Godspeed You! Black Emperor - G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END!
Instrumental Post-Rock
4 songs (52:48)
Release year: 2021
Reviewed by Goat
Major event

A first ballot hall-of-famer for 'most pretentious band in musical history' are back! And making more of their undeniably beautiful build-and-release soundscapes for us mere mortals to listen rapt to, then post short stories about surviving bombing runs... Fortunately, the collective known as Godspeed You! Black Emperor seem to be finally allowing a little self-aware humour into their lefty/anarchist-themed recordings if only in what they've named their seventh full-length album. G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! has something of a joyous, triumphant feel which makes it easier to recommend to those who believe the band may have gotten a little too up their collective behinds on recent recordings. Of course, this is post-rock, that goes with the territory, but there are moments here that are genuinely beautiful and inspiring to the point where even an increasingly bitter old cynic like your reviewer can feel moved.

The first such here is the majestic Job's Lament which although a seamless part of the first, twenty-minute track (split into several others if you're listening on streaming services) is definitely a highlight. It follows the eerie, ambient Military Alphabet (Five Eyes All Blind) (4521.0kHz 6730.0kHz 4109.09kHz) which twists together distorted radio voices building to an initially discordant violin hum, almost like an orchestral warm-up. Job's Lament then begins, plucked guitars and backing hums giving a near-religious atmosphere, and then a jagged, surprisingly metal riff begins playing, organ and drums joining. The backing hum becomes a tuneful drone, the instruments forming a mini-orchestra as they approach but never quite attain ambient sludge territory, reaching a slow and glorious release by the eighth minute.

Quite wonderful music, even before it slides into the just as good First of the Last Glaciers, which develops on the theme before pulling back and allowing the organ to take the lead a little more. And although where we break how we shine (ROCKETS FOR MARY)'s closing field recording of distant explosions and nature sounds is a little jarring in comparison, as a whole the piece is excellent. The album never quite hits that height again, although it comes close on a couple of places such as the more fragile and ambient Fire at Static Valley or the uneasy violin wails on "GOVERNMENT CAME" (9980.0kHz 3617.1kHz 4521.0 kHz) which build to a mournful neoclassical climax. Every movement present feels special, however, especially the calming, shimmering waves of Cliffs Gaze / cliffs' gaze at empty waters' rise / ASHES TO SEA or NEARER TO THEE which evolves into an almost upbeat bit of joyous post-rocking complete with triumphantly tolling bells; all doubtless precisely what the radio stations will be playing when the state ends!

That felt cruel. It will always be easy to mock Godspeed You! Black Emperor for their earnest, invasive politics (this album's announcement came with a list of demands that included emptying prisons and taxing the rich "until they are impoverished") but left-wing utopian hope has often resulted in some quite moving art as a result, and AT STATE'S END! is no exception. The closing OUR SIDE HAS TO WIN (for D.H.) is less fervent than its title, an ambient orchestral hum that comforts your ears as it swells and contracts, ending the album on more of a whimper than a bang yet doing so gracefully and smoothly. Post-rock is a genre that rewards stillness and relaxation when listening, an aural spa trip that washes away worries and allows you to become unstuck from daily life as you soak yourself in the sound of talented musicians sharing their passionate, urgent message. May their gods bless them; this is a much-needed and utterly refreshing cleansing of the soul recommended to those who need a break from sordid digs through heavy metal ugliness, particularly if you've been listening to goregrind lately...

Killing Songs :
Job's Lament, First of the Last Glaciers, "GOVERNMENT CAME" (9980.0kHz 3617.1kHz 4521.0 kHz)
Goat quoted 85 / 100
Other albums by Godspeed You! Black Emperor that we have reviewed:
Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Yanqui u.x.o reviewed by Nathanael and quoted 95 / 100
0 readers voted
You did not vote yet.
Vote now

There are 0 replies to this review. Last one on Tue Apr 13, 2021 6:49 am
View and Post comments