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Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress CD (album) cover


Godspeed You! Black Emperor


Post Rock/Math rock

3.75 | 92 ratings

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siLLy puPPy
4 stars By the time the second decade of the 21st century had begun, hardcore fans of GODSPEED! YOU BLACK EMPEROR probably were under the impression that the band had released their best output and moved on to the myriad other projects they had been creating and when the band finally emerged with "Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! ten years after "Yanqui U.X.O," fans may have been tempted to believe the band was finally getting a second wind and finding new inspiration however in reality that album was really just reworked from unreleased material that was churned out during the prolific era around the turn of the millennium. It wasn't until three years later in 2015 with the release of their fifth album ASUNDER, SWEET AND OTHER DISTRESS that GYBE! came up with a newly created album of original material. True that the members had been busy with their offshoot solo projects ranging from Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, Fly Pan Am and Esmerine just to name a few so it's not like the creative forces disappeared into the ethers but rather were dissipated by outside influences. It's always great for a totally unique sounding band like GYBE! to reunite and pick up where they left off and that's exactly what they do on ASUNDER, SWEET AND OTHER DISTRESS.

Like previous albums, GYBE! continues the post-rock compositional style of creating long sprawling tracks (in this case four) that slowly unfurl out in patience testing doses and ultimately connect to create a single long album listening experience. ASUNDER also happens to be the shortest album the band had recorded to date as well and clocked in at a more normal time limit of just over forty minutes which IMHO suits the band quite well as the music is just as apocalyptic and intense as ever. "Peasantry or 'Light! Inside of Light!'" starts things off and has a distinct heavy guitar riff which distinguishes it from the more chamber rock drone type compositions of the past, but have no fear. It is simply one instrument amongst many to add an extra melodic element to the sprawling musical ant march across the great divide. The opening track begins with a heavy looped guitar riff but becomes incrementally softer and diminishes its heft as it slowly dissolves into the droning middle tracks "Lambs' Breath" and "Asunder, Sweet" which for all intents and purposes conspire to give the feel of a single behemoth track before the heavier rock sound make a reprise on the closing "Piss Crowns Are Trebled."

While it's true that at this stage there is no more wow factor with this type of apocalyptic post-rock soundtrack music as it is a good twenty years old at this point, it never fails to amaze me how good this type of music can be and despite the minimalism and test of endurance as the sounds slowly ratchet one way or another like a complex carbon-based molecule chain, GYBE! show why they are the masters of emotional manipulation as if they connected our consciousness to a transistor knob where they can simply tweak our reactions with the slightest bends of notes or the infinitely long suspension of others. As with all their music, there is a huge debt owed to the minimalism of musique concrète, impressinalism and progressive electronica from the past, but GYBE! manage to take the best features of those disparate genres and take them to a sort of post-apocalyptic world where a world like Blade Runner churns on after the utter collapse of reality as we know it.

Absolutely no one sounds like GYBE! including all the splinter bands that have emerged in their absence, so this is a style of sophisticated post-rock that i personally can't get enough of. While ASUNDER, SWEET AND OTHER DISTRESS hasn't seemed to have gotten the love that its predecessors have, there is no reason that it shouldn't as it delivers all the GYBE! goods in a fully mature fashion that adds enough twists and turns to ensure that they are not simply dog paddling in the same musical arenas time and time again. This album is excellent and an intense and satisfying return of one of the masters of horrific grandiosity and a sign that the band is still alive and kicking despite the incessant flow of its member's outside projects.

siLLy puPPy | 4/5 |


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