The Ascension originally came out in 1981, and its influence still reverberates through the rock underground. Sonic Youth, for one, owes a huge debt to Branca. (SY guitarist Lee Ranaldo plays on this disc and pens liner notes.) Using four guitars, bass and drums, Branca's ensemble creates a caustic clangor with a Wagnerian will-to-power that makes much of The Ascension sound like a clarion call for military mobilization. (These guitars are WMD.) The awesome title track is Branca's crowning achievement, a grotesquely quixotic articulation of the desire to be superhuman -- or at least to forge the ultimate guitar tone, the all-encompassing KLANG that conjures images of the birth of stars, planets and galaxies.