MENU
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography
Progarchives, the progressive rock ultimate discography

A SILVER MT. ZION

Post Rock/Math rock • Canada


From Progarchives.com, the ultimate progressive rock music website

A Silver Mt. Zion picture
A Silver Mt. Zion biography
Originally formed by GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR guitarist Efrim Menuck, bassist Thierry Amar and violinist Sophie Trudeau, A SILVER MT. ZION was formed as a vehicle for Efrim to explore his own musical ideas. The group has since expanded to a seven-piece, and play a slow, brooding style very simmilar in feel to the band from which they were spawned. At the same time however, their sound contains more of an experimental edge and less of the ear-splitting climaxing that has defined GYBE. They also feature vocals from Efrim, a characteristic not usually seen in bands of this style.

Their name varies slightly on each album, releasing their sophmore effort "Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward" under the name THE SILVER MT. ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA AND TRA-LA-LA BAND, adding "WITH CHOIR" to that name for their third album "This Is Our Punk Rock", releasing "The "Pretty Little Lightning Paw" E.P." under the name THEE SILVER MOUNTAIN REVERIES, and reverting to THEE SILVER MT. ZION MEMORIAL ORCHESTRA & TRA-LA-LA BAND for 2005's "Horses in the Sky".

Their best album is generally considered to be their debut, 2000's "He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms".

See also:
- Fly Pan Am
- Godspeed You Black Emperor!
- Set Fire To Flames
- Valley Of The Giants




Why this band must be listed in www.progarchives.com :
They present simmilar ideas as Godspeed You Black Emperor in a different (and sometimes more conventionally progressive) form, and are generally regarded as one of the major post-rock bands.



Discography:
He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes Grace the Corner of Our Rooms, studio album (2000)
Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upward, studio album (2001)
"This is Our Punk-Rock," Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing (2003)
The "Pretty Little Lightning Paw" E.P. (2004)
Horses In the Sky (2005)

A Silver Mt. Zion official website

A SILVER MT. ZION MP3, Free Download (music stream)


Open extended player in a new pop-up window | Random Playlist (50) | How to submit new MP3s

A SILVER MT. ZION forum topics / tours, shows & news


A SILVER MT. ZION forum topics
No topics found for : "a silver mt. zion"
Create a topic now
A SILVER MT. ZION tours, shows & news Post an entries now

A SILVER MT. ZION Videos (YouTube and more)


Showing only random 3 | Show all A SILVER MT. ZION videos (1) | Search and add more videos to A SILVER MT. ZION

Buy A SILVER MT. ZION Music


He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light SometimesHe Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes
Constellation 2000
Audio CD$8.85
$6.54 (used)
Right Now on Ebay (logo)
A Silver Mt. Zion, T - Kollaps Tradixionales [New Vinyl] With USD $28.74 Buy It Now 10h 49m
"13 Blues for Thirteen Moons" New CD by A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock Drone Prog USD $13.13 Buy It Now 1 day
A SILVER MT ZION - HE HAS LEFT US ALONE- BUT SHAFFS OF LIGHT SOMETIMES GRACE -CD USD $0.99 [0 bids]
3 days
Born into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward by A Silver Mt. Zion (CD,... USD $12.01 Buy It Now 6 days
13 Blues for Thirteen Moons [Slipcase] by A Silver Mt. Zion (CD, Mar-2008,... USD $12.18 Buy It Now 6 days
Born into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward by A Silver Mt. Zion. USD $17.76 Buy It Now 7 days
A Silver Mt. Zion, S - Pretty Little Lightning Paw [New CD] USD $10.35 Buy It Now 8 days
A Silver Mt. Zion - This Is Our Punk-Rock Thee Rusted Satellites Sing [New CD] USD $13.45 Buy It Now 9 days
13 Blues for Thirteen Moons by A Silver Mt. Zion. USD $35.51 Buy It Now 13 days
Horses in the Sky by A Silver Mt. Zion (CD, Mar-2005, Constellation) USD $12.22 Buy It Now 13 days
Born Into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upward by A Silver Mt. Zion. USD $32.62 Buy It Now 13 days
Pretty Little Lightning Paw [EP] by A Silver Mt. Zion. USD $17.10 Buy It Now 13 days
This Is Our Punk-Rock, Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing by A Silver Mt. Zion USD $20.73 Buy It Now 13 days
Kollaps Tradixionales [LP/CD] [Deluxe Edition] by A Silver Mt. Zion/Thee Silver USD $35.51 Buy It Now 13 days
Horses in the Sky by A Silver Mt. Zion. USD $20.73 Buy It Now 13 days
A Silver Mt Zion Born Into Trouble 2x 10" vinyl LP Record godspeed you black NEW USD $26.99 Buy It Now 14 days
FLY PAN AM N'Écoutez Pas LP '04 Do Make Say Think A Silver Mt. Zion Mogwai Re: USD $12.98 Buy It Now 15 days
A Silver Mt. Zion, S - He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes [New C USD $13.34 Buy It Now 16 days
A SILVER MT. ZION - He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes - CD USD $14.75 Buy It Now 17 days
A SILVER MT. ZION - He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts of Light Sometimes - CD USD $19.95 Buy It Now 17 days
A SILVER MT. ZION - Born Into Trouble As the Sparks Fly Upward - CD USD $15.95 Buy It Now 17 days
A SILVER MT. ZION - Born Into Trouble As the Sparks Fly Upward - CD ** New ** USD $20.95 Buy It Now 17 days
Kollaps Tradixionales by A Silver Mt. Zion/Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial... USD $12.21 Buy It Now 20 days
A Silver Mt. Zion - Hang on to Each Other [New Vinyl] USD $15.42 Buy It Now 22 days
A Silver Mt. Zion - Kollaps Tradixionales [New CD] USD $12.89 Buy It Now 27 days
A Silver Mt. Zion, S - Born Into Trouble As the Sparks Fly Upward [New Vinyl] USD $27.91 Buy It Now 27 days
A Silver Mt. Zion, S - 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons [New CD] USD $12.95 Buy It Now 28 days
A Silver Mt. Zion - Horses in the Sky [New CD] USD $12.99 Buy It Now 29 days
A Silver Mt. Zion, S - Born Into Trouble As the Sparks Fly Upward [New CD] USD $14.63 Buy It Now 29 days

