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Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Post Rock/Math rock

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor Yanqui U.X.O. album cover
4.00 | 362 ratings | 38 reviews | 32% 5 stars

Excellent addition to any
prog rock music collection

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Studio Album, released in 2002

Songs / Tracks Listing

1. 09-15-00 (Part One) (16:26)
2. 09-15-00 (Part Two) (6:16)
3. Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls (20:42)
4. Motherf**ker=Redeemer (Part One) (21:22)
5. Motherf**ker=Redeemer (Part Two) (10:10)

Total Time: 77:56

Line-up / Musicians

- David Bryant / electric guitar
- Roger Tellier-Craig / electric guitar
- Efrim Menuck / electric guitar
- Mauro Pezzente / bass guitar
- Thierry Amar / bass guitar
- Bruce Cawdron / drums
- Aidan Girt / drums
- Sophie Trudeau / violin
- Norsola Johnson / cello

- Josh Abrams / double bass
- Rob Mazurek / trumpet
- Matana Roberts / clarinet
- Geof Bradfield / bass clarinet

Releases information

2xLP Constellation - cst 024, CST024-1 (2002, Canada) Side D (track 5 on CD) apparently features some extra material that is not on the CD (about five minutes)

CD Constellation - CST024-2, cst 024 (2002, Canada)
CD P-Vine Records - PCD-5680 (2002, Japan)

Thanks to ProgLucky for the addition
and to Quinino for the last updates
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GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR Yanqui U.X.O. ratings distribution

(362 ratings)
Essential: a masterpiece of progressive rock music(32%)
Excellent addition to any prog rock music collection(42%)
Good, but non-essential (20%)
Collectors/fans only (5%)
Poor. Only for completionists (1%)


Showing all collaborators reviews and last reviews preview | Show all reviews/ratings

Collaborators/Experts Reviews

Review by loserboy
5 stars One of my best friends Simon gave me a newspaper article of GODSPEED and it was only thru this that I knew of this release... of course it was not long after I was into my local specialty store to pick up a copy (I know this may sound a bit wonky, but I refuse to buy their material at a chain store... as per their instructions). "Yanqui U.X.O." as is dubed the title is yet another explosive symphonic trip with inspiring themes and tonal climaxes. The chemistry of the band remains unchanged with Aidan, Bruce, David, Efrim, Mauro, Norsola, Roger, Sophy and Thierry. This means of course several guitars, basses, percussion, drums, cello, keyboards and violin. Although little in known about this band (and that is way they prefer things!) their music is more than exposed in this household. Songs are highly emotive with warm interludes and lovely themes building slowly and methodically until the climatic high energy release. Thematically this album is not unlike "Lift Your Skinny Fists" and in many ways sits as a companion musically. This album is a continuation of their forboding atmospheric stringed and electric vibes with daunting percussive surrounding. This would have made The Exorcist soundtrack feel like a drop in the old bucket! Everytime I hear their latest I tend to think it is their most complete and "Yanqui U.X.O." definitely has my full ears attention. Pure magic and an essential recording my friends...!
Review by diddy
4 stars Wow. Due to the forum on this site I heard about this great band from Canada. I heard nothing but truly positive things. So I went to Frankfurt to buy "Yanqui U.X.O.", their latest output. Unpacking the disc with anticipation I was wondering how a band could give so less information. You get almost no hints, no musicians, just a few forenames and information about the drawings on the paper wich holds the disc. Songtitles, the only chance to get informations about the titles is the disc itself. Furthermore the band recommends to not buy their albums in cain stores because the band is guilty of profiting by these sales, funny.

"Godspeed you black emperor" is a nine piece from Canada. It's hard to describe their sound and style because there's nothing comparable, at least I don't know assimilable music. I like to think that it is a kind of Tangerine Dream with "instruments" (not only keyboards) and more power, this is maybe a symponic version of Tangerine Dream but more energetic. The guys create an atmosphere wich constantly rises. The instruments get louder and more and more different melody lines appear untill they reach a fulminant climax. The songs are mainly of epic lenght and the creating of the atmosphere is very distinctive. The use of cellos really enriches the overall sound. As I read about GYBE I first thought that it might be a bit to longbreathed for me but "Yanqui U.X.O." belied me in this point. Sure you have to exercise patience but isn't it what prog in general is all about? What makes us different from fans of other genres? Our patience and concentration on the music? And refering to the terrific climaxes you really get rewarded for it. GYBE makes music to let oneself go, it really encourages daydreaming. Another point to mention is the awesome lenght of the album. About 75 minutes of outstanding and innovaive music are pressed on this disc.

"Godspeed you black emperor" really blew me away and all I can do is to recommend this album. Every star is warrantable that's for sure. Maybe I have to make a little exception: Extreme impatient people substract one or two stars. All others may agree with the (4,5) rating. Atmospherical and full of energy at the same time, terrific.

