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by Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Released April 2, 2021 via Constellation Records

Reviewed April 12, 2021

Top tracks (based on community voting)
“GOVERNMENT CAME” (9980.0kHz 3617.1kHz 4521.0 kHz) (58%), Cliffs Gaze / cliffs’ gaze at empty waters’ rise / ASHES TO SEA or NEARER TO THEE (46%), Job’s Lament (42%)

Not many bands set such a high bar for themselves like Godspeed You! Black Emperor do. Having an already outstanding discography of dystopian epics, their triumphant return since Luciferian Towers four years ago is well composed and expertly performed, albeit somehow less ambitious. The instrumentals in the first half of this new record are long and drawn out, building gloriously and seeping into one another as if they constitute a single movement. “Job’s Lament” documents crashing percussion and forceful bass that twist and mould tension, which is released with “First of the Last Glaciers.” On here, we’re at the top of the mountain, using gravity’s momentum to glide—aided by textured and sticky ascending riffs. “GOVERNMENT CAME,” while longer, compacts this same journey. Those drums initially rustle amongst wavering strings like they’re anxious onlookers of yet another arriving oppressive force, as the title suggests. They’re quickly swallowed up and begin to swagger alongside gnarly electric guitar performances, devolving into a harsh wall of noise and petering out into cold ambience. In a vacuum, it all holds impressive levels of grandiosity, but in reality, it’s the same car with a new lick of paint. Beautiful, but it doesn’t drive past the boundaries the band set for themselves with the hallmarks of contemporary post-rock opera. – Cam (8.5/10)

On the Montreal collective’s seventh studio album, we see them once again flourishing with a triumphant, defiant, and exhilarating brand of post-rock. In a statement, the band explains that G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! is “informed by the following demands= empty the prisons; take power from the police and give it to the neighbourhoods that they terrorise; end the forever wars and all other forms of imperialism; tax the rich until they're impoverished.” Over the course of 52 minutes, the eight musicians weave through a mixture of angelic, drone-like ambience and a noisy, yet intricate, and fiery brand of rock. These cleverly crafted buildups are a key characteristic of the band, as are left-wing and anarchist ideologies, and this record has some of their best examples of how they meld the two. With a fighting spirit embedded in every note, Godspeed You! Black Emperor have captured the essence of current societal discontent as times only grow more difficult. – Dominick (8.5/10)

The post-er act of post-rock return to update 2021 with their latest serving of under the weather reflections for modern times. Their seventh studio album is arguably their best since 2012’s Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!. Like the majority of GY!BE albums, there are memorable moments in abundance, because no other group of musicians can bring to life the pure undoing of a monumental sonic trip the way they do. They build and build until they break through in a blissful, cathartic manner—similar to the way clouds disperse after a long bout of dreary weather. These moments are like the strongest beams of sunlight imaginable tearing through the most treacherous of storms. “First of the Last Glaciers” is jaw-droppingly beautiful and a shining example of such. The distorted screech from the guitars—animalistic in nature—sound like the most sorrowful cry for help imaginable. It's like what you would imagine Mother Earth sounding like during and after a crisis of nature. Ultimately, G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! is as fine of a return to form one could ask for. – Peter (8/10)

Jared: 9.5/10 | Cam: 8.5/10 | Dominick: 8.5/10 | Peter: 8/10

DeVán: 7.5/10 | Hadley: 7.5/10


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