Jesu - Ascension

Posted on Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Justin Broadrick’s Jesu are one of those strange anomalies, a band that have never written a bad song. Sure some are better than others, but factor in 16 recordings over the span of seven years, and the fact becomes even more amazing. Before I get into Ascension, I want to thank JK and Hydra Head for re-releasing the majestic debut Heart Ache last year. Fan of Jesu or not, this is absolutely essential listening. I couldn’t tell you how many nights I’ve stumbled in the door drunk at 3am and listened to the epic 20-minute title track on repeat in the dark alone, “…but really there’s nothing…” echoing over and over in my mind long after I’ve passed out. But on to the present, Ascension is like every other Jesu piece, similar but unique. Nine songs of slow-but-steady mournful hymns plus an outro. Just imagine the heaviest, darkest Pop music you can. I know it sounds crazy, but Broadrick himself had essentially stated something similar in a quote I once read. Unlike some of his releases in the past, no particular song jumps out as a standout track, but the album flows so well and the vibe achieved is a stunning mix of equal parts depressing and soothing. Not all doom and gloom, mind you, but it’s the uplifting passages I seem to find the most morose for some odd reason. Mixed with the death of a loved one, this album could potentially be fatal, which pretty much goes for the entire Jesu catalog while I’m at it. I’ve heard many a drunken Godflesh vs. Jesu argument before. They actually can become quite heated. As monumental and groundbreaking as Streetcleaner was, I think it’s a no-brainer that Jesu is the hands down winner by a longshot. Ascension is another brilliantly recorded testament to that verdict. This is pure emotion.

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