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GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR

Post Rock/Math rock • Canada


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Godspeed You! Black Emperor biography
Founded in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1994

GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! is an experimental nine-piece that specializes in semi-avant-garde instrumental music of haunting beauty. They've released five discs of music, with a grand total of eleven pieces of music, so you know they can write some extended ideas. Formed in 1995, GYBE! consists of Roger Tellier-Craig (guitar), Norsola Johnson (cello), Efrim Menuck (guitar), Mauro Pezzente (bass), David Bryant (guitar), Thierry Amar (bass), Sophie Trudeau (violin), Aidan Girt (percussion), and Bruce Cawdron (percussion). GYBE!'s music should probably be described as long, dark, moody, and brilliant. Their sound was once compared to TANGERINE DREAM, except that GYBE! uses no keyboards. They paint a similar sonic texture to TANGERINE DREAM, but they do it using cello, violin, upright bass, and three guitars, rather than synths. In fact, GYBE! is very organic, often bringing in spoken word samples, as well as glockenspiel.

GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR!'s best album is arguably the double-disc "Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven". It consists of four 20 minutes pieces. "Yanqui U.X.O." is also an excellent album, having two 20 minute tracks and a 30 minute track. GYBE!'s other albums are "f#a#infinity" and "Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada."

GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! is highly recommended for prog fans as Kraut Rock, epic-length experimental, or anyone looking for something a little different to sink their ears into.

BrainRock Ben, USA



See also:
- A Silver Mt. Zion
- Fly Pan Am
- Set Fire To Flames
- Valley Of The Giants
- Exhaust
- HṚṢṬA

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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven [Vinyl]Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven [Vinyl]
Constellation 2010
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F# A# (Infinity) [Vinyl]F# A# (Infinity) [Vinyl]
Constellation 2010
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Luciferian TowersLuciferian Towers
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Asunder, Sweet And Other DistressAsunder, Sweet And Other Distress
Constellation 2015
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Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada [Vinyl]Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada [Vinyl]
Constellation 2010
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'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
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GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR discography


Ordered by release date | Showing ratings (top albums) | Help Progarchives.com to complete the discography and add albums

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

4.09 | 396 ratings
F# A# ∞
1997
4.13 | 542 ratings
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
2000
3.97 | 302 ratings
Yanqui U.X.O.
2002
3.69 | 151 ratings
Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
2012
3.76 | 97 ratings
Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress
2015
3.96 | 99 ratings
Luciferian Towers
2017

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.07 | 8 ratings
All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling
1994
3.33 | 6 ratings
Split (ft. Amazezine)
1998
4.44 | 187 ratings
Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P.
1999
3.25 | 4 ratings
Tiny Silver Hammers
2004

GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 F# A# ∞ by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.09 | 396 ratings

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F# A# ∞
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Kempokid

5 stars The way this album sounds is perfectly represented by the album art, with the tone and atmosphere sounding like the soundtrack to a post apocalyptic wasteland. The imagery invoked by each slow, sweeping passage of music is incredibly vivid, flooding your head with pictures of empty, desolate plains, wind picking up light dust and blowing it past, dead trees in the distance, everything broken. Despite such vivid, melancholic imagery, the music itself is incredibly beautiful, with the string arrangements sounding absolutely amazing, never overpowering the delicate soundscapes created, but also bringing absolutely immense power when needed, leading to many moments in which I felt completely blown away.

'The Dead Flag Blues' has one of the greatest spoken word passages in music, perfectly capturing the essence of the band, with the dark brooding nature of it, backed up by a slowly building, atmospheric orchestral arrangement that sounds absolutely amazing. During the entire runtime of the track, there is honestly not too much progression, with mostly subtle changes as it goes on, simply getting somewhat more grandiose by the end. This is a common theme that I actually really like, using long stretches of music to capture a certain image or emotion, and then simply building on it slowly, in order to not disrupt what is being created. While this has the potential to end up becoming extremely boring, I find this album immersive enough to keep me engaged the entire way through. 'East Hastings' manages to be even greater than the first song, having a slow build throughout, becoming gradually more intense, having some more melodic elements to it, such as the incredible cello playing off the quiet guitar riff, slowly becoming more intense as the drumming slowly becomes more involved, faster, more complex. Instrument after instrument is slowly added, as the song continues to increase until it becomes incredibly intense. This part blows me away every time I listen to it, and is the best part of the album for sure. 'Providence' is much longer and more free flowing, with many points in which things escalate immensely, with smatterings of trumpets and other instruments throughout, and is definitely another very high quality piece, with some absolutely awe inspiringly beautiful musical passages.

