-key, and, the greatest sin, boring as batshit. Essentially, with many CONQUEROR tracks, we get a malnourished reverie with a light-mix drone. Unfortunately, this isn’t sadomasochistic tutelage so nothing sticks.
I don’t want to sound too harsh though. Jesu has not released a terrible album. When CONQUEROR is good…it’s really fucking good. And there is certainly depth in this project. Let me put it this way – if you dig Justin Broadrick projects or drone/ experimental/ shoegaze/ dreampop give this disc a spin. Otherwise, don’t. CONQUEROR is the proliferation of the meaningless. Take from that what you will.