As many of you have already noticed, it’s been 10 years since the release of their last album, Yanqui U.X.O. You could say the idea of another release anytime soon was dreary, but recent rumours out of 2011 said that late new material would be out within the next year. That date came true in a concert in Boston in early October. You question whether they’ve given up on their old styles in general because of the long hiatus, but they kick you in the head with their new work.
‘Allelujah! Don’t not only continues the tradition of extremely unorthodox names, but the concept of mixing drones and instrumental ! Ascend!post-rock together. You have classic sounds from F# A# (Infinity) and Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven a mixture of experimental aspects. This album is broken into four movements, and each have their own personality. Originally, the album was released on a double vinyl record which included two drone tracks on one record, and the two instrumental post-rock songs on the record. Now the difference with the album is that they alternate with instrumental and drone tracks to fit the atmosphere of the record. This idea clearly suits the album better because of the sound the tracks create blending into one another.
From the opener, “Mladic”, you’re hit with insanely heavy vocal samples of what seems to be a modern war. This sets the tone for the rest of the 55 minute listen (which is their shortest yet for a full album) and you’re never given a break the entire time. What makes this album so unique is the droning elements thrown into the mix. While their not one the same level of other drone artists like Earth or some Mono, you hear what Godspeed would do if they were strictly a drone artist. Holy jesus, it is good stuff.
I might want to add I haven’ t even discussed the quality aspects of this album, and I only have good things to say about this. All four movements have their redeeming and own special niches about them. For “Mladic”, its the ability to be considered Godspeed’s only potential radio hit, minus the length. For “Their Helicopters’ Sing”, it’s the idea that Godspeed is taking a turn on their sound, and have given their last haul on the dark and apocalyptic sounds they produced years ago. Easily their darkest I’ve heard since their debut album. In “We Drift Life Worried Fire”, you’re given arguably Godspeed’s greatest work ever. The whole build up in the second half is on tier with songs like “Dead Flag Blues” and “Storm”. A must listen track alone for any fan. Finally, the closer, “Strung Like Lights At Thee Prinetemps Erable” is a brutally honest and to the point track concluding the sounds that Godspeed always wanted to do, but never had the money or chance too.
Now this is my opinion, but I would remind you that this is Godspeed You! Black Emperor. When a fan mentions that the album they released is good, it will most likely be good. ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is not good. It is absolutely amazing. It made music that much harder to release in post-rock. The dark, dreary sounds of their drones layered on top of ominous, underlying bass tones make you realize how far this band has come. Hearing the massive crescendos on the third movement questioned my ability to ever come close to playing an instrument. It is that good. It is very difficult to consider an album perfect, because the term is so broad and powerful. I have a strong feeling that this is as perfect as it gets for Godspeed You! Black Emperor.