While some may find this sort of music somewhat dull, due to its generally slow pace and general uneventfulness at points, I personally find this album to be absolutely incredible. The amount of emotion packed into each minute of each song is nothing short of breathtaking, along with some extremely vivid sonic imagery. Despite this only being my first taste of GY!BE, I definitely want to listen to more, because this album is an utter masterpiece in my opinion.

Best Songs: All of them

Weakest Songs: None of them

Verdict: For anyone interested in expansive soundscapes and powerful atmosphere, I highly recommend this album, but if you prefer your music to be more song focused, I'd say that you probably wouldn't enjoy this album, since I can definitely see how this could be boring to some.

 Luciferian Towers by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 99 ratings

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Luciferian Towers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

4 stars One thing that GODSPEED! YOU BLACK EMPEROR cannot be accused of and that would be that this Montreal based post-rock band has glutted the market with product. Unless of course you count the many splinter groups that have emerged in its wake. While GODSPEED was at the top of their post-rock game all throughout the 90s and turn of the millennium, after "Yanqui U.X.O," the band waited an entire decade for a followup but got back into the swing of things with a mere three year wait for "Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress." While a band like GODSPEED is utterly unpredictable as to when and if a new product will emerge, the band surprised even the most loyal fans by releasing another album a mere two years after the previous, a record for this band that takes their sweet time to craft their next move at least in modern times.

LUCIFERIAN TOWERS is the sixth full-length album and came with a list of demands for the press release which included an end to foreign invasion, an end to borders, the total dismantling of the prison?industrial complex, healthcare, housing, food and water acknowledged as an inalienable human right and the expert f.u.c.k-ers who broke this world never get to speak again. Despite the rather ominous album title, GODSPEED have changed their sound substantially from the overtly ominous to a more melodic major chord dominated form of post-rock that offers the same chamber rock effects in military march fashion but eschewed the lengthy drones, cloud covered sky gloom and doom and detached apathy that have deftly adapted as their alone with the signature mood setting staples on their albums of yore. Dare i even say this album evokes a sense of self-empowerment and optimism.

While the band has existed in a sort of suppressed victim mentality that lashes out in a stream of sonic rebellion, GODSPEED have found a new sense of duty and rather than lamenting about the injustices of the world have finally found the inner resolution to make the demands of the change that has been desired all along. Perhaps due to the fact that many of the members exist in a communal style of living with families who invoke a new sense of responsibility and pave the way for the realization that we, of course, are the saviors we've been waiting for all along. LUCIFERIAN TOWERS provides a bridge between the sense of helplessness and despair with the more empowering stance of having had enough and taking the power back through sheer will power.

Musically speaking, this is unmistakably GODSPEED! YOU BLACK EMPEROR that attacks the senses like an orchestral swarm of bees as violins pierce the soul, waltz time signatures march rank and file into eternity and organ and synth atmospheres still cover the sun but offer breaks in the cloud cover to offer the glimmering hope of the rays of sun. Also gone are any field samplings and therefore the musical trajectory slides gently through glissando glazed gallantry in a post-apocalyptic society that has had the blueprints of reconstruction suddenly beamed down from benevolent spiritual forces from another realm. While dual drumming action provides a healthy percussive spinal column of the otherwise atmospheric procession into anarchic declarations, the musical mindset is more one of placid calming acceptance of the cosmic cards drawn and the inner fortitude of how to proceed with the next logical plans of action.