Review by Sean Trane
4 stars I am only giving four star to this one because of their previous achievement. If you discover , like my fellow reviewer Diddy , GYBE! through this album , you will think this is a great album. I am a strong believer of discovering a band from their earliest work and working chronologically ( when the distribution of the albums permit it of course - Constellation Records is not widely available) to understand and fully appreciate the evolution and progress and history of a band. I had high hopes that Steve Albini might produce a slightly different sounding album, that would allow the band to keep progressing and uncover new grounds to explore, but unfortunately the progression seems almost stopped or at least strongly slowed down . This might sound harsh and rather easy for a reviewer to say as artist are trying their best to make original music , But if you are to discover this band , start from the first one out and you might catch my drift. Still well worth a spin , though.
Review by Philo
4 stars Somewhere along the line something got seriously [%*!#]ed up with rock music and what should have progressed along and grew became nothing but washed up redundant and irrelevant, plastic and synthetic. Godspeed You! Black Emperor make the music that could in general have been the progression from the sixties through the seventies and by the beginning of the 21st century had a healthy and solid recent history where the old wave could have been permanently retired, as it reached a new era of creativity but instead that got lost in sea of celebrity and image conscious spandex wearing bollocks and MTV exposure that spelt its death knell. Yanqui U.X.O is dark, intense, hypnotic, entrancing and as a double album can easily appear lumbering but that is largely because of the countless numbers and units of [&*!#] that the drones masquerading as semi literate marketing men, with [%*!#] all knowledge in music but some how still work in the mainstream industry, who have presented nicely packaged inferiority to ram down our throats in a wave of hype and spin. Or at least taken our money and then ram the [&*!#] we don't want down the throats of the weaker. Because God Speed! You Black Emperor stand alone it makes them look innovative but what they are is a testimony to a creative nuance that has long been forgotten, hidden away, and it's emergence may be the reason behind it's towering dark layers of brooding fury verging on anger, but somehow almost too sympathetic and concerned with its self to release that anger fully. This music would have made it's way out there regardless of the retarded mentality of the industry. We need this. This is the first recent release I have bought since 1999 and the first time in a decade where I have felt cautiously optimistic about the state of current music.
Review by frenchie
4 stars more of the same here. Godspeed, surprisingly haven't run out of ideas, they still manage to create unique, interesting instrumentals on this album. These are pieces of beauty. This album has some noticeable differences to the rest. One of the main differences i found was the lack of trippy effects, and voiceovers. Every release before this uses them but this one does not. I don't know if this means the band are maturing or not. They could be trying to carry their sound into a new direction.

GYBE! certainly sound a lot more confident here, perhaps producing their darkest work to date. Most tracks use less optimistic sounds, there are lots of droning bass sounds, orchestrated well amongst other instruments. The bass sound really stands out on this album, especially on "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls".

The song titles suggest a darker edge, with more negativity, especially the viciously named "mother[%*!#]er=redeemer" parts. Whilst their previous albums gave me a vast impression of beauty, this album suggests more apocalyptic and destructive soundscapes, in true GYBE! style. Even so, i think this is beauty in it's own right.

This album is just as demanding as their previous efforts. I found this one to be the least accessible as it can be difficult to be gripped into this album. I think that maybe it is the lack of familiar sound effects and voiceovers that add to this albums struggle, still it is a very interesting piece and definetly a brilliant piece, just short of a masterpiece. One advantage about this album is that clearly tried to make their music less dominated by effects and voiceovers. This one definetly reveals their pure musical talent in a much stronger light. It also shows how well a nine piece band of muscians can arrange instrumentals that can last around 20 minutes. A very original and inspiring concept!

This album is definetly worth a look. I loved the other 3 albums and this is no exception but dont be surprised if this album doesn't get as many listens as the others. I think their other albums, "Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven" especially, are arguably more memorable than this album. "Yanqui UXO" specialises in subtlety and is more for the true Godspeed fan.

Review by richardh
5 stars For lovers of innovative, well crafted and ORIGINAL instrumental music ...what are you waiting for ?? Get down to HMV and let those moth balls out of your wallet.Hand over the money to the stroppy cow behind the counter. This is quite stunning,brilliant,magical,clever,inspirational,complex,dark,forboding,earth shattering,nerve tingling,knee quivering stuff.Goosebumps a plenty.A ride ..a trip...into the stratosfear.ITS TANGERINE DREAM WITH BALLS!!!

Review by Hangedman
4 stars The word to associate with this album is power. Raw gut wrenching bring you to your knees power. I consider Godspeed You Black Emperor! to be the most structured and emotional post rock band there is, this album is no exception. This is also amongst the most depressing things I have ever listened to. It reflects the worst conditions of the world, the poverty stricken war torn nations. One cannot help but feel a sort of sadness listening to the album, the musicians brilliantly composed the three movements to perfectly recreate an atmosphere of anger and despair.

Most post rock has a detached feel, but this album is very direct. Layering melodies and rising volume mount the pressure on. Directed by a drum kit and string section, with many other instruments providing the body. Its conveyance of emotion matches that of classical music, relying on complex buildups to properly effect the listener. It is more symphonic then most symphonic rock bands, and certainly more so than any post rock band. At times it is very ethereal, at other times it is as substantial as a block of wood. It drags you into some very dark moods, and shows you ugliness while remaining beautiful the whole way through.

The thing that really makes this album stand out is the emotion of it. Whatever the band wants you to feel you WILL feel. The amazing sound textures which fill the empty space, the march like drumming, the haunting beauty of the strings, the incredible drive of the lead instruments. It is an assault on the soul. All of it contributing to the futile sense of righteousness and anger that it all amasses to. This is the kind of music to blare at the apocalypse.

There is only one thing that keeps me from giving this piece of music 5 starts, its length. Something this dark and depressing running at 74 minutes and 58 seconds is very hard to swallow. It begins on a sour note, and it finishes in a depressed mindset. Whenever the music does become upbeat it is usually violent or it finishes with a sense of futility. Listening to this album is comparable to watching one of those starving African children commercials for over an hour. Although it is rather amazing and moving, it certainly isn't pleasant and would have been perfect had it been about 15 minutes shorter.

All three "songs" on the album are amazing. "09-15-00", "Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls" and "Mother[%*!#]er=Redeemer" all go perfectly hand in hand, each one contributing more than adequately to the entire mood. My personal favorite however is "Mother[%*!#]er=Redeemer". The beginning comes off as a desperate call to action, listening to it makes me clench my fists and want to jump out of my seat and fight for the downtrodden of the world. It then fizzles into a very slow passage which reeks of sorrow. This completely throws off the sense given at the beginning of the song, and brings you into the same place mentally that the music went. The third part of the "song" suggests anger, and like the rest of the album remains very bleak in its outlook. Rather brilliant in my opinion.

