Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! (CD, Constellation, October 2012)

This record is immense. Let me try that again: this record is IMMENSE. The first track, Mladic, starts out in typical Godspeedy fashion: a crackling loop of vocal sample, a few bleeps and bloops, a distant-sounding folky melody over a buzzy drone, a clanking noise reminiscent of a passing freight train. Then, after a few minutes of this slow build, it kicks in, and before we’ve quite twigged what’s going on, we’re being pummelled by a massive wave of dirty guitars, howling strings, and heavy drumwork. To be perfectly honest with you, it’s more than a little bit metal — in a good way, an unashamed, authoritative, stomping-on-mere-mortals-who-get-in-its-way way, and just weird enough to keep it real. Oh, and it’s twenty minutes long. It leaves me feeling in need of a little lie down, really. Which is a bit unfair on the next track, Their Helicopters Sing, which is a fine piece of blarting dissonance, but doomed to be slightly underwhelming (and a mere slip of a thing at six-and-a-half minutes). Track 3, We Drift Like Worried Fire, is another twenty minute monster, almost as powerful as the opener (and it’s probably lucky that it’s a little more restrained, since listening to Mladic twice — and, in the interests of science, I have done this thing — is not good for my mechanism). It’s also more nuanced, with distinct movements, by turns urgent, sinister, euphoric. The final number, Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable, is another thickly textured six-and-a-half-minute drone job. It’s been fifteen years since their (proper release) debut, F♯A♯∞, and if they haven’t revolutionized their sound, why would they? They keep growing in scale, and here they are on absolutely imperious form. Plus, they keep making me grin.

I bought this from Boomkat. They call it Indie / Rock / Alternative.

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