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Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! CD (album) cover


Godspeed You! Black Emperor


Post Rock/Math rock

3.72 | 193 ratings

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Prog Reviewer
4 stars A decade ago the GY!BE nonet entered limbo after releasing arguably the purest expression of their nocturnal Post Rock sound, in the enigmatic "Yanqui U.X.O." album. With nothing else left to say, why waste any more time trying to say it?

A lot of imitators have come and gone in those ten years, and the style of music they championed has long been codified (I almost wrote 'embalmed'). But now the dormant Godspeed has awakened, and reclaimed its spot at the top of the Post Rock pyramid.

What's immediately apparent in the new album is a resurgence of energy, with an emphasis on heavier rock dynamics. In classic fashion the album presents a pair of typically epic 20- minute workouts, alternating with two brief soundscapes adrift in dark ambient waters. The format hasn't changed dramatically, including the inscrutable cover art and track titles (I'm willing to bet something named "Strung Like Lights at Thee Printemps Erable" would only make sense to a native Québcéois). But in no way does the new CD simply regurgitate past glories.

Expect some inspired, otherworldly drones and dynamic neo-Krautrock grooves, oppressive and uplifting at the same time. The escalating motorik rhythms and walls of noise in "Mladic" (named after the Serbian war criminal?) and "We Drift Like Worried Fire" are spellbinding, the former standing out as possibly the single most awesome piece of music ever penned by this very loud outfit. And the weird burst of what sounds like an army of crazed Tibetan lamas having a percussion fest at the end of the track offers further evidence of the band's willingness to sack and pillage new musical worlds.

The album works best when placed in the context of the band's entire recorded career, in chronological order. Heard that way, "'Allelujah!" is not only a thrilling comeback, but a decisive late-inning victory: a masterpiece patiently waiting to be acknowledged as such. 4.99 stars, anyone?

Neu!mann | 4/5 |


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