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GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR

Post Rock/Math rock • Canada


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Godspeed You! Black Emperor picture
Godspeed You! Black Emperor biography
Founded in Montreal, Quebec, Canada in 1994 - Histus between 2004-2009 - Still active as of 2017

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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Luciferian TowersLuciferian Towers
CONSTELLATION 2017
$20.99
$16.56 (used)
Song Of The Silent LandSong Of The Silent Land
CONSTELLATION 2004
$11.97
$8.75 (used)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven Vinyl 2LPGodspeed You! Black Emperor: Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven Vinyl 2LP
Original recording · Double LP
Constellation
$50.00 (used)
Godspeed You! Black Emperor: F_A_° (1995-1997) Vinyl LPGodspeed You! Black Emperor: F_A_° (1995-1997) Vinyl LP
Constellation
$26.95

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GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR discography


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

4.09 | 408 ratings
F# A# ∞
1997
4.13 | 570 ratings
Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
2000
3.98 | 310 ratings
Yanqui U.X.O.
2002
3.68 | 159 ratings
Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!
2012
3.76 | 100 ratings
Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress
2015
3.94 | 110 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
2.00 | 1 ratings
Split (GY!BE / Fly Pan Am - Sunshine + Gasoline / L'espace Au Sol Est Redessine Par D'immenses Panneaux Bleus
1998
4.44 | 193 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
 Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2012
3.68 | 159 ratings

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

Review by sgtpepper

3 stars A long awaited comeback by GY!BE was worth waiting for since the band deliver a decent record coming out of their roots while mildly experimenting and progressing further. Rather than providing another lengthy album as usual, less than an hour must suffice which may be a good decision based on the quality of material and yes, it is in this case.

GY!BE don't provide anything breathtaking, continuation of previous efforts without disruptions is the main credo. Out of two short tracks, the latter is better and less monotonous although both could be classified as drones, nothing to be stand in the line for.

"Mladic" starts off promising with distorted sounds and original textures before post-rock thundering drums kick in and distorted guitars build the main dark motive moving to a fast pacing apocalypse with cellos, bass, multiple guitars falling into abyss. Other post-rock motives are not that original, feel recycled, apart from the good sounding mellotron or its clone. The final majestic is catchy.

"We Drift Like Worried Fire" is my preferred track due to more changes. Glockenspiel with mellow but serious tones accompanied by violin lets the listener in great expectations. The track is more optimistic than a usual GY!BE track. I love distorted multiple guitars in the middle of the composition but also leading violins and cellos with changing drums are very atmospheric. A surprising fast-paced post-rock section still manages to develop before the end of the track. The end of this track is very epic and serves as the album apex. It must be great and chilly listening to it live.

A good album that has a lot to build on in the future.

 Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.13 | 570 ratings

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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars In my opinion, the works by GYBE! in 2000 and 2002 belong to the peak of post-rock and are genre-defining. GYBE! has further perfected their sound while staying ambitious, removing narrations and some other not so much interesting noises that appeared in the 90's. The result is a more accessible, slightly less experimental, more rock than classical music leanings which means also more majestic landscapes. The atmosphere remains dark, reflective.

"Storm" has a cresciendo water river meandering start that brings actually happiness more than despair. The soft part with guitar and violin in the background is absorbing, then cello joins. The motive returns and chords became very serious and so goooood with dramatic echoes staying in the mix. Repeated marching drums keep the tension in the air until a fragile sorrowful piano ends the song. This is the quality of highest calibre and many other post-rock bands would dream of such impressive composition.

"Static" is more similar to the previous releases with calmer ambience but apocalyptic sounding studio tricks and mournful violin. The pace is accelerating and instruments increasing tones resulting in expression of bleakness and furious despair. Relaxing cello and ambiance sounds balance the track towards the end.

"Sleep" has indeed a sleepy beginning with strings and calm guitars noodling, however the bleak motive lets you know what to expect in the following minutes. Drums only emerge after six minutes with fast speed. You can also hear trumpet and high-pitched guitars in a more straightforward post-rock manner. Electronica beat reminiscent of Mogwai before finale comes with multiple guitars.