GODSPEED! YOU BLACK EMPEROR successfully delivers another emotionally fueled collection of musical tracks that unite to create yet another soundtrack to life and with a shorter time run that constitutes a mere single album instead of the whopping double album monstrosities of the past. LUCIFERIAN TOWERS downplays the escapist downtime and focuses on the swirling melodies that evoke a sense of action rather than one of pacifistic stupor. While many view GODSPEED! as only an apocalyptic whirlwind tour de force of nature with their chamber post-rock intricacies, LUCIFERIAN TOWERS displays a different side of the band and how their idiosyncrasies can easily adapt to the more optimistic realms of self-empowerment. Hopefully this is a completely new chapter for GODSPEED! that finds no end in the foreseeable future.

 Luciferian Towers by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 99 ratings

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Luciferian Towers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Mellotron Storm
Prog Reviewer

4 stars No this doesn't make my elite list of Post-Rock albums but I feel this is the best album this band has done for quite some time. Hard to believe they've only released 6 studio albums and there was a ten year gap between the third and fourth studio albums. It feels like the band have maybe matured a little here although the song titles would lead to believe otherwise. Like they are still trying to relate to the University and College kids along with the non-wealthy. Anyway it feels like Sophie Trudeau is in a major way leading the troops here. Lots of droning and violin throughout this album and some catchy melodies too.

"Undoing A Luciferian Tower" requires some prayer I'd think. Sounds vibrate as we get a beat. Lots of sounds though all mixed together as they drone. A horn comes to the fore before 4 1/2 minutes and some dissonance before 5 minutes. A melody after 6 minutes breaks out to the end. "Bosses Hang" has violin and guitar to start as it quickly builds. Another guitar joins in but this one is distorted. Drums after 2 minutes. A calm around 4 1/2 minutes then it starts to build after 5 minutes. Drums return at 6 1/2 minutes as it continues to build sounding like it did earlier. The violin really creates a melody here. It kicks in harder at 13 minutes.

"Fam/Famine" has a catchy violin melody as other sounds join in. The melody eventually fades away as sounds drone. "Anthem For No State" opens with violin and keys joined by bass after a minute then guitar. It settles right down 3 minutes in then builds. Organ too. It settles again after 5 1/2 minutes then we get some noise 6 minutes in and is that bagpipes? Drums before 7 1/2 minutes as it builds more. A slow guitar melody comes in over top before 8 minutes then the violin joins in. Great sound 9 minutes in as the drums pound away. After 10 minutes it settles back but not for long as the guitar makes some noise. Violin is back after 11 minutes and leads before 12 1/2 minutes to the end.

A pleasant surprise and one I enjoyed spinning despite all the droning.

 All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1994
3.07 | 8 ratings

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All Lights Fucked On The Hairy Amp Drooling
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

3 stars THE MUSIC WORLD'S EQUIVALENT TO A BIGFOOT SIGHTING BEING ABDUCTED BY A UFO

One of the greatest mysteries or perhaps greatest hoaxes comes in the form of the alleged debut release of GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR which in the early days existed with an alternative punctuation, thus GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR! This Montreal, Quebec based music collective formed in 1994 and claims to have released their debut album titled ALL LIGHTS [%*!#]ED ON THE HAIRY AMP DROOLING in December 1994 and was limited to only 33 cassette copies.

This was well before the full band experience and the GODSPEED was only Efrim Menuck, Mauro Pezzente and Mike Moya and well before the huge sudden ascent into the heights of the post-rock world. The claims are that no copies have survived since they were all distributed to fans and then lost forever with no known backups or other formats. The album was a 4-track recording and according to a 2010 interview by Menuck, was supposedly a vocal rock album that is unlike the popular and renowned style they developed soon after their formation.

In 2013, a Reddit user named casketjack claimed to have found a copy in storage and uploaded two songs to bayfiles.net and then accordingly to YouTube with the plan to upload the entire album but supposedly didn't either a) because of fear of legal issues or b) the account was deleted shortly after having done so. Either way, sounds sketchy to me. Of the two tracks that are on YouTube, namely "Random Luvly Moncton Blue(s)" and "Dadmomdaddy," it does indeed sound like these could be legit as some sort of downer industrial indie rock turned post.

