Godspeed You! Black Emperor
‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Dec 12, 2012 Web Exclusive
With thoughtfully crafted compositions so carefully rendered, Godspeed You! Black Emperor plays like a massed force that could show its mighty strength at any time, and can be equally compelling and unnerving when it does. "Mladic" carries an orchestra's depth; a thick cloud of guitar roils atop a layer of storm-cloud drums before the fever finally breaks at roughly 18 minutes, after which the piece rides out with a tribal stomp. The shorter "Their Helicopters Sing" swells in a six-minute drone exercise.
"We Drift Like Worried Fire," the heart of the record, is Godspeed at its evocative best. Beginning with subdued strings, the band settles in with a melodic theme that builds tension (sharing similar territory with Explosions in the Sky) and crests with peaking electric guitar and strings. Taking a rhythmic turn that also incorporates some Far East flair, the piece then settles into a solid rock beat and heads skyward for a genuinely thrilling climax.
Marrying an experimental-rock ethos with a symphony's scope, Godspeed once again offers a record that easily matches the intrigue of their album titles and covers.
Author rating: 7.5/10
Average reader rating: 9/10
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