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Epic! - 95%

caspian, July 26th, 2006

Jesu will never be mistaken for an ordinary band. The Self Titled LP and the Silver EP have been fairly strange mixtures of techno, industrial metal and shoegaze, with the Silver EP basically a metal Bloody Valentine. (that's a very, very good thing though.) Still I was apprehensive about this first album. Would it be as ambitious and awesome as the other ones? Luckily the answer is yes.

If you're familiar with the later cds, you'll be in fairly comfortable territory with this one. Still, there's some subtle differences that most Jesu fans will pick up on early. There's a lot less studio trickery, for one. The clean guitars are actually recognisable as guitars, and the distorted guitars, while still crushing, aren't the super mutant computerised distortion thats on the following albums. Also, there's far less layers. For those who aren't familiar with Jesu, though, this record will seem extremely left field.

The album starts off with probably the heaviest few minutes ever played by Jesu. There's definetly a bit of a Khanate style vibe in the crushing guitars, but then a choir comes in, and after a few minutes of that, you're into a whole other world entirely. The rest of the song shows you why this band got a ton of cross over indie appeal. Justin Broadrick's brilliant world weary vocals float around the mix, sounding really quite amazing. The keyboards and guitars are mixed perfectly, and it's hard to tell which is which. The song builds up to a great head rush of a climax, with pulsing, blissful guitars, and some amazing vocals, just repeating over and over again while everything else slowly fades out. It is a very long song, (19:42), but It didn't get boring for me at all. It's great, simply put.

Ruined is also fairly awesome, though it is a fairly atypical song as far as Jesu is concerned. We start off with a nice, if not amazing piano intro. We're then treated to some fairly traditional industrial riffing, with some rather odd vocals going other the top. Heavier riffing is just around the corner, and there's some shouting from Broadrick. Im not sure what yelling "Rise Rock" represents, but it sounds cool. After that, we move onto some cool mellow sections. They don't flow too well together, but on their own they are great pieces of music. Still, it's another great slab of music.

All in all, this is really freaking cool. I wouldn't say it's accessible, but I don't see why most metal fans won't dig it. Heavy and beautiful in equal parts. Highly recommended!