Final – 3
Most people, when they think of guitarist Justin Broadrick, usually think back to the days of industrial metal giants Godflesh, or perhaps the drone-ish, shoegaze-ish post-Godflesh project Jesu, or even his early work with the first LP of Napalm Death. They usually, however, do not think of Final, his first project, created (apparently) when he was thirteen. Initially consisting of noise/power electronics tracks, it slowly shifted over the years to a more psychedelic bent. The most recent version of Final is mainly composed of cyclical guitar manipulations. Although I have yet to remember where I saw it written, I am fairly positive that the material recorded for his last two albums in recent years were created mostly using electric guitars and various distortions/effects (whereas previous records had more synthesizers and samples being featured).
With material spanning from 2000-2005 (with the dissolution of Godflesh allowing for more time to be devoted to both Final and his new project Jesu), “3” is a rather lengthy set of tracks: twenty-seven to be exact, spanning roughly two and a half hours. The majority of the tracks range from about three to six minutes, with a ten to twelve minute track appear every eight to ten tracks. Most of the tracks are diverse excursions in guitar ambience, with many appearing to have an icy digital haze and echo about them (giving some credence to Allmusic’s rather strange band description of Final specializing in “malevolent space music”). Others are more direct in their approach, with abstract chords and subdued industrial elements. Finally, a scattered few songs have repetitive melodies in them, although they are usually rather distorted or pitch-shifted. The mixes used in the songs themselves also vary greatly, from crystal-clear production to rather garbled lo-fi sound quality (although it usually matches the overall feel and effect of any given song).
Twenty-seven songs is quite a large presentation. Also, with material ranging over a period of five years, it is quite understandable that the quality will vary somewhat. Therein lies the one of the few main weaknesses of this double-record set: while there are many captivating and interesting sections in “3”, there are also quite a few periods of aimlessness and misdirection. Thankfully, none of the songs are ever completely terrible (with the sole exception being the obnoxious “Eden” piece), and the better songs more than make up for the weaker ones.
If you are looking for actual songs, then you may wish to look elsewhere. This is best described as electronic guitar ambience, fortified with various synthetic structures. Thus, the emphasis is on mood and feelings, rather than melody (although the few melodic pieces in the album, such as “Trees” and “Golden” are interesting in their own way), with general album standouts being “The Light Orchestra”, “Trees”, and the moody “Confusion”.
This album is my first exposure to Final, as I understand that his previous album “Solaris” was also quite good as well. Given that this is a compilation of sorts, I eagerly await his next Final effort as a unified presentation. It is best not to listen to “3” all the way through, but to find and play which song you are in the mood to listen to. Lucky for us, there are plenty of good choices to choose from in “3”.
EDIT: I am in the process of slowly cleaning up the blog, mainly in fixing the links to hyperlinks, but also polishing up various bits and pieces. Also will probably fix the first two posts to get rid of some of the excess detritus. As always, thank you all for your continued interest/support.