I regret that I could not find it in me to rate this album 5 starts because it appeals very much to me as a human being. It isn't perfect, but its damn close. Although probably not the best introduction to GYB!E because it is very different from the rest of their work, it is still very highly recommended by me. Even if you dislike post rock, there is a very good chance that you will love this recording. It's worth every penny, even if listening to it regularly is virtually impossible.

Review by ClemofNazareth
4 stars These guys had really managed to renew my hope and faith in the future of progressive music with their debut F# A# ∞, specifically because ofits originality, passion, and the fascinating field-recorded spoken words. The Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada EP was just as appealing, this one for the hilariously pitiful and bizarre tale of “Blaise Bailey Finnegan III”, and for the absolutely stunning beauty of “Moya”. By the time “Lift Your Skinny Fists…” came along I was glad to hear four extended tracks along the lines of my first love – “Providence”, slightly more polished but exquisitely arranged and orchestrated. But I was wondering if the sound would begin to wear at some point, maybe not then, but eventually. Other offshoots like A Silver Mt. Zion and Set Fire to Flames were introducing subtle nuances to their music that just weren’t obvious in “Lift …”, and frankly I was beginning to think I was growing bored with Godspeed. The bloom was beginning to fade on the lilly, in other words.

And when Yanqui U.X.O. released, I sensed this even more. The first couple of times I listened to this album – nothing. Not that it was bad, but I kept finding myself comparing certain sounds, passages, or transitions to something I had heard before, usually either in “Lift…” or on the Set Fire to Flames album. It just seemed like Godspeed had played itself out. But by the forth listen or so it began to dawn on me that there were some subtle but significant differences to this album over the previous ones, although not enough to inspire the kind of giddy pleasure I'd had in listening to the band's first couple of releases.

First and foremost are the none-too-subtle political leanings. Based on previous Godspeed albums I’d developed a suspicion the group had leftward political leanings, but there was nothing overtly Che Guevara-like in their messages. Well, maybe just a little on “Lift…”. But with Yanqui U.X.O. the band hits you right in the face with their flaming anarchist Canadianism, and frankly I found their honesty at least a refreshing change from some of their previous aloofness. Yanqui = oppressive Anglo (most likely American) occupiers, and U.X.O. = unexploded ordnance. It’s a perfect segue into the first track on the album.

So I guess the story this song is trying to tell is about a military invasion into Palestine by the Israelis. Talk about your timely topics! One review I read suggested you play this while listening to the evening world news. How sobering (and at the same time, what an incredibly powerful way to feel the music!). Technically there are a few interesting twists here, with the violin portions in the middle having been recorded and played backwards over the rest of the piece to give a kind of halting feel to the slowly building crescendo (which itself never actually ‘crescends’ – it just kind of ebbs and flows a few times with succeeding force). The only downside I hear on this song is that at the end I’m left with a very vague notion that the whole story hasn’t quite been told. Of course, there is the quieter ‘second half’ also entitled “09-15-00”, which on close listen could be construed as a continuation of the opening track. It could also be something completely unrelated – hard to say. One is left to surmise what this one is all about. Although overall the sound is quite a bit less strident than it’s similarly-named predecessor, this track also has a bit of a kick in the persistent cymbals and almost droning strings. The dull grind of the cello especially causes the listener to feel a bit out of sorts, apprehensive, almost as if the song is foretelling of some terrible happening. The end is rather abrupt and slightly disheveled.

“Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls” starts off with plucking (guitar and also violin, I believe) and a brisk, quiet guitar strum, slowly augmented with violin and cello in that trademark lazy, maddeningly slow way that Godspeed is so good at. This sets both an idyllic and tense mood as the informed listener knows this is building toward something big. And it does, comparatively quickly for these guys – after only about three minutes there is a turgid drone of guitar and drums that alternates with short lulls several times over the next ten minutes or so, with a few bells and a persistent ringing guitar thread that hovers over the whole sordid affair. I won’t bother to explain the entire progression of the track as it lasts a good twenty minutes and moves from what I’ve just described to an interminably slow lull accented with horns and mild percussion, and finally working its way back to the obligatory climax.

The two part “Motherf**ker=Redeemer” is practically an album unto itself, clocking in at an admirable thirty-two minutes plus. From what I understand the album version differs from the CD in that it has a long melodic intro, and is missing the hidden track at the end with the only spoken words on the album (check them out for a chuckle).

This album differs from the previous Godspeed works in that the crescendos are not as predictable, the sound is a bit more stark than anything since their debut, and the variations are more pronounced. But this is a brave new world they have moved into, and leave the hope and promise of further forays in the future, whether under the label Godspeed, or otherwise. Three stars, and very close to four.


Review by Prog-jester
5 stars GYBE in their darkest

No samples this time.No happy tunes.Just Darkness all the way.I adore it - not all,only Rocket Falls haven't got me,but even considering this Yanqui U.X.O. is awesome.It's a must for every Post-Rock and GYBE-collector and a very good experience for newbies to a genre.Nevertheless I'd recommend it to anybody on this planet - GYBE was (and I hope IS) one of the best new bands in our dimension...and in few others ;-)

Review by Zitro
4 stars Minimalist beauty, A highlight within the genre of post-rock.

