‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! – Godspeed You! Black Emperor

It’s been 10 years since Canadian band Godspeed You! Black Emperor released an album. In their time, Godspeed You! Black Emperor released three full length studio albums and one EP (amongst other pieces of work). For me, they’ve always been one of my favourite bands with their music being highly consistent with each album and of a very high quality. Each album seemed to represent something new, each invoking different emotions and sounding just that little bit different each time. The wonderful diversity with each album kept me drawn to them as a band, and I’ve always been wanting to hear something new.

When the band went on an indefinite hiatus, I was under the impression that it’d be a very long time before there’d be any new Godspeed You! Black Emperor material. It came as a complete surprise to me then, to see that they’d released a new album rather discreetly and suddenly. Without hesitation, I instantly gave the album a listen.

The album is comprised of four songs, two being album-versions of tracks that have been played live, but until now, were previously unreleased. The album is mostly consists of these two songs (previously named ‘Gamelan’ and ‘Albanian’) with both last roughly 20 minutes in length. The two tracks are divided up by shorter tracks lasting roughly 6 minutes in length. The album is a very dark album, invoking many of the same feelings that their last album ‘Yanqui U.X.O.’ gave off. Much like it’s predecessor, it drones, with the use of drums being very important. It is interesting, as whilst it feels much the same as ‘Yanqui U.X.O.’, it is still very different at the same time, although why this is, I am not so sure. Off the top of my head, I think it is because the instrumentation is much more defined. I felt that with the last album, everything was very dense and blurred into each other, whilst on this new album, everything has it’s moments. At times, the guitars are at the foreground, and then moved to the background to give the drums room to perform. It gives the whole album a whole spectacle, as though the instruments themselves are performers in the music, each trying to tell their own messages.

I’ve always felt that with Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s music, there’s almost a film-like quality to them. It is as though they are the unused soundtracks to films that the band haven’t yet made. It makes the music exciting to listen to, as in your head, many vivid images come swarming to the mind, based on whatever song you’re listened too. In ”Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!’ the music is much more dark, giving a sort of post-apocalyptic feel to it. At times, it feels like there is celebration within the music, that although there is a dark world to live in, there is still times of joy and wonder. This is what makes Godspeed You! Black Emperor such a great band, in the way that their music seems to give off a wonderful array of different emotions, and that probably anyone who listens to them will feel or even experience different emotions.

Overall, ”Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!’ is my current favourite album of the year. Although the style of music isn’t for everyone, it is a highly consistent album. The flow to the music is perfect, with each song complimenting each other wonderfully. It is dark with some slight hints of hope, much like their last album. It is full of drones, accompanied by many different movements of guitars, bass, drums and violins which all help to create the picture that the music is painting. It is perfect instrumental rock music, that demonstrates perfectly what the band is capable of. What’s best is that nothing has changed in so many years, that the band is still perfectly able to perform brilliantly and to perfection. The only problem with this album is the fact that it took 10 years to release! I can only hope that they write more material and release it in a smaller time-frame. But perhaps I am being selfish there. Godspeed You! Black Emperor only need to continue to do what they always do. Continue to be themselves basically, and nothing more.

Album Rating:

  • ★★★★★ 5/5

Selected Songs:

  • Mladic
  • We Drift Like Worried Fire
  • Strung Like Lights at Thee Printemps Erable
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Categories: 5-Star Reviews, Albums, Old Album Reviews (2012) | Tags: , , , , | Leave a comment

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