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

(Constellation)


Rating: NNNN


Mysterious Montreal instrumental collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor take pride in avoiding the hype machine interviews with the band are about as rare as usable promo photos. So of course they’d drop their first album in over 10 years without any warning to the press or fans. Nevertheless, their return immediately provoked huge buzz, and the recordings justify the hype.

Some are already complaining that two of the four songs were regularly played live before the band went on hiatus, but no matter when they were written, they’re still impressive and well deserving of being committed to wax (one 12-inch record and a 7-inch, to be precise).

The lazy go-to term when describing instrumental rock bands is “cinematic.” In this case, the imaginary movie would be a grimy documentary about the Montreal student protests and the rebellion against the controversial Loi 78. Godspeed don’t do pastoral and, judging from the liner notes, remain very political.

They still show no interest in doing things the easy way, and we couldn’t be happier about that.

Top track: Mladic

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