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Boomkat Product Review:
It's hard to believe that 'Ascension' is only the third Jesu album (after 2007's genre-defying 'Conqueror'). Justin Broadrick and pals have kept up a steady stream of lengthy EPs and splits in the downtime, and I suppose I assumed that one of those must have been an album. Here's the news, it wasn't, and listening to 'Ascension' it makes perfect sense that Broadrick took the time to formulate a measured follow-up to his breakthrough record, and leave the experiments to the EPs. 'Ascension' appears on Mark Kozelek's Caldo Verde label, and somehow that makes perfect sense. Broadrick has cited Red House Painters as an influence before, but it has never been more obvious than here with his strained vocals cleaner and more affective than ever, with the guitars no longer totally obliterated by walls of distortion. At times I think if the dense production was stripped back even further there might be a simple, melancholy acoustic song hiding behind the sofa, but thankfully Broadrick's patented wall-of-sound makes these numbers shimmer in a way that only he can. Much has been said about his love of shoegaze music, and these stylistic leanings are still present, 'Ascension' still has distant memories of the Napalm Death days, but through a THC haze of 'Loveless' and 'Nowhere' worship. The result is a tender album, with a maturity and melancholy seeping through the grit of previous Jesu records.