As for the legitimacy of this one, i find it dubious that absolutely no copies have survived and that not at least one member would have kept a single copy and the fact that no stories have arisen out of the purported 33 owners seems sketchy to me which leaves me with little hope that this ever existed in the first place. As a marketing gimmick i would have to say that this is brilliant as the legendary status of this release is the music world's equivalent to a bigfoot or yeti sighting being abducted by a UFO. Personally i doubt it exists but if it does it would be a welcome listening experience.

No i haven't heard this album but despite that i'll give the supposed two tracks i heard 3 stars. Since this release is utterly unobtainable and either an elaborate hoax or simply lost forever, just the legendary status of reading about this has been as entertaining as many musical listening experiences, so i'm gonna do something i would never do otherwise and give this 3 stars just for the shrouded mysteries that surround it. Chances are since i love everything GODSPEED has released that it would deserve 3 stars merely for existing. This review, of course, is subject to change!

 Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.69 | 151 ratings

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Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars After several years on hiatus, GY!BE returned with this long awaited album in 2012, and the fans went wild. GY!BE amassed many fans during their hiatus, people were growing to love their music, their brand of post rock, and many bands were being influenced by it also, along with many imitators. Even though this was their first album in many years however, it is not one that I would recommend for first timers or newcomers to their music.

This time around, the music is more dense, and based on drones more than previously, and also more of improvised music than structured, not that any of this is a bad thing, it's just less accessible (If any of it is accessible at all that is) than other albums. This album consists of 4 tracks, 2 of which are very long at about 20 minutes each, and 2 shorter tracks. The two long tracks are reworkings of songs that have been played in concert settings for many years. The shorter tracks are more drone-like.

The vinyl edition was released as two records, one a 12 inch which contained the longer tracks, and a 7 inch which contains the shorter drones. On the sleeve of the 12 inch, there are instructions as to what order to play these tracks in, since it is not in a conventional order as on other vinyl formats.

The album opens with "Mladic" at just under 20 minutes. This one starts out based on a drone and background music mostly formed from one chord. Things build off of this with fast rhythms and improvisation, and there really isn't any chord changes at all until you get past the 6 minute mark. Structure starts to become more apparent as a chord progression starts and the music continues to build. All of a sudden you will notice a theme (melody) that sounds middle eastern and pretty soon all of the instruments are playing that theme as development continues to the point that things actually get cinematic. Suddenly, the tension is broken, things stay intense for a while anyway, but things start to calm down, until the end when the track is led out by a middle eastern percussion pattern.

"Their Helicopters Sing" comes next at over 6 minutes. This entire track is built on a drone and layers are built on top of this. This is led by strings and other non-traditional rock instruments, also accompanied by guitars.

The third track is "We Drift Like Worried Fire", and as the title suggests, this starts out with a floating sort of atmosphere. There is a pattern that forms a theme, which eventually becomes more marked as percussion joins in as a regular beat at around 4 minutes. A violin soon starts playing a counter melody is played on top of everything. The real build starts at 6 minutes as churning guitars, synth and bass start to take over. Tension is released at 8 1/2 minutes as guitars trade off making sounds, tension starts to build again. This track is more of a Scandanavian feel as it gets to this point, the sound of guitars and instruments playing from the mountaintops is the feeling you get. Soon, a lone violin starts to cry and plead and other instruments join and answer back. Percussion comes back in the form of cymbals and a beating drum in the form a dirge, with strings pulsating and other sounds moving around creating an ominous atmosphere. The music builds off of this feeling now, and is the most exciting part of the album. Tempo starts to pick up as rhythm increases. The music suddenly settles into a pattern with a very nice thematic element present here. This suddenly becomes very positive feeling, a very welcome change in the music. This all stops at 17 minutes, and you get lone strings playing far away and they slowly increase in volume, fast paced rhythm joins in and the build here is really quick as that thematic feel starts again. This track is the most structured feeling part of this album and it works amazingly well with the rest of the more improvised feeling of the rest of the album.

