We all may mellow with age, but few to the extent of Justin K. Broadrick. He joined the classic grindcore/dark-metal band Napalm Death halfway through its 1980s heyday, before co-founding Godflesh, which helped industrial metal find its cold, mechanized, introspective heart. There were hints of a future, mellower Broadrick in Godflesh’s modus operandi — the band artfully moved metal’s deathly focus from metaphor to texture. Godflesh managed to slow down metal with one hand, while quickening its pulse with another. Unusual among its metal peers, the most ferocious thing about Godflesh may have been its emphasis on restraint.
Shortly after Godflesh came Jesu, a more wide-ranging affair. And now (though Jesu continues to exist), there is Pale Sketcher, an electronic-focused act that is like someone stirred up a Jesu shake, and just skimmed the foam off it — or took an X-ray of Godflesh, and used it as a musical score. Judging by “Plans That Fade (Faded Dub)” (MP3), Pale Sketcher makes somnolent pop, the vocals muffled by an eerie softness that alternates between ethereal, crepuscular, and claustrophobic.
The track comes from a forthcoming Ghostly Records compilation, Horizon Line / Ghostly By Night, a double album that includes remixes of existing Ghostly tracks, and tastes of forthcoming releases. Pale Sketcher falls into the latter category.