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JK Flesh - Posthuman (Album Review)

Friday, 20 April 2012 Written by Ben Bland
JK Flesh - Posthuman (Album Review)

Is there anything Justin K. Broadrick hasn’t tried his hand at yet? He’s done the whole pioneering metal thing (at least twice over). He’s done the whole epic post-rock shoegaze thing. He’s dabbled in the worlds of ambient, drone and electronica yet now he’s decided to take on dubstep. Sorry…what?

Yes, it is true. Not content with bringing Godflesh back from the dead, which we should all be grateful for, the man who first became a prominent destroyer of ears with Napalm Death has decided to take on the hip genre of the moment. Frankly, it shouldn’t really surprise anyone. Broadrick has always been much more than a guitar player and is known for his fascination with all kinds of music. To be honest though, it also shouldn’t come as much of a surprise that this is quite some way from being ‘dubstep’ at all. Sure, Broadrick has utilised some elements of dub music here but to categorise it based on that would be akin to calling Napalm Death a punk band. There is plenty more to take note of.

What is most striking about 'Posthuman' is the importance of the guitar. Amongst the pounding basslines and punishing beats lie some truly destructive guitar parts. Always an innovator of his main instrument, Broadrick has made here what is as much an album about the guitar as anything he has ever done. The sonic capabilities of the instrument have always been more in the hands of the player than anything else but it is twisted and completely dehumanised on this release, sound ten times more brutal than pretty much any metal guitar sound you are likely to hear all year, despite the fact that it is often buried in an avalanche of digital trickery. Mix this in with shots of tortured, almost distressing vocals and 'Posthuman' becomes ever more deranged.

Certainly this is no album for the light-hearted. Broadrick is pushing the envelope here and he is doing it in a way that explores new ground for himself (and undoubtedly many of his listeners) whilst also retaining links to the sounds that started his career. The raw primality of this album is truly intoxicating. Not an easy listen but worth diving into head first.

'Posthuman' is out on Monday 30th April via 3by3.

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