Jesu | Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

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Justin Broadrick has long since moved away from the brutalizing industrial grind that made early Godflesh so lovable, but by pointing it out I don't mean to say that yet another guy who used to tear my face off with his records is now a middle-aged wuss. Some of Godflesh's signature sounds crop up from time to time in Jesu--the guitar tone like high-tension cables whistling in a gale, the grotty bass like a chain saw finding bone--and even on the new Conqueror (Hydra Head), the band's fourth and most tuneful record, the foundation is an implacable, bludgeoning beat and massive distorted chords that shift like antarctic ice sheets. What you won't recognize, especially if you last checked in with Broadrick on Streetcleaner, are the watery, crystalline synths, pensive piano, and ribbons of silvery single-string guitar. The gauzy, dispassionate vocals are swimming in reverb, and everything moves in syrupy slow motion--the average Jesu track tops nine minutes. Crowning it all are dreamy, almost poppy melodies, each phrase repeated until it becomes numbingly hypnotic, like a hopeless prayer. I picture a beautiful angel five miles tall, his radiant body wreathed in clouds and his head disappearing into the sun, humming a simple sad song to himself as he goes. But he doesn't have wings--instead he's doing an old-school Laibach lockstep in a pair of big black steel-toed boots. Zozobra opens and the inscrutable and all-powerful Isis headlines. a 6:30 PM, Metro, 3730 N. Clark, 773-549-0203 or 312-559-1212, $16. A

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