More places to buy A SILVER MT. ZION music online Buy A SILVER MT. ZION & Prog Rock Digital Music online:
A SILVER MT. ZION has no upcoming shows, according to LAST.FM syndicated events and shows feed

A SILVER MT. ZION discography


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

A SILVER MT. ZION top albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

3.96 | 93 ratings
He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms
2000
3.55 | 64 ratings
Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upwards
2001
3.10 | 40 ratings
This Is Our Punk-Rock, Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing
2003
3.90 | 72 ratings
Horses In The Sky
2005
3.71 | 61 ratings
13 Blues for Thirteen Moons
2008
3.62 | 32 ratings
Kollaps Tradixionales
2010
4.01 | 34 ratings
Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything
2014

A SILVER MT. ZION Live Albums (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

A SILVER MT. ZION Videos (DVD, Blu-ray, VHS etc)

A SILVER MT. ZION Boxset & Compilations (CD, LP, MC, SACD, DVD-A, Digital Media Download)

A SILVER MT. ZION Official Singles, EPs, Fan Club & Promo (CD, EP/LP, MC, Digital Media Download)

3.28 | 21 ratings
The Pretty Little Lightning Paw E.P.
2004

A SILVER MT. ZION Reviews


Showing last 10 reviews only
 Kollaps Tradixionales by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2010
3.62 | 32 ratings

BUY
Kollaps Tradixionales
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Takes Longer but Grows on You.

I just submitted my review of their most recent album when I noticed this album gets weaker reviews than most of their other albums. In a way I can understand - this one takes longer for its merits to become clear and it is less likely to grab reviewers on first listen. However, after having listened to this album for six years now, I think this is up there with their best albums. Probably the reason for the lower scores is Efrim's singing is a bit more tortured than usual on this one, and his singing is right up from on the long opening piece "There is a Light". I have to admit not being as keen on this song when I first heard it, but it has really grown on me, and is today one of my favourite songs of theirs. There is a very similar feel to the long closer, "Piphany Rambler", which has Efrim singing (rambling indeed) all over this, with much of the same feel as "There is a Light". This one probably takes even longer to warm up to, but again, after first being a bit turned off by it, I (now) really like it. In the middle are some more great pieces. "I Built Myself a Metal Bird" is distorted hard-driving progressive punk (in fact, the tune is in 7/8 time!), but what I find particularly great about the middle part of this album is that the band is here improvising at length. "I Fed my Metal Bird the Wings of Other Metal Birds" is the improvised extension of the first Metal Bird track. Similarly the two Kollaps Tradixionales pieces include improvisation, and so while these are (for me) the weaker tracks on the album, they are still quite good and indeed essential to the listening experience of the album. I like this album a lot more than 13 Blues for Thirteen Moons, which is less well put together and less musical over all. I also like it better than Horses in the Sky, which has some great songs but for me is uneven. Similar to their most recent album (which I just reviewed), I find Kollaps to be consistently good all the way through.

