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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 | 517 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars It took a surprisingly long while, and for a time I was afraid it would never come, but in the end, my patience paid off. And when that time came, something flew up out of nowhere and hit me over the head like a ten-pound bag of bricks. I was left dazed, gasping for air, struggling to maintain consciousness as wave upon wave of admiration and awe washed over every pore of my body. I had never experienced anything like this. Sure, I had experienced something close, indeed, I had come within inches of this same experience multiple times before, but this time, I did not just look over the edge, feeling the thrill of viewing the long drop, I actually went over the edge, plunging downward, and feeling the actual thrill that comes with that, and cannot be achieved simply by looking.

The above was my reaction when I first "got" this album, which occurred during the first climax of the opening track, Storm. And I still have not had an experience like it ever again, and nor do I ever expect to. As I said in the previous paragraph, I had come close, and indeed I had. Some of the climaxes I had heard on Agaetis Byrjun (by Sigur Ros) and The Earth Is Not A Cold Dead Place (by Explosions in the Sky) were quite incredible. But I still got closer. The Godspeed You! Black Emperor song Moya (on the Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP) was quite powerful the first time I heard it, and still is now. But the closest I came was on the third degree climax (climax within a climax within a climax) of Mogwai's Ratts of the Capital (album: Happy Songs For Happy People). None of those, however, prepared me for what I was about to experience with this album.

Don't expect, based on my comments of this one particular climax, that this album has only one moment at all worthwhile on it. In fact, you'd be harder pressed to find one bad moment than thirty good ones one this album. And then again, maybe it would be hard to find thirty good moments on this album, but that is only in a good way. The tracks flow together well, almost as if they are one single entity (while still maintaining separate identities), and thus the album can almost be considered as a single "moment," one that lasts over eighty minutes and is blissful for the entire time. It is really hard to find problems with this album, it truly is.

In fact, the biggest problem with this album has nothing to do with the music, but rather the associations implied by this album's very nature. This is a two disc album, with four songs, each around twenty minutes long, and this will, for many prog fans, bring up natural connections to the similarly formatted Tales From Topographic Oceans (Yes). Whether Tales is a bad album or not has little to do with this review, and I will leave that to you to decide. Given it's rather controversial status among many prog fans, however, this association by similarity may not bode well for this album. So I'd like to clear up that the two albums sound nothing alike. Whereas Tales is full of countless solos and includes vocals, this is a purely instrumental album (well, almost) where the band clearly gels as a unit with no one player taking center stage. It focuses on moods and textures, fantastic buildups leading to jaw-dropping climaxes, and the like to the perfectly makes its mark on the prog, and, more noticeably, the post-rock genre. This music is not only prog (an easily defineable genre of music with a set of specific charasterics), but also progressive (innovative, inventive, and new, music that pushes the boundaries of music new directions).

In short, this is a must own album. I'm torn between rating it four and five stars. On the one hand, it is a groundbreaking album, one of the most important albums ever recorded, innovative and new and without a bad moment. On the other hand, it's not quite perfect. In the end, I have to go with four stars (but really meaning closer to 4.9), but keep in mind that I regard this as one of the greatest albums in my collection. Every moment on this album is just as powerful to me now as that one climax was when I first "got" the album. I cannot recommend it highly enough, and not progressive music collection can be called complete without it.

Pnoom! | 4/5 |


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