Conqueror (Hydra Head)

Midway through Conqueror, Jesu's sophomore effort, a trio of songs ("Weightless and Horizontal," "Medicine," and "Brighteyes") moves in such narcotically slo-mo circles that you can actually feel yourself OD-ing behind a dumpster in Toledo. Or maybe it just sounds like a My Bloody Valentine record played backward? Either way, this is very loud music to take drugs to.

Since the 2002 demise of Godflesh, leader Justin Broadrick's previous beast, Jesu has served as the outlet for shoegazing metal. The guy helped form Napalm Death when he was 15 and, with Godflesh, sketched out much of the playing field for industrial metal, but right from the start, Jesu started moving away from the rigorous grindcore of Broadrick's earlier groups, adding druggy vocal melodies and purposefully stunted tempos to a meditative degree. The first album, 2005's Jesu, is like mystical doom, with a nine-minute opener, goofy lyrics, and everything else. Conqueror, however, is way less demanding -- even pretty at times. It's not really metal, though. In fact, it's like a Bitch Magnet album, if anyone is ancient enough to remember that band. Whatever. The point is that the album pushes Broadrick even further from his last point of reference, which is something he's been doing ever since he was a teenager -- constantly growing out of styles and moving on, whether fans are ready or not.

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