Some albums are easy to 'get' on first or second listen. Some albums rise quickly at first, but then fall just as quickly after a few listens. This one started lower but kept rising, and only started to plateau after around 20 listens. Even though it is fairly long, I now always listen to this one all the way through - once it is on, I am drawn to hear it out. While most listeners will probably prefer their most recent album over this one on first listen (so, you should get that one first), I actually rate this one a tiny bit higher (after many years). How much you eventually like the album will depend on how much the opening and closing tracks grow on you. But I think it is well worth the time-effort. I give this 8.7 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which also translates to high 4 PA stars.

 Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 34 ratings

BUY
Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Walkscore

4 stars Real, Heartfelt Music.

The most recent full album (2014) from A Silver Mt. Zion is excellent through-and-through. I love this band (and their cousins/alter-ego but larger Godspeed You Black Emperor-GYBE) for the integrity they bring to the act of making music. They make music they want to play, and say what they want to say, for its own sake damn the consequences. They also write out of passion and gut feeling, rather than (say) logic or aspiration, so the music is full of raw emotion and is personal. As a result, their music comes across as heartfelt, feeling, and authentic. When I listen to this, I am always reminded of a Roger Waters quip (from the Pompeii video) where he says that the only thing that matters in music (or any art) is whether it moves you. SMZ is moving and thought-provoking. While a number of commentators don't like Efrim's singing, I think it fits perfectly, and just adds to authenticity of their statement. The singing would in fact be considered poor judged against the criteria set out by vocal coaches and music schools - it is frequently out of tune, he can't reach some of the high notes he is trying to reach, his voice often cracks, etc - but to me this is beside the point. The point of this band is to be real, warts and all, and thus implicitly to challenge paradigms and stereotypes of what the experts might say music should be. But even disregarding this, I actually think the singing is very musical. Few would ever say Bob Dylan or Jimi Hendrix are good singers, but their vocals are perfect for the songs they sing, with a lot of unique character and instant recognizability, and they add to the music they accompany rather than take away from it. The same applies to Efrim's vocals, which add a personal element to the music that raises it even higher and makes me want to listen to it.

This album continues in the same mode as their previous album (Kollaps Tradixionales), in mixing a harder rockingier approach with progressive acoustic and ethereal soundscapes, generally in the service of longer but well-structured vocal-based tunes. The album begins with a hard-guitar driving punky piece that shifts part-way through into a longer statement which sets the musical and political tone for the album. There is a great shorter tune ("Take Away These Early Grave Blues") as well as two innovative and evocative short pieces ("Little Ones Run" and and "Rains Thru the Rooft"). However, the real gems here are the two longest pieces. The 14-minute "Austerity Blues" is a fantastic piece that begins on acoustic with Efrim's unique voice up high, then morphs into a truly original and musical political statement about the idea of (government, economic) austerity. It's counterpart is "What We Loved Was Not Enough", a beautiful dirty lament from the heart. Both of these are among SMZ's best compositions, and are the primary reason I keep wanting to put on this album. They have entered my list of essential music. But in fact the entire set flows very well and there is not a bad tune on the album. Silver Mt Zion is making exciting and original music that deserves to be listened to. They are my favourite still-touring Canadian band. On balance, I give this album 8.6 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which is at the high end of 4 PA stars.

 This Is Our Punk-Rock, Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2003
3.10 | 40 ratings

BUY
This Is Our Punk-Rock, Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Walkscore

5 stars The Best SMZ Album!