"Strung Like Lights..." is the last track at 6 1/2 minutes. Again, this is another drone style track, but the drone is made with harmonies between various instruments with long sustained notes. If you listen closely, you can detect a warbling texture in the drone as pitch tends to change in the sustained notes. Discord enters as tortured guitars begin to be layered in.

This is an excellent album, but it took me a few more listens to begin to really appreciate it. I do love this album, just like all of their other works. To me, it's not the album I would present or recommend as a starting point, that belongs to their debut album, "Lift Your Skinny Fists..." or even the newer album "Asunder". This one is more advanced listening, like "Yanqui U.X.O.". However, this is still an excellent album, and definitely was not a letdown. I knew it was great the first time I heard it, but as I said before, it took me more listens to really appreciate it, but even so, I still knew at that time that it was excellent. This is also the reason why it took me longer to review this one, because I knew once I become more familiar with it, I would like it even more.

 Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P. by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
4.44 | 187 ratings

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Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by raigor

4 stars "Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada" is the first EP release from the Canadian experimental musical collective GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR. It was released in 1999 on vinyl by the Montreal-based record label Constellation Records and on CD by the Chicago-based Kranky Records.

The disc, clocking in at approximately 29 minutes, features two long instrumental compositions: 11-minute "Moya" and 18-minute "BBF3". The former is dedicated to the band's founding member Mike Moya who left the ensemble in 2008. In fact, this is a sort of re-working "Symphony No. 3" by Henryk Gorecki, a Polish composer of contemporary classical music (that's why it is sometimes mentioned in the concert setlists as "Gorecki"). The latter refers to the vox pop interviewee going by the name of "Blaise Bailey Finnegan III" whose eccentric ramblings form the core of the song. Finnegan recites a poem which he claims to have written himself. But in fact, the poem is mostly composed of lyrics from the song "Virus" by Iron Maiden that were written by their then-vocalist Blaze Bayley. Both tracks are just superb and can be referred as "classics" of GY!BE from their first period.

Interesting facts for collectors: The cardboard album case opens in the opposite direction of a conventional CD case; this is due to the Hebrew text being read from right to left. The front of the album contains Hebrew characters, in transliterated form, "Tohu VaVohu" (Formless and Empty). This phrase is from both Genesis 1:2 and Jeremiah 4:23, the former to describe the Earth before God separated light from dark and the latter to describe the Earth after the Lord's Day.

 Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2015
3.76 | 97 ratings

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Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE, JR/F/Canterbury & Eclectic Teams

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.

 Luciferian Towers by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 99 ratings

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Luciferian Towers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by thesameoldfears

5 stars This is the album I'd been waiting for. A little backstory, shortly after the release of the last album Asunder, Sweet I saw on Youtube that they had been playing an even newer long song that really blew me away. Then I saw the band play it live in 205 and said to drummer Timothy Herzog after the show "that new song is an instant classic." That song turned out to be titled Anthem For No State, and it was worth the wait to finally hear it released.

Godspeed! didn't pull any punches with this one. There are two shorter "drone" songs, but they each keep building up rather than staying constant, so you definitely don't get bored. The long songs are really what stand out though. Bosses Hang is a great example of what you can do with just a single melody developed effectively. As the song builds, you get a series of interlocking guitars playing off each other, but the main melody comes back at the peak. Definitely feels triumphant.

Anthem For No State is one of my favorite songs right now. The intro with violin and soft guitar is one of the most beautiful passages this band has done. But as to be expected, the song builds over 14 minutes into a giant bang of a conclusion. The last 3 minutes are an absolute triumph, right up there with King Crimson's Starless as most epic ways to close an album. Very loud playing, but also great emotion and melody.

 Luciferian Towers by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 99 ratings

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Luciferian Towers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by BrufordFreak
Collaborator Honorary Collaborator

4 stars Though intellectually I feel that I should like everything that GY!BE does, I do not. I know I should be impressed with the musicianship, with the technical and theoretical mastery on display in their compositions, I am not. When I listen to GY!BE I feel as if everything is a slowly shifting muddle of sonic mud. It seems as if every wave in the sonic spectrum, 20 to 20,000 is full, that the band leaves no space left for anchoring contrast. And for those of you who know me and my musical tastes, I like space. It has only taken me ten years, with this release, to discover why it is such a struggle for me to listen to and review GY!BE music. I am sorry that more simplistic, less accomplished compositions rate higher on my lists of enjoyable Post Rock, but that's the way it's going to have to be. I am just not wired to like this music. The more I read, the more I feel guilty for this for obviously these guys know what they're doing and work hard to accomplish their lofty goals.