"Antennas to heaven" starts in a bluesy acoustic format to change completely to human voices and then intensive guitar- dominated arena accompanied by violins. One of the few guitar solos can be heard in this track, albeit not a progressive rock one but still enriching ;). The rest of the composition is experimental but not of high quality and feels forced to have at least 18 minutes done.

A masterpiece of post-rock that you should dive in.

 Yanqui U.X.O. by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2002
3.98 | 310 ratings

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Yanqui U.X.O.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by sgtpepper

5 stars Another 5-star masterpiece by GY!BE. Although the band hadn't much developed and progressed since their 2000's effort and there aren't many steps forward, the amount of talent and sheer musicianship is irresistible and undeniable. Yanqui is the most cohesive album by the band without incorporating narrations and new age elements that could be distracting from the focus. Drumming has become more progressive and likely impressive with rhythm shifts. It is also the most accessible work by the band from their old era.

"09-15-00" Part 1 has a gently flowing start with cello and guitars.Oh, and can you hear mellotron? Bleakness is coming after the first 8 minutes announced by the chord sequence and increasing volume. Drums perform irregular pattern and violins with cellos create a brilliant simple line. Part 2 has a reflective mood with violin.

The contrast is coming soon with "Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls" having excellent sequence of sinister chords and you can easily imagine rockets falling, with melody played by cello/violin being absolutely bleak, among the bleakest by GY!BE. It was one of the tracks that immediately caught my attention a long time ago. Massive wall of sound by guitars and drumming is overwhelming. Even after the drums fade way, creepy cello keeps walking with solemn clarinets and trumpet keep fascinating atmosphere before guitars help repeating the motive. Tension keeps high when drums return however there two-three chords that mirror a glimpse of hope or is it a feeling of acceptance?

"Mother[%*!#]er=redeemer" are the closest track to progressive rock with their original non-trivial drumming and various moods. Especially the second part reminds of a bit of some Genesis drumming hooks. Of course, the classic post-rock guitar solo make this composition not forgettable, too.

And after that brilliant album, who would have said that the fans would have to wait next 10 years!

 Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada E.P. by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1999
4.44 | 193 ratings

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

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars The album develops the sound and craftmanship of the band, especially when it comes to the first masterful track "Moya". There isn't a single weak second when listening to it. The first evidence to that is a combination of melancholic violin and cello that make you feel being alone in a small dark room with a clear motive developing. The second distinct part with classic post-rock distorted guitar, drums and bass is majestic as usual, taking each beat proudly and wandering around. The peak is reached with two guitars, one providing colourful riffs in the background and lead guitar with menacing melody. Drums become very intensive. Violin finishes the song on a calm note, afterwards.

The second, longer track "Blaise Bailey Finnegan III" starts with a memorable interview due to its contents, sinister intensity and music copying the intensity of voice. With repeated listenings, it becomes annoying to me, music would do without meaningless words and negative emotions. Was this to show the radical left views of the band? The typical post-rock part with two guitars comes only after 7 minutes marred by another monologue but not for long. Great drumming with guitar echoes coupled with violin conjure up real power. Classical music moments with cello and violin let the listener forget about the negative emotions from the dialogue in the beginning of the track.

This album has 5 stars for its creativity and originality and 4 stars for the composition and execution.

 F# A# ∞ by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.09 | 408 ratings

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

Review by sgtpepper

4 stars Very enigmatic and different music from other post-rock acts of that time. Dark and intimate soundscapes building up in cresciendo. The sound of guitar even if calm sounds desolate or mourning to me. Monologues contribute to its sinister mood. Calming violin is not virtuoso one but adds to mournful atmosphere. The first track "The dead fag blues" has a quiet first part and OK monologue but it is the second half with drums that contains the trademark post-rock guitar and grandiose wall of sound. Involving banjo in the last country-like section turns the composition into happier landscape.

"East Hastings" starts with a great exotic and nervous sounding excursion into a developing 3-rd country market. Slowly a perfect dark motive played by guitar creeps in and thanks to violin or cello, it feels like wind is blowing in the background. Cello takes over a simple lead. The climax is reached with drums emerging and accelerating into a fast marching rockin train. The rest of the composition is experimental about soundscapes and not too memorable.