This is not only their most progressive, but most musical and most emotional album. I am shocked by the lower scores for this here. This sees the band writing extended epics - one on each side of the double vinyl album - and in turn developing their musical ideas over longer overlapping themes with quieter, sensitive violin and guitar compositions, while still remaining true to their post-apocalyptic post-punk ethos. Each of the four pieces on this album is unique and distinct - not only from each other, but from the rest of their catalogue. Side 1 ("So Some Lonesome Corners So Many Flowers Bloom") features a rag-tag improvised choir and a slow-building crescendo that is very musical despite representing an almost free experiment. The song is very hypnotic and beautiful, almost in a Floydian way (indeed, sections of this piece actually remind me of (though very different from) Atom Heart Mother). Side 2 ("Babylon Was Built On Fire/Starsnostars") is to my mind SMZ's most musical song (not only on this album, but their entire catalogue). It begins with some amazing soundscapes, slowly introducing the main themes. The vocals are here are very effective, slowly building until each of the song's different themes are all being sung at once by different singers, bouncing off each other in a beautiful rag-tag counterpoint of overlapping melodies. Awesome music! Side 3 ("American Motor Over Smoldered Field") is another of SMZ's most musical songs ever. Containing some rare but beautiful (in a post-apocalyptic way!) vocal harmonies, the song remains subdued for the first 4.5 minutes, but then the drums and bass/cello/guitar pulses kick in. Check out the section that begins just before the 9 min mark which then continues to the end with the 'choir' singing the lyrical theme. So innovative yet deeply musical and emotional music. Side 4 ("Goodbye Desolate Railyard"), characterized by acoustic guitar finger-picking in a major key overlaid with piano and sunrise-violin lines, has a very American feel to it. Very happy-sad melancholy, shifting into musique concrette with thunderstorm and railway soundscapes, and then back to the main theme on acoustic guitar with the key lyric then repeated by the band. While I find the other three sides to be even stronger, this is a great closer for this great, original album. Of course, you have to like Efrim's/the bands' tortured, out of key singing, and this one will take a few listens before the underlying musicality emerges (you are probably not likely to get it on first listen). But this is definitely worth the effort. For me, this is the second-best album out of the entire GYBE/SMZ catalogue, after "Lift Yer Skinny Fists like Antennas to Heaven". I give this 9.0 out of 10 on my 10-point scale, which translates to 5 PA stars. One of the most original, authentic, innovative, musical and moving albums.

 Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upwards by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2001
3.55 | 64 ratings

BUY
Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upwards
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Prog Leviathan
Prog Reviewer

2 stars Born into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upwards is overall a good post-rock release that fits within many conventions of the genre: slow, melancholic music that features a diverse instrumentation that builds and builds to noisy, abstract, and challenging crescendos. As a casual fan of the genre, there's a handful of interesting songs to enjoy, but not enough to make it memorable. It's highlights are when the players create a gentle rise and fall of lush strings that give the impression of one gently bobbing on ocean swells or walking amid fields of grain. At its best the album is relaxing and subtle. It's the more experimental parts that don't resonate with me. Some tracks have voice overs or singing that sounds frail and incomplete; others use shrill tones to induce tension or a sense of confusion, which aren't supported enough emotionally by the quite parts that precede. The songs don't strike me as being especially interesting or complex; however, the group's playing is solid and subtle. I especially enjoyed the acoustic bass work and warm, rich guitar vibrato heard on some songs.

That's not to say that these criticisms make Born into Trouble as the Sparks Fly Upwards a bad album, just not one that resonates with me. It may appeal to fans more interested in this minimalist and moody genre, but not for casual fans.

Songwriting: 2 - Instrumental Performances: 3 - Lyrics/Vocals: 2 - Style/Emotion/Replay: 2

 He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.96 | 93 ratings

BUY
He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by siLLy puPPy
Collaborator PSIKE Team

4 stars What we have here is a funeral album although it sounds more like a holocaust soundtrack not just dripping but flooded with melancholy and lucid lugubrious lament. A SILVER MT ZION is a side project of the masters of apocalyptic soundtrack skills Godspeed! You Black Emperor and believe it or not was created solely as a one album project by Efrim Menuck who was morning the death of his beloved dog Wanda. While the Godspeed! main project had a sort of continuity in their releases, Efrim wanted to branch out a bit and what better way than to construct a musical eulogy for your best friend. Yep, the universe's cruel joke is that your beloved pets become as close as your own children but have the lifespan of the average $100 American bill.

The irony was that through the death of a precious departed one, new life sprung from the ashes. This one shot project has become a wise career move that has far surpassed the original Godspeed! project's number of releases. While this debut album is credited to A SILVER MT ZION, Efrim followed the Sun Ra approach when he renamed his notorious Arkestra every album or two just to keep things interesting ie The Sun Ra Arkestra, Sun Ra and His Astro-Infinity Arkestra, Sun Ra and His Myth-Science Arkestra, Sun Ra and His Intergalactic Research Arkestra. Thus a new band was born after the popularity of this tribute to Wanda was released and the A Silver Mt Zion would evolve into The SILVER MT ZION Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La-La Band, The SILVER MT ZION Memorial Orchestra & Tra-La- La Band With Choir and so on and so forth.