1. "Undoing a Luciferian Towers" (7:47) opens with a pulsing, vibrating weave that reminds me of a more sophisticated version of a SWANS song ("The Seer Returns"). With additional instruments (winds) joining in and adding to the mix, and a few key/chord shifts, the sound becomes cacophonous and almost overwhelming to me while maintaining that SWANS-like feel to the end. (8/10) 2. "Bosses Hanging (Pt. I, II, & III)" (14:42) strummed bass, tremoloed other stringed notes, precede the melody-presenting distorted electric guitar--until the 2:09 mark when drums and other instruments join (viola/violin) to present us with a kind of military funeral march. Kind of cool! At 3:13 more electrified stringed instruments (mostly guitars) join in in the higher registers, bringing a kind of plaintive urgency to the music. But this is only temporary, as at 4:22 everything drops away leaving a single guitar to play its two note arpeggio ad infinitum while a fast tremolo violin note accompanies. Gradually a plethora of other stringed instruments join in--all bringing with them their own two-note arpeggio to form quite an interesting TERRY RILEY-minimalist weave. When drums rejoin mid-seventh minute, the pace and complexity of the weave begins to build to a minor frenzy--kind of like the end violin solo in THE WHO's "Baba O'Riley." Halfway through the bass returns to strumming as the near-military drumming returns. Then the music stagnates and shifts, stagnates and shifts, several times over the next two minutes--including a couple of key/chord changes. At 11:25 the speed of these shifts quickens and a new upper register violin melody is added giving the song a little feeling of hopefulness. It's all here: death and destruction, chaos and confusion, as well as hope and optimism--this latter expressed beautifully (intentionally?) with the ending melody from (or a variation on) THE BEATLES' song "With a Little Help From My Friends." This song makes me appreciate GY!BE's genius. (9/10)

3. "FamFamine" (6:44) opens with some loosely conjoined one-and two-note droning from a variety of stringed instruments. Gradually the weave tightens and forms into a kind of FRIPP-ENO edgy-ambient thing. Interestingly, I would have liked this one had a JOHN LENNON/BEATLES sound and melody not appeared and moved to center in the fifth and sixth minutes (the same melody from the opening of the album's opening song). (8.5/10)

4. "Anthem for No State (Pt. I, II, & III)" (14:41) opens in a quiet simplistic way that I should like, but the use of the pedal steel (or "infinite guitar," saw, dobro, or whatever that whining, droning, incessantly sustaining sound is caused by) is not to my liking. Also the heavily fuzzed guitar doing most of the lead work is just to fuzzy for my tastes. The Country Western simplicity is maintained for six full minutes before bagpipes and distorted guitar strumming take over and turn the song into a SWANS-like emotional release. (Who came first, SWANS or GY!BE?) With four minutes left the song finally achieves full development. Nice drumming behind the weave of electrified stringed instruments. At 12:30 the song finally reveals a melody worth noting, worth remembering--which plays out with the song's finish. (8/10)

 Luciferian Towers by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2017
3.96 | 99 ratings

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Luciferian Towers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by villageglobal

5 stars After many listens, this is an amazing album. They project the word Hope in their live performances, and this is what this album sounds like. The 6 minutes or so drone pieces are huge walls of sounds, but less electronic than the ones on Asunder or Allelujah.

The violin takes a lot of place and builds beautiful melodies. The longer 14 minutes pieces are great too and are pretty catchy, I often find myself humming the melodies sometimes. Bosses hang gets a bit repetitive after a while, but not enough to make the song boring.

It's always a pleasure to discover new Godspeed material, this isn't my favorite album but it feels fresh and hopeful.

Thanks to ProgLucky for the artist addition. and to Quinino for the last updates

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