Album Reviews

Godspeed You! Black Emperor: G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! – “another defiant march”

A band who revels in upheaval, if anything it would have been astonishing had Godspeed You! Black Emperor not released an album during the ongoing COVID-19 pandemic.

The Canadian anarcho-post-rock collective have always been a political hell storm and perhaps the only one in this world today that have incessantly built their narratives purely through sound, pitting icy premonitions of doom against bulldozing crescendos that can only be defined as the beautiful noise.

Recorded and mixed in Montréal at the band’s Thee Mighty Hotel2Tango studio by Jace Lacek of The Besnard Lakes and Light Conductor, G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! is the latest lightning bolt to emerge from the storm clouds.

The compositions Godspeed You! Black Emperor produce are always the kind which take time. We could attempt to dissect the thorny technical proficiency, however their aesthetic is akin to shifting sands. At every engagement, the feeling is different, to the point where we may never be able to fully capture the true weight of Godspeed You! Black Emperor‘s music and how it truly impacts on us. That’s no cop out, either. In fact, that’s what makes the band so special.

The Besnard Lakes interview: “there is always a bit of serendipity when we make our albums”

The album’s centrepieces in A Military Alphabet (five eyes all blind) (4521.0kHz 6730.0kHz 4109.09kHz) / Job’s Lament / First of the Last Glaciers / where we break how we shine (ROCKETS FOR MARY) and GOVERNMENT CAME” (9980.0kHz 3617.1kHz 4521.0 kHz) / Cliffs Gaze / cliffs’ gaze at empty waters’ rise / ASHES TO SEA or NEARER TO THEE grow stronger at every turn, bursting with orchestral grandeur, providing us with a warm blanket of hope.

Whilst the aforementioned songs are undeniably strong, it’s the brevity of the two shorter compositions on ‘STATE’S END that guides the listener towards the golden path to solace.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END

Fusing together the ideas of Efrim Manuel Menuck‘s excellent solo album, Pissing Stars, and Godspeed‘s 2017 oeuvre, Luciferian Towers, Fire at Static Valley is immersed in dread, surging with strings and dystopian drones that simmer beneath those burgeoning Godspeed riffs.

Then there’s OUR SIDE HAS TO WIN (for D.H.), the closing encounter that may just be the most beautiful piece the band has ever given us.

Zelienople interview: “our biggest enemy is cynicism”

Godspeed You! Black Emperor have always been perennially strong finishers (see Like Antennas to Heaven… and motherfucker=redeemer (cont.). With OUR SIDE HAS TO WIN (for D.H.), the hymnal drone that meets the ear feels truly indicative of our times. An elegiac score filled with dark harmony, threatening to melt the heart and ending ‘STATE’s END in gorgeous fashion.

Again, it’s difficult to pinpoint where exactly ‘STATE’s END fits into the Godspeed You! Black Emperor cannon. It’s certainly in the world of the landmark Lift You Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven. However, during the band’s current reign and one could argue that it’s more aligned with their ‘comeback’ album in Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascened! Listening to the latter and ‘STATE’s END back-to-back, the pair seem to at least make some sort of sense.

Either way, ‘STATE’s END will be a welcomed piece to Godspeed revellers. It’s yet another defiant march from a band that won’t be burdened by hope. Their quest remains to purify the menacing air by creating the beautiful noise.

G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! is out tomorrow via Constellation Records. Pre-order from Bandcamp.

By Simon Kirk

Product from the happy generation. Proud purple bin owner surviving on music, books and LFC. New book, Welcome To Charmsville, available from all major vendors.

25 replies on “Godspeed You! Black Emperor: G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! – “another defiant march””

[…] And those paths of intrigue continue on No Weeping Melts the Armour. Sonically, it’s as abstract as the lyrics Bruus parts with (topics not limited to tyres, silk, cocaine and shaking hands with funeral directors). It’s more composition than song, spliced up into four different sections in something akin to a campfire version of Broken Social Scene trying to reimagine Godspeed You! Black Emperor. […]


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