While this release is lumped into the general post-rock category this is much more a percussionless parade of chamber music that is simply vocals, guitar, bass, piano and violin. The music is haunting and chilling and the closest thing that comes to mind when i hear this is the soundtrack to "Schindler's List." There is absolutely nothing uplifting and warm and fuzzy going on here. These notes flow together in a way that stabs you in the heart and twists the knife until you simply break down in utter agony and despair. Only the pain of losing a loved one could allow a composer to achieve this effect with such minimal instrumentation. This is one of those albums that i love but choose not to listen to on a regular basis because of the heart wrenching effects of violin tremolos, vibratos, arpeggios and sonic appoggiatura.

I, like many, prefer the albums that follow as they become more artistic and put the rock back in the post-rock, but this album serves a purpose and that purpose is magnificently achieved. The emotional flow of this album is haunting and evokes poignance and bereavement like few other musical works can. I can feel the extreme sense of pain and loss of love in every note on this one as it musters up some incredible dregs of dejection and execution of exuberance. It also makes me want to hug every loved one in my life and hold on dearly for i know the insufferable fate of separation will inevitably touch us all eventually. Sigh. Great album. Difficult subject matter.

 Horses In The Sky by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2005
3.90 | 72 ratings

BUY
Horses In The Sky
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars This is the first SMZ album that has singing on every track. It is also, for the most part, the most subdued of the albums. It seems that it might have been a tough one for the fans to get at first, but it is a grower, and a lot of that has to do with the vocals. That is the biggest issue for the band, but in my opinion, the vocals match the music perfectly. SMZ's biggest attraction for me is their vulnerability that not only exists in the shaky vocals, but also in the orchestration of the instruments. There is always a slight hesitation in the delivery, or so it always seems, especially noticeable on this album because it is softer. Don't get me wrong though, there are bursts of dynamics throughout. You still get the builds on some of the songs. But other tracks don't build much at all, as in the title track.

"God Bless Our Dead Marines" is the opener and a great highlight in the band's career. It is a multi movement epic track with several melodies that vary in dynamics and tone. This is a beauty of a song and it ebbs and flows and eventually the vocals interweave around each other into a round of sorts. Next is another excellent track called "Mountains Made of Steam" which is based around a more focused theme, but still caries a lot of variation in it. This eventually builds to a harsh climax that utilizes dynamics and dissonance quite beautifully. "Horses in the Sky" is a more acoustic endeavor and remains quiet and thoughtful throughout, but is no less powerful. Eventually, some ambient texturing joins in, but never really takes over the intimacy of the track.

"Teddy Roosevelt's Guns" is follows a typical post rock formula and builds slowly to a final climax and a repeated line. "Hang on to Each Other" was actually recorded by the band around a campfire. You can hear the flames crackling in the background. Talk about a feeling of intimate music. You can close your eyes and picture yourself there listening to the band. The song starts out soft and the vocals build as other vocal lines are added, some wordless vocals and the repeating of the title while Effrim sings the verses. All the while, strings are played in the background to a structured tune. This eventually even drops out leaving the band singing their parts a cappella. The last track is another epic of beauty and dynamics, again with changing melodies and rhythms.

The vinyl is a piece of art, as is the case with most of SMZ's (and Godspeed You! Black Emperor's vinyl) and this is why I prefer to get their recordings in vinyl. On this one, there are only 3 recorded sides which contain all of the tracks. Instead of leaving the 4th side blank however, they commissioned an artist to do an etching into the vinyl. It is artwork of a bird and some branches. This is another way of expressing their artistry and intimacy with their listeners. It really gives the record a personal feeling between the listener and the band. Even though I know the band doesn't know me over any of their other listeners, but these things make me feel like they do, and the unique things they add to their albums make me feel a personal closeness to their music like no other band can do.

Many complain about Effrim's vocals being hard to listen to, but they have always been one of the things about the band that attracts me to them. He sounds like he is singing right to you, in your living room as you listen. He is a very passionate singer too, and the limitations of his voice can show through when he is the most passionate. These things make me love the music even more.

It's true that this band isn't for everyone, but everyone should at least give them a fair chance before deciding whether they like the music or not. The best music always takes time to grow on you, and I find my favorite albums are usually the ones I didn't understand at first, or they took time to grow on me. This is one of those albums. I think it's a masterpiece, not only of music, but of art in general. The lyrics are poetry, the music is original and dynamic, and the medium is taken to it's furthest to portray other forms of artistry, the album covers, the inserts, the little surprises that are included. It all works as a whole on this album, a those things make it the masterpiece that it is. 5 stars.

