Boomkat Product Review:
Justin K. Broadrick revisits his legendary FINAL project for a new album on ALTER swerving the isolationist ambient and power electronics of previous records to absorb sampled pop hooks in an attempt to reach some kind of blissed state. Basinski, Philip Jeck, MBV, Fennesz and Thomas Köner iheads should dive right in.
Billed as "an exploration of the decay of all living things," Broadrick's latest FINAL album - his first since 2015's Downwards-released "Black Dollars", is surprisingly upbeat given its theoretically funereal theme. The industrial metal pioneer's starting point here is a set of pop music melodies, which he decays artificially, removing their form and reducing them to hums and hoarse coughs of analog dirt and grit. To be honest, we wouldn't have known unless we'd been told - the sounds here may as well be self generated, but it's charming to know where they're from all the same. On some tracks the source material is barely audible at all, like gaseous opener 'Untitled 1', where slowly-shifting noise is bent and fluttered with the thumb-on-tape whole-channel grace of Kevin Shields on the 'Loveless' sessions.
Elsewhere, riffs poke out through the marshy overdriven grot: 'Untitled 5' begins with burned out tape hiss and amp fuzz, the black clouds eventually part to reveal unashamedly disarming guitar melodies. It's the meeting point between Fennesz, Merzbow and Godflesh - not quite one or the other, but as simultaneously hard-edged and blissful as you want to imagine. It's not the first time Broadrick has poked around sonic bliss states - his Jesu recordings (particularly 2006's "Silver") successfully fused shoegaze moods with metal textures - but "It Comes To Us All" still feels like a fresh chapter in the Brummie musician's ongoing narrative.
At times as murky and memory-triggering as James Kirby's Caretaker material ('Untitled 3' and 'Untitled 7') and at others as frozen in time as Kevin Drumm's ambient works ('Untitled 8'), Broadrick's latest FINAL set is a brilliant combination of experience, technical skill and a solid concept. Frazzled as fuck.