This is a very minimalist album which explores and develops themes, tones, and riffs for extensive lengths. These developments reach their climaxes in an excellent matter. If I had to choose the aspect I like the most about this album is how masterfully the band grows from lows to highs in terms of decible levels and emotional power. The album consists of only three songs, two of them being divided into two parts. Even though there are only three songs, the album is over seventy minutes long, requiring patience to the listener. The mood of the album, which has several military musical references, is completely dark, angry, and gloomy. I wonder what the album is really about, but based on the title of the album and the name of the last song, it seems to be an album against USA's Government (possibly Bush) though 2002 isn't a year were Bush was widely frowned upon by the world. Back to the music, as the album is very repetitive, it is recommended to listen to it as background music. I actually consider it one of my favorite albums whenever I am studying as it is instrumental, doesn't distract myself, and doesn't require abrupt dynamics as I am mostly focused on how to solve a damn linear algebra problem. 09-15-00 is the most accessible song in here, showing what the band is about. You hear themes and riffs repeated for numerous minutes, growing slowly and slowly into climaxes. The instrumentation is extremely unique, and interesting, containing a huge number of layers of sound involving instruments rare in rock. The theme of the song is repeated since around minute 6-8 and ends at the end of the first part, yet it keeps my interest. The climax is very powerful. The second part sounds a bit like the beginning of the first part yet it doesn't recycle the themes. Very atmospheric and enjoyable: one of my favorite moments in the album. The atmosphere and style continues with Rockets fall on Rocket Falls , an excellent song that uses all the elements of the first, without sounding like the same old thing again. This song is a bit more dynamic and appear to have tiny climaxes (gasp, choruses!??) in parts. Overall, a great, if repetitive song that has its best moments in its first 6 minutes. Mother[%*!#]er=Redeemer pt1 is the highlight of the album, one of the most beautiful pieces of music I've ever heard in the post-rock genre, rivaling the most beautiful Sigur Ros songs. The song is mostly a couple of main themes, but the way the song is arranged is absolutely brilliant. The guitar riff in the second half of the first part of this song is mesmerizing and screams doom. pt2 closes the album in style, with the same style.

Who should get this album: Anyone who is a fan of post-rock, minimalist music, and does not mind repetition in their music. Anyone who is looking for an album that doesn't distract the listener when doing something rather than focusing on the music. If you focus on the music, you find a huge amount of layers. If you don't focus on the music, you find a great atmospheric instrumental music that serves excellently for background music.

Who should NOT get this album: Anyone with a short attention span, anyone who does not enjoy repetition in their music. Anyone who is looking for dynamic and structurally complex music. Anyone who does not favor long songs, especially when they don't have a lot of melodies to explore.

My Grade: B+

Review by OpethGuitarist
3 stars Been There, Done That.

While not a poor release by any means, this album fails to really explore any new grounds as might be seen on the previous 2 albums, in addition to the fact that the atmospheres created are not as inspiring, (or any many listeners case, depressing) as the previous albums (odd description yes, I'm aware). It's a bit more disturbing of an album, but ultimately as an artistic work is not "up there" with the others. Think Pink Floyd releasing WYWH and Animals and then The Wall, kind of falling along similar lines here.

The biggest problem with most of this album is drag. It's difficult enough with other aspects of the bands releases and the amount of patience that is required to make the album a pleasant listen. The reward isn't worth the effort, as it was with songs like Providence or Storm. Other than this we have much of the same, although the music is still quite good, I guess I'm most disappointed as this is the band's last release (unless they happen to reform) and would've liked to see them branch out in other areas.

Regardless, still a very good album with many enjoyable moments. GYBE will always be considered one of the founders of the post-rock movement and a staple of the genre.

Review by Mellotron Storm
4 stars The title of the album is no doubt political as "Yanqui" is Spanish for Yankee and "U.X.O." stands for "Unexploded Ordinences" like cluster bombs or landmines.They also attack the record companies by connecting them to the military as diagramed on the back of the album cover.They suggest in this diagram that the four major record labels fund armies indirectly. And they also encourage fans not to buy from the big retail chain-stores. The big difference for me between this record and their previous ones is the removal of samples. They are stripped down for this one and this it's also quite long at 75 minutes. My only complaint is that the music is predictable for the most part. You know the drill, slowly build to an explosive climax and then start over and do it again. There is nothing new here but it still impresses big time !

"09-15-00 (Part One)" is also political as mentioned in the liner notes it refers to "Ariel Sharon surrounded by 1,000 Isreali soldiers marching on Al-Haram Ash-Sharif and provoking another intifada". Their words not mine. I'm a huge supporter of isreal. The song starts out quietly as it slowly builds to the first climax before setttling back down. It then rebuilds to less of a climax. Violin melodies 8 minutes in start to build (surprise) as guitars join in. We get the biggest explosion of sound in this song 10 minutes in that lasts a minute and a half. Nice. It calms back down we go again ! 14 1/2 minutes i'm laughing because they're in the power-rage mode again, a wall of sound. "09-15-00 (Part Two)" really compliments the first song as we get slowly played beautiful melodies. "Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls" starts to get powered up 3 1/2 minutes in when the drums arrive followed by some scorching guitar. It's absolute mayhem 5 minutes in as the rockets have fallen ! The drums slowly pound for quite a while as some trumpet comes in and then guitar, and 13 minutes in it's getting louder. 16 minutes in we're close to an apocalyptic-like soundscape. The drum pattern finally changes 16 1/2 minutes in and then an ear piercing sound follows. "Motherf**ker=Redeemer (Part One)" starts to build especially when drums and violin come in after 3 minutes. We get a brief outbreak but not the real thing until 7 1/2 minutes in when they are on fire ! It calms down as we get some brief heaviness before it becomes very sad and depressing to the end of the song. "Motherf**ker Redeemer (Part Two)" actually has a catchy melody that builds. Machine gun-like drumming after 3 minutes. This might be the best song on the album, the drumming is great.

Well there it is, perhaps the last record from this legendary band. Yes it's different, and it has divided a lot of their fans. For me this ranks right up there at 4.5 stars.