 He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2000
3.96 | 93 ratings

BUY
He Has Left Us Alone But Shafts Of Light Sometimes Grace The Corner Of Our Rooms
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

4 stars While touring with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Efrim Menuck's dog died, and this was the first step in A Silver Mt. Zion's birth. Efrim wanted to create this sad music and dedicate it to his dog, but the music was too sad and quiet for the typical sound of GY!BE, so, with the help of two other band members, he wrote and created this record as a single album project which ended up turning into his main project after the temporary breakup of GY!BE. Through the years and albums released as ASMZ, there were a few minor name changes and extensions, but the band grew larger and the music became more expansive and at times, experimental.

This first album however, is very sad and quiet with very few vocals. There is a heavy reliance on violin and very little percussion on this album, it is very pensive and reminiscent. Though not a minimalistic album, it definitely moved away from the dynamic and sometimes loud sounds of GY! BE, but retained a lot of the exploration that was present in that band.

Some reviewers consider this album too slow moving, and it is true to some extent. But the music is haunting and beautiful. The use of piano and strings give it a chamber feel, but the occasional use of guitar and a few stronger passages help the listener to have a little foresight into where the sound was going to develop.

"Broken Chord Can Sing a Little" starts off with a lovely piano introduction with a little build and addition of a few other sounds, then in true GYBE fashion, there is a field recording introduced which seems to be a discussion about death and religion. The sound is a bit apocalyptic, which is not really a surprise, but instead of brashness, we get beauty, though there is a degree of harshness here. "Sit in the Middle..." segues from the field recording and starts to build on a repetitive sound, again some build happens, but not to any extent of the usual post rock climax. Repetition is again used in the lovely "Stumble then Rise..." but this time the motif is expanded into variations as the music continues and this improves the song as it goes on. This is an excellent track and very lovely.

On the next track, we get to hear Efrim sing for the first time. At first listen, his voice is a little brash, but that is what you can expect through the discography to come. The nice thing about his voice to me is it's vulnerability which makes this music so believable and organic. It all works well and if you are familiar with the other works by ASMZ, then the appearance of vocals is actually quite welcome. This is a short piece, yet quite nice. "13 Angels..." is the bright light of the album mentioned in the album title, and is a more positive sound, the music at this point and through most of the rest of the album is more developed and not so repetitive. This carries through "Blown Out Joy", the overall quietness of the album persists with a little build here and there, but to me, it never really gets boring, it is thought inspiring and pensive.

The last track is "For Wanda" which is the final cap to the dedication and the final good-bye to his companion. It is a return to the sadness that was present in the first part of the album, but this time it seems like it is acting as a release, a final release to his dog. It might sound somewhat silly to some people, but his heart is definitely in this music and it is quite a moving tribute.

Though not as developed or as well constructed as later albums, this is still an excellent album. Maybe it's not a masterpiece, but if you are looking for sad and emotional music without a lot of rhythm, then this is a great example of that. Reminders of GYBE are scattered throughout the album and foresight into what was to come are also throughout the album, but it definitely isn't lively, just slow and beautiful. Like I said, the composer's heart is in the music and you can't go wrong when that happens.

 Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 34 ratings

BUY
Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by TCat
Prog Reviewer

5 stars Just when other post rock bands latch onto the sound and formulas used by Thee Silver Mt. Zion, they change things up. Having left behind the traditional formula of slow crescendos to loud climaxes, TSMZ now jumps into their individual tracks full force and utilize dynamics in different ways than they did in their earlier years. You don't have to wait for the build up anymore. Now you get a thick wall of their rock orchestral sound starting right off at the beginning of the track with more reliance on the heaviness of guitar, strings and percussion with the occasional stripping back to expose the base of the music only to quickly build back up again, sometimes with a direction change. This is becoming less like the usual post rock that we are used to and branching out into other directions by adding a punk-ish sound and attitude (Efrim's vocals lend themselves well to this punk sound) while keeping the tracks well fleshed out and original.

