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Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Godspeed You! Black Emperor — 'Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!': 5 out of 5 stars

Oct. 30, 2012

If you aren’t familiar with Godspeed You! Black Emperor, don’t feel bad — not many people are. However, fans of the Canadian post-rock outfit got a special treat a few weeks ago with the announcement of a new album nearly a decade since the release of its last LP.

For its return, GY!BE put out an album unlike anything 2012 has seen. The opening track, “Mladic,” plows its way through 20 minutes of musical desolation with a raw kind of power that can’t be found in any other album this year. The rest of the album follows “Mladic” through the dark, mysterious depths of GY!BE’s creative genius using only guitars, percussion and a variety of orchestral instruments. But there's one missing element: vocals.

Despite the lack of lyrics, there are messages hidden in the voiceovers that litter the music. What do they mean? That’s for the listener to decide. Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!, an emotionally heavy listen, features two tracks more than 20 minutes and isn’t for the faint of heart. But for those willing to dive into Godspeed’s world, the rewards are rich, beautiful and seemingly unyielding.

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