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Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven CD (album) cover


Godspeed You! Black Emperor


Post Rock/Math rock

4.13 | 522 ratings

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The T
Special Collaborator
Honorary Collaborator
3 stars 2007 Change: I've heard the album a couple more times since I wrote this, and with time, the experience actually got weaker. The music wears out quickly and it's my duty to correct the rating and bring it to three stars, a good purchase but not essential. Interesing to add to your collection if you NEED a post-rock album.

Well, at last one worth listening to...

I'm talking about the post-rock genre and the huge dissapointment it has been to me. Since I started venturing into this territory, I haven't had a pleasant experience but boring, depressing ones. That has partially changed with my hearing of this album, GODPSEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR!'s Lift your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven.

My usual complaints about the post-rock genre can be found here, too, but in smaller doses and, the biggest difference in favor of this album, less evident because of INTERESTING IDEAS, which I hardly could find in Sigur Ros and Mogwai. Yes, this is still depressing music; yes, this is still just a lot of crescendos and variations in intensity with little in the way of MELODIC and THEMATIC variation. But both problems are harder to detect here. In the "mood" department, what this album has going for it is that IS NOT THE SAME all the time, so, even if very scarcely, we actually get a few "up" (if such a word can be used with this genre) moments, with some LIGHT within them, where future and life doesn't look so dead-end like in other post-rock releases (and the metal version of this genre, for that matter). Also, while still true to the "crescendo-only" formula, the ideas are a little bit more developed here, we can actually find themes that are WORKED WITH and not only REPEATED TILL EXHAUSTION.

Another huge difference in the experience I had with GYBE with the ones I had with other bands is that here there's a lot of instrumental elements to be found and to be praised: we can hear the members in GYBE are skilled performers that know how to carry an idea just by adding textures and intensity (as I said, though more complex, it's still post-rock). We can HEAR the DRUMS! Not that an album NEEDS a particular instrument to be good, but if an instrument is present, why not make it HEARABLE? The production therefore is very, very good, of the utmost clarity. The piano, when it appears, sounds with crystal-clear purity, as do the other instruments.

What I think is interesting about this album is, as I said, the TEXTURE work you can find. In terms of thematic variety, there's not much to be found, but the great harmonic work of the musicians make up for the lack of it with beautiful landscapes that transport you to cold, deserted lands. Yes, I don't think there could be anyone that says post-rock takes him to sunny places... but here we are carried to icy lands with patience, with some intelligence, without making the journey a boring, excruciating one.

What a great thing is that this be just an instrumental album. After listening to Sigur Ros' annoying "voice" (which I categorized as the most annoying thing I've ever heard), it makes a lot of sense in music like this to let the sounds do the talking. If it's impossible to think of actual words for a song, it's better not to include vocals, and allow the instruments to take upon themselves the task of expressing what the music wants to express; GYBE! manages to do that with a degree of success I didn't think a post-rock band could achieve.

All in all, a very decent album, even a good one. For me, for my own personal taste, it's still not my kind of thing. It's still too cold a music, it's still too repetitive a music, I still think there's not enough thematic variation to keep me fully interested. But as far as post-rock goes, I doubt I'll encounter anything better. And, personal tastes aside, there's enough originality and innovation going on as to warrant a recommendation even for people not yet acquainted with this genre. As a matter of fact, I guess this is the ONLY logical doorway to this genre. I will give it 4 stars because I think it's an excellent addition to your collection, that is if you want your collection to be diverse and to have a little bit of everything...

... In this case, the BEST of something.

Recommended for: fans of GYBE; fans of post-rock music; fans of post-metal music that can take non-metallic music; open-minded music fans that want to try something they haven't tried as of yet.

Not recommended for: post-rock haters: this album, though a LOT better than others, won't change your mind because it's STILL POST-ROCK; and, as always with this genre's records, I have to tell depressed people to stay away from this. Because if you don't, we could be saying godspeed to you... whether you're a black emperor or not.

The T | 3/5 |


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