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

I remember when I first heard Godspeed You! Black Emperor the strange blend of guitar rock, punk orchestra and Einsturzende Neubauten  experimentation and I, like many, was blown away. After a successful run of albums they went on hiatus a gap that was filled admirably by Silver Mount Zion, a similar if not more refined vehicle. So imagine everyone’s surprise when at a gig the Canadian rockers reveal a brand new album that no one knew they were even recording. The four track ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!’ is classic Godspeed You! Black Emperor, tight rumblings, screeches and feedback, snippets of ghostly dialogue, angry guitars and rabid percussion. As they pile on layer upon layer of sound it’s the musical equivalent of water building up behind a dam just waiting to breakthrough. When it finally gives it creates a wall of sound that even Phil Spector couldn’t have imagined when coining the phrase, an immense and beautiful chaos. Subtle build ups give way to massive excess and vice versa each composition is like an instrumental mantra of sorts. Except that even at its wildest times it never feels like the band aren’t in complete control, as they guide the swirling cacophony from its humble beginnings to its power house crescendos and when you take out the element of random and replace it with cleverly calculated you realise just how lucky we are to have a band like Godspeed You! Black Emperor.

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