JK Flesh “New Religions Old Rules”

Even though Justin Broadrick has been using the JK Flesh alias for about a decade or so, it’s an unfortunate given that he’ll always be better known as the Godflesh guy. Obsessively prolific under many monikers, JK Flesh has been the strain of thought he’s used for electronic influences, and here he’s creating music that simultaneously furrowed brows and nods heads in strobe lit rooms. 

Where he’s previously used the alias to work in dread techno, structured noise sounds, and post-dubstep angry atmospheres, this is an industrial take on minimal techno, and it’s brutal. There’s enough background grime and bizarro sound loops here to convincingly give the whole affair a resoundingly handheld feel. Certainly not strictly 4/4, most of the rhythms here still have a bit of swing in them, but the record’s focus is its filthy basslines and unrelenting drums.

Undeniably his strongest and most instant release since 2017’s Suicide Estate, and stuck on the upcoming releases shelf since 2019, this is clearly designed for your dungeon’s dancefloor. Forty-three minutes of focused lean concussive techno, New Religions Old Rules is broken Throbbing Gristle sounds over pounding electronic beats. The bass rattles with the kind of aggressive wet tones you either get with broken speaker wetness or a set of ugly effects. The bass line of “Gullibility” is a particularly gnarled descending mocking laugh, the drops are nasty too. Tracks like the tone-setting “Brain Wash” and “Herd Mentality” definitely lead the way in terms of a bad-tempered ‘heads down / stay away from me’ club attitude. The final two sinewy tracks, “Targeted” and “Willing Servant” lean a bit more towards Acid than this no wave atmosphere, although they are no less monomaniacal about their bleak grind. 

With artwork designed to slip right in next to your Broken Flag label collection, both the visual and aural choices here are determinedly stark and unsympathetic, putting this latest work back into that outsider industrial aesthetic.

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