Review: Jesu – Christmas

Ironically, what sounds like a hideous idea on paper has produced the strongest Jesu track since the release of Conqueror back in early 2007, and whilst it’s still a long way from the quality and promise demonstrated during the Self-Titled/Heart Ache golden age, it’s a vast improvement on the messy and vacuous Jesu of late.

It’s a huge relief to hear a Jesu track that doesn’t slump into mediocrity for the second half (as has become the norm these days), and “Christmas” cranks up into double-time for its closing minutes in a fully energised, rock-out resurgence. Despite being comprised of all of the same elements that feel hideously synthetic and forced together on previous outings, everything slots together neatly on “Christmas” – plus that gruesomely down-tuned Schecter 8-string brings a delightful heaviness to the riffs of the first half.

But like the Pale Sketcher album released a few months back, the Pale Sketcher remix plods without much purpose. The sound of it is pretty enough – glacial choir pads, reverberating electro beats – but it hovers uncomfortably in the middle of nowhere, meandering around any sense of intent or direction and eventually stalling to a dissatisfying close.

The Final remix is acceptable, shattering the original components into shards of echo and delay that blur into a tempoless blanket. Guitar and melody begin to make themselves explicitly known as the piece draws to an end, like a homely and familiar form emerging from the mist. This is essentially the sort of material I expect from Final, and whilst it doesn’t desire to reach out beyond that, it’s pleasant enough to be passable.

But it’s the Jesu offering that excites me the most – particularly because it was recorded during the sessions for the upcoming album due out on Caldo Verde. Fingers crossed there’s even better material to follow on the full-length.