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It Comes To Us All Alex Deller , May 20th, 2022 08:46

Justin Broadrick resurrects his FINAL project for an album of woozy, crackly murk

Over the course of forty years Justin Broadrick has covered a remarkable amount of ground, most of it grey and most of it miserable. Always challenging, usually obtuse, and on several occasions wildly influential, his work has encompassed industrial metal, grindcore, techno, post-punk, and shoegaze, as well as mutant combinations thereof. One interesting career motif has been how certain projects have been broken down and retired only to later be reborn or reconfigured. While FINAL might not be his most famed outlet it’s perhaps the best example of this cyclic, life-death-rebirth approach to music: it began as a precocious, pre-pubescent power electronics project in the early 80s, and later reemerged as a vehicle for chilly, abstracted ambience.

It Comes To Us All serves as an examination of sonic and physical decay. Thematically this puts us in typically Broadrickian territory, and the blurred, crackling, pulled-apart nature of its eight untitled songs also ally them with his wider work sonically, often putting you in mind of projects like Jesu or Pale Sketcher if they were shorn of everything but their woozy melodies before being stretched endlessly out towards oblivion. This isn’t to say that Broadrick is sinking into his own self-reflective mulch as he explores deterioration and dissolution: his detached, exploratory approach is in full swing, and this probing quality means that rather than complacent immersion It Comes To Us All forces you to stay aware and alert, existing in a jangling state of low-key discomfort and unease even while you admire the art and prettiness of it all.

The album opens with a woozy, squelching, deconstructed poppiness, elsewhere treating you to the sound of corroding wind chimes taunting an insomniac and the sensation that you’re slowly, calmly drowning in water that’s precisely heated to match your own body temperature. It’s the album’s second track, though, that perhaps has the most startling psychic effect: it’s like being separated from your corporeal form and before being sluiced down a sterile tube towards something vast and unknowable, all the while wondering whether you’re going to land in some bright, pure, sanctified afterlife or are simply continuing the slide down a lifelong garbage chute that takes you from one enervating shitpit to the next. 

The album fits seamlessly with the rest of FINAL’s post-2000 oeuvre, as well as the wider collage of Broadrick’s wider work. As a standalone ambient artefact it’s also a resounding – if disquieting – success: in Eno-esque terms a sort of Music For The Endless Time You Spend In A Care Home Watching Someone You Love Slowly Die.