Godspeed You! Black Emperor - G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! album review by Jahmeel Russell for Northern Transmissions



Godspeed You! Black Emperor

Sometimes music can convey so much without saying a word and Godspeed You! Black Emperor is one great example of this. There are no vocals and the musicians that make up the collective prefer to remain in the shadows both onstage and in any photos. Now the Montréal based group has returned with the follow-up to 2017s excellent Luciferian Towers.

That record arrived with a statement to provide the listener with a vision from the group and the music was a soundtrack to the messages sent by the striking artwork for the album. G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! arrives with another list of demands: “empty the prisons, take power from the police and give it to the neighbourhoods that they terrorise, end the forever wars and all other forms of imperialism, tax the rich until they’re impoverished”.

Other than this statement the group lets the music and sounds contained within do the talking. The artwork for the album contains images that represent the iconography of GY!BE which sets this album up to be a grand definitive statement while the songs here ebb and flow containing darkness but mostly overflowing with triumphant beauty. The CD and vinyl editions are made up of four tracks, two movements hovering around the twenty-minute mark, and two shorter pieces. The opening track, “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)” opens with faint voices that sound like they’re coming from an old transistor radio accompanied by the scraping sounds of what sounds like violin or cello. The track then entering into a repetition of a foreboding melody before slowly building into a glorious crescendo that GS!BE do so well. The song ends with what sounds like a field recording of tranquil nature with the juxtaposition of what could be gunfire or bombs dropping in the distance. The second track “Fire at Static Valley” is one of the shorter pieces, an absolutely beautiful song with intertwining melancholic melodies and gently pounding drums in the background. “GOVERNMENT CAME” (9980.0kHz 3617.1kHz 4521.0 kHz) / Cliffs Gaze / cliffs’ gaze at empty waters’ rise / ASHES TO SEA or NEARER TO THEE” is next and the second of the longer tracks here, again opening with the sound of fuzzing radio chatter before slicing guitars enter. Once it gets going the bass and drums drive the track while the strings and guitars create more beautiful melodies. The song then quietly drones before exploding into what is probably the most hopeful-sounding movement on the album. Everything comes to a close with the final track “OUR SIDE HAS TO WIN (for D.H.)” which is possibly one of the most gorgeous pieces the band has composed. An incredibly moving song and a powerful end to this album.

Though GY!BE has a poignant message, both timely and continuous, and they certainly succeed in bringing this feeling of dread to the material here, I think there is hope contained within as well. The themes within all their compositions are ever-present and perhaps more important than ever at this moment in time.

Order G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! by Godspeed You! Black Emperor HERE


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