As a founder member of Midlands based noise experimentalists Godflesh, Justin Broadrick has a history of creating uncompromising passages of sound in the name of music. Despite Godflesh coming to an end six years ago, Broadrick has continued in a similar vein with Jesu, and in that time managed to establish a reputation for being one of the heaviest, loudest outfits currently sitting amongst the post-rock/metal genres. His most recent long player, Infinity, consisted of just one piece of music lasting just under an hour, which probably gives you some idea of what to expect here.
Opiate Sun is a project that has long been in the making, Broadrick first discussing his ideas online for the EP a good 18 months ago. Initially planned as a two-part project that would see the studio make-up of Jesu (Broadrick, ex-Swan Ted Parsons and Diarmuid Dalton) collaborate on two tracks with the live version of the band (Broadrick plus Dave Cochrane and Phil Petrocelli of fellow ambient experimental combo Transitional) contributing the other two, Opiate Sun is actually a solo piece, Broadrick laying down everything from guitars to vocals and rhythm section himself.
What this means is that Opiate Sun, for all its good intentions, seems bereft of any new or original ideas, and rather than show any signs of progress or inventiveness, its more a case of business as usual.
The opening sludge-metal of 'Losing Streak' sounds like Swervedriver slowed down to 33rpm, Broadrick's vocal actually none too dissimilar to that of Adam Franklin. 'Deflated' and the title track meanwhile both focus on Jesu's more ambient side, something that can often be lost - although some would argue for the better - in the context of their exceedingly loud live show. The closing 'Morning Light' - at five-and-a-half minutes the shortest piece on the EP - drifts along at a meandering pace, and while there's no disputing Broadrick's status as a virtuoso arranger and composer, Opiate Sun doesn't really add anything of note to his admittedly well-earned reputation.
6Dom Gourlay's Score