The new Jesu kind of bored me, to be honest. It's long, as an album, and all the tracks are long, and nothing seemed to be happening for really long stretches of time. Which is probably the point, somehow, but I didn't love it the way I loved Conqueror.
Anyway, my review, up today at Dusted.
It takes a certain amount of hubris to name your band Jesu. And even more to name your fourth album Ascension. It’s surely no accident that a Google image search of the two terms yields not just Justin Broadrick’s post-Rapture-ish cover art (a deserted playground, a fog-bound park without a trace of human life), but also Sunday-school visuals of Jesus rising up into heaven. The message is clear, if a little blasphemous. On the third day, the stone rolled away from the cave and the master appeared, wearing luminous white robes and floating skyward on clouds of glory and full-throttle guitar distortion.
Not surprisingly, then, Ascension reaches for the sublime early and often. Its slow-moving textures of guitar superimpose giant crashes of sound on the lightness of synthesizer, the faint reassurance of Broadrick’s singing. These songs move at a glacial pace, melodies evolving over multiple measures of sound. And yet, for all their self-conscious grandeur, the tracks on Ascension seem more turgid than revelatory. “Broken Home” moves at a ritual pace, a bell-clear synthesizer melody slipping in and out of the shadow of obliterating guitars, its plainsong verse and vocal flourishes lifting improbably under a ponderous weight. Yet lovely as these elements are, they don’t go anywhere. The song proceeds in a stately march to nowhere, its heaviness an end in itself. And that seems to be the problem with a good bit of Ascension -- that weight never transmutes itself into meaning or crescendo into illumination.