"Providence" has a majestic violin and drums walking and a very intensive end with loud guitar and drums.

A wonderful and unique piece of music but there isn't so much packed in as some may expect for 63 minutes.

 Split (GY!BE / Fly Pan Am - Sunshine + Gasoline / L'espace Au Sol Est Redessine Par D'immenses Panneaux Bleus by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Singles/EPs/Fan Club/Promo, 1998
2.00 | 1 ratings

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Split (GY!BE / Fly Pan Am - Sunshine + Gasoline / L'espace Au Sol Est Redessine Par D'immenses Panneaux Bleus
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Collaborator Eclectic Team

— First review of this album —
2 stars This was a 7" split single that came with Issue 4 of the Montreal based magazine "aMAZEzine!" in 1998. It features two great bands from the Constellation Records label, "Godspeed You Black Emperor!" and "Pan Am". It features two tracks not available on any other collection in the form that they are in on this single.

There is an early track from GYBE! in the studio version of "Sunshine + Gasoline" that is mostly just a study of post rock style, heavily layered music which is an okay track, but just basically a crescendo to a climax, fairly simple and nothing you really haven't heard before. It's a bleak and desolate track in the same vein as "Moya". The b-side is a very shortened version of a Fly Pan Am track that was originally over 13 minutes long. This version is just over 2 minutes, so, it pretty much just sounds like a small snippet from the quite minimal track.

Because of this rarity, it is only really going to be appealing to collectors or big fans, which I am. But it definitely isn't something worth looking for if you are a casual fan or someone looking to sample either band, because neither track really showcases their overall sound. Anyway, it's a find to get excited about if you are a collector, but really nothing else.

 Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 2000
4.13 | 570 ratings

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Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Post Rock/Math rock

Review by DamoXt7942
Forum & Site Admin Group Avant/Cross/Neo/Post Teams

5 stars At first would you please let me say this creation should be kinda textbook of Post Rock? 'Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven' was released in 2000 as GY!BE's second studio-based full-length (quite longer) album, that is even currently (about 20 years or more later) considered as one of Post Rock masterpieces. Featuring four over 20 minute tracks upon four sides of lps, the album goes forward without letting you feel long nor redundant, exactly like a time machine or an empty dream. Basically there are a bunch of repetitive distorted melody phrases but they have plenty of sound-oriented appearances and directly make an appeal to human nature from the beginning until the end.

The first GY!BE song for me was 'Sleep' where are many repetitive, downtempo, dreamy and hypnotic paragraphs ... fuzzy shoegaze guitar play is pretty impressive and depressive. The more you go ahead, the stronger and louder their sound launch is (sounds like they might give expression of REM sleep in the middle distortion), and suddenly and eventually you again fall into deep sleep in the beginning of the latter part. Sleeping at one night can be supremely appeared by their instrumental technique and well-created melody lines.

'Static' is another gem quite epic and fragile but magnificently tense, pressing, and dominant. Wondering why they can shoot such an innovative lesion here and there. Each line should be slightly different, diverse from others, even if repeated in a similar manner. The last 'Antennas To Heaven' can be thought as sorta endless heavenly chorus by all of their instruments flooded with bankruptcy ... like the last piano touch of 'A Day In The Life', the last loooong breath should be worth listening without breathing (lol).

Anyway their real masterpiece is the starter 'Storm' you can understand methinks. In the beginning a signal gun by the horn section and a long, destructed violin bow ... both are fantastic and fanatic. The former part sounds like a quietness just before a storm. However, the stronger a wind gets, the more nervous and painful people around there should be ... their powerful sound appearance is well realized above mentioned. The storm and their stormy play break in piece and absorb entirely. And at last nothing except vacancy is left around us. This track can tell you in detail, and their soundscape can be expressed quite vividly and visually.

Again mentioned, you cannot be bored nor tired via this long, thick creation but get filled with authentic post rock world definitely.

 F# A# ∞ by GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR album cover Studio Album, 1997
4.09 | 408 ratings

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

Review by Kempokid
Collaborator Prog Metal Team

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
3.94 | 110 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
3.94 | 110 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.

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

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