Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! [Album Review]

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Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!
Constellation Records [2012]


Fire Note Says: This is more than a comeback record, it’s a landmark!

Album Review: Here’s the thing about instrumental post rock, you almost always know what you are going to get before you put the record on. It’s going to be dramatic, it’s going to build slowly,gradually getting louder and more intense until it climaxes in an orgasmic crescendo of bliss, and then it’s going to do it again on the next track. What separates the elite bands from the rest of the post rock pack is that they have the ability to make the listener connect with the music on another level entirely. It’s not a passive listening experience. Much like a good classical piece, it rouses intense emotions and can leave you feeling drained at the end. After nearly a decade’s absence, legendary Montreal band, Godspeed You! Black Emperor (referred to as GYBE for the rest of the review)are back and ready to reclaim their rightful place at the top of the heap with their new album, Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! has an interesting sequence. It opens with the nearly 20 minute “Mladic”, which spirals upwards to its intense release, only to be followed by nearly 6:30 of drone entitled Their Helicopters’ Sing. Think of it as something out of 2001: A Space Odyssey, and you are close. It’s slightly jarring at first, but after a few minutes, the drone becomes more comforting. Think of it as post coital bliss.  The second half of the record is sequenced exactly the same.  You have 20 minutes of “We Drift Like Worried Fire”, which then descends into another 8 minutes of controlled drone/chaos, “Strung Like Lights at The Printemps Erable”.

GYBE are not playing by the rules of post rock with Allelujah, instead they are turning the rules on their ear, bending it and shaping it to fit what they want to say. It’s as if they weren’t content to comeback after 10 years and make the perfect post rock album. They have something bigger on their mind, they are transcending the genre and creating a work that will leave you thinking about what it is exactly they are trying to say. This is an easy record to fall in love with. It is expertly played, superbly sequenced, and thought provoking. This is more than just a comeback record, it’s a landmark.

Key Tracks: “Mladic”, “We Drift Like Worried Fire”

Artists With Similar Fire: Explosions In The Sky / Mono / Mogwai

Godspeed You! Black Emperor Website
Godspeed You! Black Emperor Facebook

Constellation Records

-Reviewed by Kevin Poindexter

Kevin Poindexter
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