Review by sean
4 stars I'm honestly not too familiar with the post-rock genre, not yet anyway. It's something I discovered fairly recently, and I have to say, this band is my favourite for the genre at the moment. The music is dark and moody and is good music for sitting in a dark room contemplating things, especially when you are in a bad mood or are just pensive in general. Most songs start off slowly, often with only one or two instruments, and gradually build to a cathartic climax of crashing instruments. One thing I particularly enjoy is the lack of synths. Now, I'm a keyboard player, but I have so much admiration for this band that creates textures in a more orchestral style, relying on guitars, strings, and woodwinds, as well as the occasional glockenspiel. This album consists of three songs, and two are divided into two parts each. Taken as whole songs though, none of the songs are under twenty minutes. However, this does not get boring, though I tend to prefer longer songs anyway. Many people might find it boring though, because of the minimalist approach and overall slowness of the music. I, however, think this works well for this band who I look forward to exploring a bit more. I hesitate to give it five stars, but I think it deserves four and a half. Highly recommended, but maybe hard to get in to for those used to traditional symphonic prog.
Review by Queen By-Tor
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Post-Rock's greatest.

Ah, it's that genre of Post-rock. Characterized by space-outed-ness and long, slow songs. Truly this album characterizes the genre to the enth degree, taking advantage of very long, slow, tracks that seem to go on and on and on. Surely this album is everything that people say it is: Emotional, skillfully played and well orchestrated. What then, keeps me from giving this album the praise that it apparently deserves then? Well, it's fairly long winded and the songs just keep going. This is great for people who very much enjoy spacey, ambient post rock, but everyone else is likely to get bored after a while.

However, that being said, you do have to give respect to the quality of music produced here. There's not too much to say about the album, being that it's fairly hard to break down track by track; every track would have me say - another long instrumental. Three stars for eing well played but inaccessible to anyone other than post-rock fans. Recommended to anyone who loves Sigur Ros or long-winded emotional roller coasters... and a big /avoid/ sticker for people who want something a little more lively.

Maybe I've missed something that makes the album inexplicably wonderful... it's good, but it's rating is beyond me.

Review by ProgBagel
5 stars Godspeed You Black Emperor! - 'Yanqui U.X.O' 5 stars

I recall the sound of the debut album describing what the apocalypse would look like. I recalled the sound of this album describing the apocalypse right before it happens. This is the most shadowy album I have ever heard.

What splits this album from the preceding couple is the absence of dialogue. Ironically, the music has stepped it up. From the ambient intro of '09-15-00', I was very excited about how the rest of the song would pan out. The typical bombastic climax the music eventually climbs into featuring some harsh strings is replaced by a more sustained and slower tempo fuller-ensemble. The music is never supposed to sway your emotions, but just keep you down, the excitement just makes you sit and wait for the end.

'Rockets Fall on Rocket Falls' displays the kind of music I would think of if a bombing was occurring. A plucked guitar and violin intro do not last too long on this track before it gets moving into a haunting bombardment of drums, droned guitar and daft strings. This piece has many different movements that I can't keep describe so feeblish, but there are some nice things added in this song besides its unpredictable structure, like horns and percussions.

'Mother[%*!#]er=Redeemer' is my favorite on the album by just a hair. I just love the Jewish celebration music that slowly oozes its way in right after a small intro. It stays for a while and makes itself back into the piece time to time, and more varied each time it makes its presence. This track can sum up everything Godspeed has included during their short career. It is mostly a guitar driven track, peculiar for Godspeed since one instrument is never really dominant. The guitar leads the pieces in many different ways whether it would have a flanged/ambient tone, harsh dissonance, tremolo picked or just a straight up, well, guitar sound. Godspeed's most diverse track that is ironically their longest.

Really dark, I mean, realllly dark album. It serves its purpose. If you want something that will really make you feel down, this is it.

Review by Gatot
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars The trouble for me in listening to this kind of music is truly the extra (in fact, super duper extra) patience waiting for the music movements from one segment to another. Typically it takes four to 5 minutes from one segment of repeated chords and notes to the next one. The opening track "09-15-00 (Part One)" (16:26) requires me four minutes of intro with repeated chords and notes to another movement. This span of time is about the same with listening to one great song like Marillion's "Hotel Hobbies" or "Emerald Lies". Also, this opening track only allows drum work at minute 9:30, with just a simple drumming for maintaing the beats, nothing dynamic on drumming. Sometimes I feel like I am wasting my time listening to this piece of music. But when I look at rave reviews on the net, I feel depressed as I have differing perceptions compared to most people who have written on the net. What's wrong with me? Am I getting mad? Why can't I enjoy this kind of music? If this kind of music is considered as prog, I might not be a prog man any longer!

The other problem that I feel, with this album, is the music style that moves from something soft and then very slowly moves to louder sound and get louder and get very loud that annoys my ears really. I cannot help it that I may be able to enjoy this kind in a very very special case when something like self-reflection or silence is required. Or, in some cases, to create the nuance before reading the Koran. And I have to be honest that I can not give high rating with this album as there is little complexity from its composition and the music is typically moving very very slowly which makes me bored.

Out of all five tracks, I probably can enjoy track 3 "Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls" (20:42) and "Motherf**ker=Redeemer (Part One)" (21:22) as they music have some more variations than the others. Yes, both of them move very slowly but there are segments with good sounds.

Overall, I can only say that I truly appreciate those of you who can enjoy, and therefore admire, the music of this album. But I have my own stand that until this point of time I feel that this is not the kind of music I aspire. Hopefully, with the passage of time it will grow on me and I would adjust my rating accordingly. I still have to deal with my patience to enjoy this music peacefully. I know that this is Ramadhan (fasting month) for me as Moslem, but still .. I can not help it yet. So, I think this music is for true collectors. Keep on proggin' ..!

