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A Silver Mt. Zion - Born Into Trouble As The Sparks Fly Upwards CD (album) cover


A Silver Mt. Zion


Post Rock/Math rock

3.57 | 72 ratings

From, the ultimate progressive rock music website

4 stars One of my favourite bands ever is no doubt Godspeed You! Black Emperor. I truly believe every album of theirs is a masterpiece, so what did i expect from this offshoot band with an even longer name? Another masterpiece, naturally.

Born into trouble as the sparks fly upwards was released in 2001, in between Lift your skinny fists like antennas to heaven and Yanqui UXO, two bombastic albums, known, among other things, for their powerful crescendoes and songs of extensive length. Born into trouble gives a different angle on the Godspeed sound, the feeling is definitely there, but the song structures are more conventional and more adventorous at the same time. Conventional because the crescendoes are, if they are at all, not so crashing and the builds are a lot more subtle. You may call it a stripped down Godspeed, if you will.

At the same time, even though you know we know this is not Godspeed, youstill expect those blasts of noise now and again, and when Efrim starts singing on Take these hands and throw them into the river, it may startle you. Songs keep a much more level dynamic here, and that is what i believe to be the biggest difference between Zion and it's mother band.

Born into trouble.. is a great album, there are passages so filled with melancholy that few bands come close to. No, not melancholy. Pure and utter despair is what it is.

The opening track starts from nothing, until piano and violin craft a gut-wrenching atmosphere and then lets you bathe in that atmosphere until the end of the track. The same kind of feeling permeates the whole album, really.

The tracks which stand out, for different reasons, are Take these hands... because of its slightly grinding quality, it attacks you from the starts and doesn't let up until bird song fill the last two minutes. Efrim sings on this track, and it doesn't quite work for me. He has a desperate sounding voice, but here it is double-tracked, which makes it sound like he's coming from everywhere. The agressive music feels very out-of-place on the album, which is otherwise very subtle and (in a melancholic way) soothing to it's nature.

The best tracks on the album are clearly the opening track and These hands could have moved mountainss with its slow but effective build, moving lyrics and much more fitting vocals. The album's closing track The Triumph of our tired eyes also deserve a special mentioning as it is the one track on the album where any kind of light shines on the listener. It is not slapp-happy, Efrim starts by saying Sisters and Brothers, we have surely lost our way, but it is hopeful.

The negative aspects of the album are that it is rather uneven. Not surprising considering Efrim Menuck did start the band in order to get an outlet for his more political side, and much of the musical ideas must still have gone to Godspeed, which was still the mail band at the time.

There is beauty in this land, but i don't often see it

Highly recommended for all who want to see Godspeed take another direction.

Evans | 4/5 |


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