Artist: Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Album: Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Grade: B+

The last release from Montreal’s giants of post-rock, Godspeed You! Black Emperor was 2002’s Yanqui U.X.O. After various side projects such as Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra, the band reformed and began touring again in 2010, raising expectations for any potential new release.

The announcement of Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, their first new album in ten years was typically low-key, with vinyl copies appearing on the merchandise table after a gig in Boston.

In keeping with the tradition of the band’s previous albums, this record has few tracks, though what is there, is of considerable length. ‘Mladic’ is a strong, dramatic opener for the album with furious electric guitars played by Efrim Menuck, Mike Moya and David Bryant, and frantic drums by Bruce Cawdron in his last outing as the band’s drummer.

‘Their Helicopters’ Sing’ is a sinister song with some superb violin work by the exceptional Sophie Trudeau. This is followed by ‘We Drift Like Worried Fire’, which opens with the soothingly hypnotic bass of Thierry Amar and Mauro Pezzante before the drums and guitars up the tempo and drive home a stunning conclusion.

This album shows that even after ten years Godspeed You! Black Emperor haven’t lost their anger or intensity, and these songs rank alongside the best of F#A#∞ and Slow Riot for New Zerø Kanada.

In a Nutshell:
Post-rock at its finest.

By Steven Balbirnie