Peace on earth and mercy mild - GW (i-Rock! Music Community)

Review by Chris S
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
2 stars This 2002 release whilst still a good album does not quite live up to expectations. Again very hard to improve upon Lift Your Skinny Fists or even their debut but the track 9:15 (part two) does offer much of the same vintage sound we had become used to. Yanqui has a more measured laid back sound, the production seems crisper but the repetitive embellishments do not evoke as much convincing emotions. Not quite as melancholic either, even the heavier parts. They needed a change of direction but perhaps they did not shift direction enough. Redeemer (part two) and 9:15 (part two) defintely the pick of the bunch. If you are new to this band seek out any of their first three releases. This is by no means a poor album but it is not best representative of their finer moments.
Review by Prog Leviathan
4 stars This creative post-rock group uses a alternative instrumentation (mostly acoustic strings), powerful compositions, and an exceptional use of dynamics to create music that can reach heights of crushing beauty and anxiety-inducing intensity. In many ways, GY!BE is the iconic post-rock band, and this is their probably their most powerful and interesting album. I think the overall experience can be summed up as baleful, taking the listener to powefully dark places of their own imagining.

The template "Yanqui" uses is repeated throughout this album: slow, delicate, threatening introductions, swelling over the course of several minutes to nightmarish crescendos of distortion and frantic rhythm. This is largely accomplished by the heavy use of violin and guitar distortion, and will almost certainly make the listener feel something. Many won't like "Yanqui" sound, it can simply be too dark and too stressful to be enjoyed; for those initiated into the conventions of the genre, it offers an original sound of destructive, depressing instrumentals which pack a whallop. Play "Yanqui" to clear the room at a party, scare your neighbors, and make your relatives wonder if maybe "your 'music' has gone too far".

A dark, brooding highlight of the genre.

Songwriting: 4 Instrumental Performances: 3 Lyrics/Vocals: NA Style/Emotion/Replay: 4

Review by zravkapt
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator
3 stars Ever since this album came out I thought it was a step down from the great Lift Your Skinny Fists... I first discovered GYBE around 2001 and heard Skinny Fists first. I loved it and it convinced me that, indeed, there was still great music being made. I heard their pre-Skinny material and I liked what I heard. I thought this ensemble were going somewhere and could only get better. So, when Yanqui came out, I couldn't wait to hear it. When I finally did hear it I was disappointed. The vocal samples were gone and the music just seemed to drag on and on in places.

Here they change the position of the "!" for some reason. They would go on a long hiatus after this album. Now working with producer Steve Albini on this album, who was known for his work with grunge bands in the 1990s. Yanqui is a sort of instrumental concept album about the weapons of war. They make a connection between major record companies and how they are in bed with weapons manufacturers on the back cover. The music here is not much different from previous releases, but it has less memorable moments than before.

"09-15-00 (Part One)" has the music slowly building and then it stops around 6 minutes in. Then a different section begins. Drums come in around 9 minutes and the music gets more interesting. Later everything quiets down and there is some military style drumming. Builds up to a loud crescendo at the end. "09-15-00 (Part Two)" has a steady hi-hat throughout. Basically just guitar and violin textures.

"Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls" starts with some nice 3-note guitar playing before other instruments join in. 3 1/2 minutes in it gets louder and more intense, then dies down and comes back again. I like the guitar effect used here. Later on some tribal pounding on the drums and some strings come in. The song then grows into a more chamber-prog style; this part will appeal to some avant-prog fans. After post-rock guitars start to drown out everything else except the drums which get louder. The cool guitar effect comes back. Ends with tremoloed guitar and strings.

"Motherf*cker=Redeemer (Part One)" begins with a 'ping' sound and random noises on different instruments. Some guitar and strings before a steady bass drum and hi-hat. Then melodic violin and bass. Some snare drum now and more guitars and strings. Builds towards first crescendo. Before 9 minutes starts some great melodic bass playing. After the music dies down and then a 6-note guitar figure which gets repeated for about 8 minutes with random noises from other instruments coming and going. This guitar part is done on a heavier guitar at one point. Not always the same 6 notes and there is a little variation, but this part takes up the majority of the last half which is really, really boring.

"Motherf*cker=Redeemer (Part Two)" is the best song. It takes awhile to get going. The music is mostly based around what the bass is playing. Builds to a crescendo and pretty much stays there with changes in tempo. When the drums stop begins the best part of the song with good guitar parts. Drums and bass then join in. Last minute or so is guitar feedback and violin.

If you want to get into GYBE I suggest you put this at the bottom of your list. You should hear their previous work first. This group, and post-rock in general, seemed to have reached a dead-end in the mid-00s. This situation has improved slightly in the past few years, but for awhile it appeared that post-rock had said all it could say. GYBE is now touring again, and if they make another album , I hope it is better than this one. Yanqui U.X.O. deserves 3 stars.

Review by Warthur
4 stars Having reached a brilliant peak on the Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada EP and Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven double album, Godspeed You Black Emperor returned with a reconfigured sound on Yanqui UXO. Gone are the scratchy extracts of found audio shimmering in and out of focus which gave their preceding releases such a distinctive sound; this all- instrumental album seems to be a deliberate attempt to prove that the band could produce brilliant music without such tricks or chicanery.

And, of course, they can... but we already knew that from their preceding material, which was never as dominated by the audio samples as the band's detractors made it out to be. As it is, the album is pretty decent, but the atmosphere does lose a little something when the band are on their best behaviour and not getting up to tape-recorded mischief. Of the Godspeed releases to date (excepting the All Lights Fucked On the Hairy Amp Drooling tape, which pretty much nobody outside of the band has heard so I can't comment on it), I'd say this is the least essential. Still damn good... but Godspeed at their prime were so much more than this.