There is so much music going on here, and the streamlining of the band members have given the band a more focused sound than previously. The vocals, while still sounding desperate and vulnerable are also more confident sounding. The instrumentals are more expansive and broad even with the smaller band. The 1st track "Fuck Off Get Free (For the Island of Montreal)" sets the stage for the atmosphere of most of the album with a heavy sound without much of a break from the thickness in the sound. The change is more in the melody and the direction of the song which goes from a harsh sound to a beautiful yet still heavy sound about halfway through. Suddenly, you know what kind of sound to expect on this album. The 2nd track "Austerity Blues" is the centerpiece of the album. It is a track that remains heavy for the most part, but when the noise is stripped away, you are left with the base of the song that you tend to enfold yourself into immediately when this sparseness starts and then suddenly you find yourself wrapped up into the noise when it builds back upon itself, and you are trapped inside. The next time it happens, you think it's time to escape, but you are drawn in further and before you know it you are trapped again.

Two shorter tracks follow with "Take Away These Early Grave Blues" which is a less developed track that follows a constant rhythmic pattern and the beautifully quiet "Little Ones Run" which acts as a break from the noise for a few minutes with a female duet and a piano, which lulls you into what I consider the best track on the album "What We Loved Was Not Enough". This track has the best and most diverse use of dynamics which keeps the same style of singing but with beautiful harmonies by the background singers and an ever changing moody epic track. This one probably is more reminiscent of the older material, but it still manages to stay away from the tired old formulaic post rock sound and ventures out with as much confidence and impact as the louder tracks. The last track is another short one which starts out as what sounds like a field recording of possible an interview and adds in vocals, percussion and a certain ambience to close out the album on a softer side.

This is post rock doing what it's supposed to do to be considered progressive, that is, it's progressing. Yes, I still consider it Post Rock, but it's exploring new avenues and staying away from the usual sound. The tracks all have vocals, which is the first welcome change from post rock, but not really different for the band who actually started out as completely instrumental and as most prog heads know, branched off from Godspeed You! Black Emperor when they went on hiatus (which is now over and both bands are alive and well). GY!BE continues to show it's power through instrumentals and drones while ASMZ continues to push forward with a reliance on more focused vocals and the modern day noise/orchestral sound. Both bands are amazing and continue to pump out quality work even after more than a decade, progressing their sound and exploring new avenues. A lot of prog lovers may have a hard time with Efrim's vocals, but the vocals fit right in to the dissonance and beauty of the music. I can't imagine any other vocal sound that would go along with this music. I can't help but think of this as a perfect example of what post rock should be doing, developing their sound and not relying on the old formulas. Because of this, the band still puts out essential masterpieces and demonstrate the direction that progressive music should be taking.

 Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 34 ratings

BUY
Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Warthur
Prog Reviewer

4 stars For this latest release, A Silver Mt. Zion revitalise their sound by adding some brash, energetic, punkish noise rock into their post-rock formula. With Efrim's wailing buzzsaw guitar and his fragile, plaintive vocals front and centre, it's a logical development of the group's sound (indeed, a subfaction of the gang already took the noise punk route to an extent on the Pretty Little Lightning Paw EP), and on balance whilst the album doesn't take their music to a whole new level or reach the heights of their debut or Horses In the Sky, it's a more than credible addition to the group's discography.
 Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything by SILVER MT. ZION, A album cover Studio Album, 2014
4.01 | 34 ratings

BUY
Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything
A Silver Mt. Zion Post Rock/Math rock

Review by Gallifrey

4 stars Dark Shrieks From the Insane Asylum

I'll admit, I've never really paid too much attention to A Silver Mt Zion in the past. I've always been distracted by their overtly pretentious band names and album titles, as if they were fulfilling the horrible post-rock cliché so perfectly, by walking in the wake of Godspeed as closely as possible. I remember hearing "This Is Our Punk-Rock," Thee Rusted Satellites Gather + Sing, a while ago, and honestly not thinking much of it as a record. Although, to be honest, the problem with a lot of post-rock records is how they flow through one ear and out the other in a wave of "this is nice", and you can't really remember much about them. Although I distinctly remember, in relation to This Is Our Punk Rock, that I much preferred Mogwai's corresponding 2003 record, Happy Songs for Happy People, although the exact reasons why have completely escaped me.

So now we're in 2014 and both these bands have dropped new records within the first month. Only this time, I can say quite happily that A Silver Mt Zion have knocked Mogwai out of the park this time around, and it's not just by playing safe. Both these bands have changed their sound a bit since 2003, with Mogwai bringing in some pretty useless electronic bleeps and bloops, and ASMZ moving further away from post-rock, bringing vocals to be the most central element of their music. I don't remember much of This Is Our Punk Rock, but I most certainly remember the vocals weren't this prominent. In fact, it's hard to call Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything a post-rock record anymore. Or even an art rock record, as RYM has decided to add to their genres. The abundance of strings and 'rock instruments for non-rock purposes' technically gets them a post-rock vote by the dictionary definition, but this certainly lacks the crescendocore focus of most of the genre.

