Jesu – Ascension album review

In case you haven’t heard, Jesu is a three piece post metal-band with Justin Broadrick as their frontman. Justin is jack of all trades, performing all of the instruments and vocals alone, back in 2004 on their first EP. Needless to say, what Mary was to Jesus, Broadrick is to Jesu; a proud parent.

During my first listen to the album, I thought, “Hmm, not my cup of tea, but may be more suitable for a bus full of dead people.” However, as I kept getting more familiar with the album, I realized I was wrong. Jesu’s album is overwhelmingly sad.  Lyrics seemingly become whispers, overwhelmed by dark melodies and tangy guitar. This is Jesu’s one up over other artists. While other bands may try to rely on lyrics to communicate the mood of the song, Broadrick’s guitar is the one that tells the story. This is only comparable to Tyra Banks teaching her top model contestants to smile with their eyes (“smize”, yes with a “z”). What I am struggling to say, is that Jesu’s can make you weep in the first 10 seconds of their intro. To think that Justin used to be in Napalm Death (yeah, The Napalm Death) is simply unbelievable.

I am not sure what is this whole not judging the book by its cover business, but nine times out of ten, you can judge an album by it’s album cover. A deserted playground in black and white is depicted on Ascension. Justin Broadrick could very well be a mourning man, because between vicious riffs and the haunting sounds we can surely cover all 7 stages of grief.

The song that stands out is “Ascension,” and not because it’s the last track of the album. Completely lyric free, Jesu allows you to fill in your own blanks. This song is either beautifully sad or tragically peaceful. It’s truly up to you. Pretty post-modern, huh?

This album is perfect for metal heads who hide giant, soft hearts under their unwashed t-shirts. And if mental institutions played this music to their patients, maybe we would live in a better world for it. A solid 7 for making me revisit the 7 stages of grief.

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