Review by Neu!mann
4 stars The pioneering Post Rockers of GY!BE faced an inevitable challenge in the follow-up to their epic twin-disc "Lift Your Skinny Fists...etc". And the mixed reception that greeted the band's third album in 2002 showed even devoted fans struggling to keep pace with what was really just a natural advance in their musical agenda.

Like any evolutionary step forward the change was almost infinitesimal but very real, signaled by the artful relocating of the exclamation mark in the ensemble's already odd moniker. It's true the new album was more overtly political, at least in its artwork and title. But the music itself, being entirely instrumental, maintained a fidelity to art over propaganda, despite contentious track titles like the two-part "Motherf*cker=Redeemer" (of course it would have been even more provocative the other way around).

The band didn't tinker much with their neo-classical instrumentation and arrangements, often presented with an avant-garde lassitude ideal for anyone who thought the music of kindred spirits SIGUR RÓS too bouncy and bright. The Godspeed crowd was also renowned for not using keyboards in their mini-symphonies, but is that a mellotron I hear early in "09-15-00", or just the treated sound of a violin or viola?

More attention was devoted to structure and internal flow: note the lack of enigmatic sub-sections. Having fewer transitions between interior movements allowed the players to stretch their music to the breaking point, as heard in the slow heat-death of "Rockets Fall On Rocket Falls". Just when it seems like the tempo is succumbing to the second law of thermodynamics it begins powering up, slowly gaining strength and momentum like a vast, unstoppable glacier (before global warming), at one point suddenly swapping its relentless 4/4 rhythm for an even more urgent 3/4 time.

There seems to have been a deliberate attempt to dial back the uncanny power of earlier efforts. As loud as it often is, the music here leans more toward minimalism, favoring monochromatic repetition instead of Technicolor drama. Maybe the title U.X.O (Unexploded Ordinance) was something more than just an offhand slap at the global military-industrial complex: this is the sound of a highly explosive ensemble, but without the expected detonation.

Or maybe what we're hearing are the smoldering ashes left behind by the auto-da-fé of "Lift Your Skinny Fists..." Either way the results won't have the same immediate impact as the previous album, but given time and patience it may yet prove to be their most accomplished statement.

Review by siLLy puPPy
4 stars YANQUI U.X.O (Spanish for Yankee followed by "unexploded ordnance" is the fourth release (third full album by GODSPEED YOU BLACK EMPEROR (they dropped the "!" on this one) and although it wasn't lauded with the praise that their previous releases had because of the fact they dropped their field recordings and some of the techniques they had utilized in the past, this album still retains the post-apocalyptic feel and sense of impending doom and dread of the others. In fact, the album cover says it all. It is simply an aircraft in the process of dropping bombs which leaves a world of devastated death, destruction and bleakness. The fact that they included no human utterings whatsoever only heightens that bleakness for me. The music is admittedly a tad more simplistic but it feels even darker and more hopeless than even I thought possible.

In short, this album is the logical extension of the others. It still retains the pulsating post-rock triumphs that GODSPEED is so famous for without all those extra touches that some may have deemed distracting. The music is the sole focus and they deliver it in a mesmerizing and hypnotic fashion. The repetitive string laden passages and the ominous hooks ratchet up to a harder and more frenzied climax this time around however it is true that GODSPEED doesn't really add much new to the mix. I can understand the criticism and all about this particular release but when a band catches on to a sound this profound and powerful I am not the least bit disappointed to hear another similar album in the vein of its predecessors There was more than enough life left in this sound to make a fourth release that was a viable addition to their discography. Due to the crazy amount of side projects taking up band members' time, there would not be another GODSPEED album for another ten years. Creepy and excellent.

Review by TCat
SPECIAL COLLABORATOR Honorary Collaborator / Retired Admin
5 stars Another amazing collection of music by this seminal band. There isn't a lot of political music out there anymore, but GY!BE is political...and they are Canadian. They hit the political message right in the nose.....and they are mostly instrumental. In fact, in this album, they are completely instrumental and this is probably their most political/musical album. But that is one of the beauties can take the political side and guess at what they are trying to convey by looking at the album art and etc., or you can close your eyes and imagine any image that the music conjures up in your mind.

Like I said, this is all instrumental. There are no sound collages and field recordings that were evident on their other albums, and, unfortunately, it is the one thing that is missed here. But the music itself is awesome. There are 3 main compositions here, two of them are divided into 2 parts, plus the vinyl had one extra track (which, by the way, is a spoken word recording by George Bush which has been cut and pasted together). Each separate composition is actually a multi-movement work, but, and this is another unfortunate fact, the movements are not outlined in the program notes or track list like it was on "Lift Yr Skinny Fists....". I do miss that because it would make the tracks seem less dense on this album. I know having that diagram of the breakdown of the tracks on the previous album really helped in the understanding of the music structure. But, once again, the music is still amazing. This album is more of a musicscape where their other albums were soundscapes.

It always surprises me, that given the length of most of GB!YE's works, that the time always seems to fly by when I am listening to them. On this album, you have 2 tracks that are over 20 minutes, but, even with the slow buildups and long releases, the time still goes by quickly and they are over before I know it.

A lot of this music was actually in existence before the recording of the E.P. "Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada", so it's been around for a while before the recording of this album. The music was perfected and retitled (from titles in GY!BE concerts). The music works off the basic Post-rock formula, which in many cases for me, has been a failure for many other bands because they don't expand on the formula enough. However, it always seems to work so well for GY!BE, because of the emotion put into the music, the way all the layers work together so well, the timing seems to always be right as far as when to reach the inevitable climax, and the fact that the music always moves or progresses. Rhythms change almost seamlessly but at a moments notice, the music is symphonic and epic. To me, this is in the same category as Classical music, even if it is still rock (progressive art rock), it is rock music pushed to newer boundaries.