Firstly, we should note the title of this record. I mean, it's called Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything. That is bad ass. I normally think of post-rock titles to be equally pretentious and awesome, and this one definitely swings to the awesome side, at least a lot more than their previous titles. When trying to describe post-rock to the uneducated, I feel "We Pour Light On Everything" is just a perfect description, and all post-rock bands should adopt that, or something similar, as their catchphrase or slogan, because damn, I can most certainly hear the light all over this. On this particular record, A Silver Mt Zion are back to being Thee Silver Mt Zion Memorial Orchestra, leaving behind the Choir and Tra-La-La Band of previous incarnations, but as we should know, this makes little difference and the ever-changing name is most certainly just there for the air of pretention and 2deep4everyone-ness.

But I do unfortunately get to the point where I'm out of my depth in music writing. As much as I can respect A Silver Mt Zion on this album, I find a lot of it hard to enjoy and write about. But I'll start with a few things that are great. Firstly, the production must be praised. This is possibly the noisiest and most abrasive post-rock record I have heard in a long time, regularly bordering on shoegaze and drone in its noise, flying all around you and at you from all directions. Maybe it's just my taste at the moment, but I'm definitely starting to appreciate drone and minimalism in my rock music, even though I find drone and minimalism hard to enjoy on their own. The way the guitars are filtered and sucked through several layers of processing to end up in this tinny and distorted fuzz is just epic, and it really creates a tense and dark atmosphere.

Secondly, and I think the noisy production definitely enhances this, are the use of strings in this. Last year I was so incredibly impressed by the strings on Gris' 3rd album À l'âme enflammée, l'âme constellée..., which had the most fantastically arranged string parts during its interlude tracks, making the atmosphere of the dark and harsh music so brilliantly tense. And although Fuck Off Get Free is as far from depressive black metal as it could be, the same sort of effect is done here with the strings, playing the same sort of lines. Instead of the tremolo-picked guitars and shrieked vocals, the harsh and noisy guitars create the same dark atmosphere, and during sections like the fantastic midsection of "Austerity Blues", I can hear the same tension and brilliant layering of strings and noise and emotion that I felt on that Gris record.

But to be honest, if there's one thing I'm not feeling on this record, it's definitely the vocals. I've always been a supporter of vocals in post-rock, I feel the genre regularly dissolves into genericism and tired repetitiveness without them, and those bands that utilise them will always come off as more memorable in my ears. But the atonal and often off-key voice of Efrim Manuel Menuck regularly kills the mood in my opinion, particularly during the opening track and ones like "Take Away These Early Grave Blues". I understand why these sort of vocals are utilised, they match the harsh and abrasive nature of the guitars, but it honestly just feels like an insane person chanting on top of the music with no real aim to fit in with it. Yes, the music sounds a bit like an insane person too, but I still can't appreciate the way he simply shouts the same note over and over for minutes on end.

Many people have been complaining about the ending of this record, that it comes way too suddenly, and doesn't feel like a fitting ending. Of course, some pretentious people have gone as far as to say that the ending is a metaphor for a sudden death, that death can just happen without any warning. I'm not going to buy into that pretentious garbage, but I'm honestly just enjoying how much the final track, specifically the vocals, remind me of Manes and their Vilosophe album, a band who I have been missing for a long time and have suddenly returned just a week ago.

Honestly, this is the first record from any of the big post-rock bands that I've enjoyed, and the fact that this is only the second ASMZ record I have got into means I'll definitely be checking out their past, but I can't help but feel the reasons I enjoy this is because it isn't really a post-rock record at all. It's a noisy and abrasive chamber rock affair, with some completely delicious strings and some completely irritating vocals, so I guess it evens out in the end.

6.7/10

Originally written for my Facebook page/blog: www.facebook.com/neoprogisbestprog

Thanks to useful_idiot for the artist addition. and to T.Rox for the last updates

Copyright Prog Archives, All rights reserved. | Legal Notice | Privacy Policy | Advertise | RSS + syndications

Other sites in the MAC network: JazzMusicArchives.com — jazz music reviews and archives | MetalMusicArchives.com — metal music reviews and archives