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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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Prog Reviewer
5 stars The acclaimed second album by the Canadian godfathers of Post Rock continues to shoulder a heavy load of high expectations, but suffers the burden with total confidence, in the process attaining a creative zenith rarely seen by other bands. The ensemble's new-found sense of unity and purpose must have been obvious from the opening notes of "Storm", the first of the album's four 20-minute anthems: the ecstatic intro to the piece is undiluted Post Rock bliss, a joyous noise the group could have bottled and patented.

But it's the rising crescendo afterward that never fails to send a shiver of ecstasy down my aging spine. And the rest of the album, spread out over two discs, follows a similar formula with the same effect. The key to the music is in its arrangement: the repetition of slow instrumental build-up, attenuated climax, and lingering coda, with quieter melancholy passages juxtaposed against moments of truly euphoric bedlam.

Other reviewers here have capably dissected each lengthy cut, sometimes inspired to colorful flights of rhetoric (see AtomicCrimsonRush's omnibus compilation), so I won't step on their toes with my own gushing prose. But take a moment to consider the larger structure of the whole album, in which each track functions like a separate movement in a single 90-minute symphony. The music itself is hardly difficult or challenging, but the entirety demands a lot of patience: this is not an album designed for casual listening.

I recommend ignoring the whimsical sub-titles (possibly included for maximum publishing royalties), in order to better hear each 20-minute opus as a complete experience. Unlike the band's more loosely assembled debut album, the discreet interior sections were pieced together in a more holistic manner better suited to the GY!BE brand of large scale composition.

With an open mind and a patient pair of ears this ambitious double-disc will stand revealed as an epic achievement, and a landmark recording of its kind. Add one more voice to the near-unanimous chorus of praise surrounding it.

Neu!mann | 5/5 |


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