Hello again, dear Godspeedfathers of Postrock. It’s been a while. GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR (and yes, the ! really does switch positions) broke up in 2003 and surprised their audience with a return to stages in 2010. Soon rumors about a possible new album spread amongst the scene. And after keeping everyone in suspense for two more long years their new album Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! actually comes out on October 19th via Constellation. Almost exactly ten years ago their last work Yanqui U.X.O. was released. What happened in the meantime of a full decade? Sure, main guitarist Efrim Menuck has been busy, recording solo and with A Silver Mt Zion. But what changed? At first glance, everything seems quite the usual: An album of only four songs, two of them almost twenty minutes long. As well, the album seems mainly an illustrative composition of sound, miles away from pop-consensus and -rules. Pictorial associations flood the inside of the eyelids within seconds. Their helicopter’s sing is so onomatopoetic that it could easily be the sound on vision to a video. The eternal turning and buzzing of the rotors can literally be heard in the howling violins and rasping guitars. Mladic mixes some oriental influences in the melodies, twisted in the typical noise. After all, Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! especially is the sequel of the never ending story of the art of continuously rising and then again ebbing away dynamics. For minutes you might not hear anything but glissandos on the violin accompanied by slightly structuring dead note riffs on the guitar and then again fall into an amazing polyrhythmic chaos, a massive uproar, moving as one shape but flickering like crazy on the inside. The classic Godspeed-sound costume helps the dramaturgy as known from ten years before: GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR still don’t overuse reverb and delay effects, like so many other post-rock-colleagues tend to do. Rooms sound wide but natural , almost real, and the sound is still dry and punctured, which is good, because the chaos of what feels like an endless amount of layers of patterns would otherwise fade into noise only. But as it is the way it is. the attentive ear finds a way to follow each and every pattern and with every listening a new path trough the song.
So, no. They didn’t reinvent themselves. It rather feels like for 10 years they carried this around with them as something they had left to say but never fully expressed. And even though the album was highly anticipated the tension remains. You may spent some wonderful hours with Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! but will still be excited to find out, where GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR will be going in the future.
You can stream the entire album at guardian.co.uk
GODSPEED YOU! BLACK EMPEROR
post-rock / experimental / ambient
from Montreal, Canada
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