A lot of fans seem to have had a harder time with this album. I know I did at first, but now I notice a lot more variety and movements within each song, which were not quite so evident without the program notes that were available in "Lift...". The music seems denser at first too because it isn't broken up by the field recordings. The thing is, with this album, it takes more time for it to sink in. But, the beauty and the wonder is still all there. Dynamics are determined more by layering then I think it was on earlier albums. There is definitely a lot more dissonance in this album also, which works well for the music on this album.

When I first heard this album, I considered it a lesser recording than the previous albums. I have gotten past that now. It took time, but I have found the masterpiece in this album and now consider it as great as their other albums. Yes it is a masterpiece and, as the other GY!BE albums, I consider it essential, especially for the proclaimed lovers of Post-rock.

Latest members reviews

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 incorporati ... (read more)

Report this review (#2283088) | Posted by sgtpepper | Thursday, November 21, 2019 | Review Permanlink

4 stars The Second-Best GYBE Album. This double album (shortened to 77 minutes for the CD) is a huge musical accomplishment. It contains some of GYBE's most original and innovative music, in their whole catalogue. However, it is largely missing the street noises and voice-overs that characterized the fir ... (read more)

Report this review (#1697631) | Posted by Walkscore | Tuesday, February 28, 2017 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Yanqui UXO, for a long time, was my bedtime album. Whenever I had difficulty going to sleep, I'd put this on and by the time the main riff starts building up in 9-15-00 (Part 1), I'd be out. It's not that it's necessarily a boring album, or that it's based more in ambient than the others, but it i ... (read more)

Report this review (#1468377) | Posted by Insin | Tuesday, September 22, 2015 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Where Godspeed You! Black Emperor perfected their sound... Over time I have amassed Godspeed's three albums and EP, and I found all of them (before this one) slightly dissatisfactory in some way. It just seemed like the band had a lot of good music in them, but theydidn't know how to filter ... (read more)

Report this review (#501634) | Posted by idoownu | Thursday, August 11, 2011 | Review Permanlink

4 stars Yanqui U.X.O. is my least favourite Godspeed You! Black Emperor album. It strips their musical formula of the soundscapes that made it so original and maximizes the space with the extended, evolving post-rock pieces that dominate their live performances. The core part of their music that painted ... (read more)

Report this review (#294173) | Posted by msphelps | Wednesday, August 11, 2010 | Review Permanlink

3 stars This one didnt blow me away like Lift Yr. Skinny Fists did...quite a disapointment actually... Yanqui UXO is Godspeed's most recent, and probolbly their last (what a shame) but this attempt dosnt have the same quality as their other two albums do. The sound produced on Yanqui UXO is simalar t ... (read more)

Report this review (#218461) | Posted by pianoman | Tuesday, May 26, 2009 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Breathtaking. This is one of the greatest post-rock records I've ever heard in my life. Post-rock masters Godspeed You! Black Emperor seem to have gone out of comission, but not without leaving us with their masterpiece: Yanqui U.X.O. This album differs a bit from their previous efforts: no ... (read more)

Report this review (#133164) | Posted by heyitsthatguy | Wednesday, August 15, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars To me, Godspeed You! Black Emperor is truly the Black Emperor or post-rock. Bands like Mono, Explosions in the sky, Mogwai may try to emoulate their sound but, even when they manage to make something own out of it, Godspeed will still sit peacefully on their peak in the sky, watching all the other ... (read more)

Report this review (#130204) | Posted by Evans | Wednesday, July 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

5 stars The album that got me in to post rock. At first when I first heard it I didn't like it at all. It really took me time to get in to this album. After a time of listen it I really felt like WOW! This is totally amazing. This album is a truly masterpiece in every sense of the word. The album in s ... (read more)

Report this review (#108802) | Posted by | Thursday, January 25, 2007 | Review Permanlink

3 stars Ah yes, my first introduction to Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This album is perhaps a tad overrated, because people said that there are some truly beautiful melodies and emotional content. The latter is present, very present, however the beautiful melodies have been replaced with loud, menacing r ... (read more)

Report this review (#104426) | Posted by Axel Dyberg | Monday, December 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars Possibly the best post-rock album, and definitely the best output from Godspeed You! Black Emperor. This album shows the group experimenting with stranger musical ideas and motifs... there is far more dissonance than their previous albums, especially in the last two tracks. I can also hear ... (read more)

Report this review (#98467) | Posted by I|I|I|I|I | Sunday, November 12, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This album is extremely mournful and depressing, it's hard to get through it in one sitting. It's very dynamic, and well produced. Even though they have done the same methods before, they still make it sound new and avoid sounding like they've rehashed their work! This album is my favorite rel ... (read more)

Report this review (#87176) | Posted by Meddler | Monday, August 14, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars I love this record. I don't know why actually, because it's sad and moody, but when the last track ends I feel PEACEFUL. Really. This album is a mix of war, love, fear and the music collapses on me. It's impressive. Even if it's simple and repetitive, I could call it a masterpiece. 1. The fir ... (read more)

Report this review (#81912) | Posted by crumble_soul | Sunday, June 25, 2006 | Review Permanlink

5 stars This is just another piece of incredible music from a quite unique band, with a very "steady" discography. By steady I mean that you won't find any poor releases, no matter wich one you're buying. The five themes of Yanqui U.X.O are a very slow and tense progression, from a very peacefull (yet ... (read more)

Report this review (#62778) | Posted by cuncuna | Monday, January 2, 2006 | Review Permanlink

2 stars The low amount of stars that I give this CD is a result of real hard effort to like it, but I just can't. It drives me mad!! It just goes on and on and on and on for eternity in this massive and hypnotic rattling way. Not that there aren't beautyful parts on the album, but when stretching thes ... (read more)

Report this review (#59723) | Posted by 1971 | Thursday, December 8, 2005 | Review Permanlink

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