top of page

Godspeed You! Black Emperor-G_D's Pee AT STATES END! ALBUM REVIEW

Written Before Listen

Godspeed You Black Emperor! Is a Canadian Post-Rock band that is probably the most legendary in the genre. Just like a lot of music heads, I was excited to hear the new album. “Lift Yr Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven!” Is still to this day one of the most ambitious, groundbreaking and musically complex albums of all time with music that really makes you think more than ever. I was anticipating this album since the announcement due to the fact that it was being released on Good Friday and that it was recorded during the pandemic.

The Time Of Release

I used this as a category because I think the time of the release plays a very pivotal in the albums enjoyment factor. So the album was recorded from October 6 to October 18 of 2020. During that time, we were in the midst of a pandemic where everyone was supposed to be isolated from the normal world. Schools and workplaces were remote, vaccines were yet to be developed and we basically wasted a whole entire summer all quarantining. Godspeed You Black Emperor were always well known to make whats considered music for the apocalypse. Since this is the closest thing we’ve had to an apocalypse in Godspeeds career, when is there a better time for the band to create new music? Let’s just say that this is an album we desperately needed. This music makes us motivated to truly stand together as one in the least Communist way possible and get over this pandemic. Who else but Godspeed?


Well….if you don’t know who GY!BE is, let me just say that you won’t probably get them first listen. Even though they are one of my favorite groups even I can admit that they are way too left-field than my usual taste. Its not even the fact that they are a quintessential post-rock band that drenches themselves in the stereotypes but they also combine their influences of classical and experimental music to create something thats closer to a symphony than a song. There are moments such as the short tracks and the intros of the long tracks where it’s nothing but a suspenseful drone. Hell, with an album like Lift Yr Skinny Fists where they basically sandwich as much as they can onto one vinyl side, they create songs where they begin with a 5 minute drone, and end with a 5 minute drone. Do I think their experimentation hurts the record? absolutely not. Every nook and cranny that they take thats diametrically opposed to the musical norm is opposed for the right reason. Sure it can come off as a boring listen or an uneventful listen but without the experimentation, they wouldn’t come off as cohesive and in my opinion being cohesive is a must for post-rock.


So if you take a look at post-rock in general, a lot of the music of that genre is nothing but adventurous. There are of course different ways to partake in so but usually, the way to lead an adventure in music is with instruments of course. Being an instrumental post-rock band, their whole sound is devoted to tones, engineering and palettes. Their music is like a surrealist painting. A lot of the string sections are usually manipulated to sound more surreal than realistic. A lot of the guitars on here don’t play a main role like most rock but instead create a canvas for the rest of the instrumentation to take part in. The drums set the mood, while the bass accompanies it. The keyboards are unique colors on the painting making it more unique than your usual vision. Then there is the finishing touch. radio broadcast recordings. As you know, art isn’t as famous today as it was a hundred years ago. Just like how classical isn’t as famous anymore. The radio broadcast recordings and field recordings make Godspeed sound like they’re making music in the present day or even the future at that without sounding too distanced from their roots.

The 4 Songs

So just like nearly every Godspeed album, there are only around 4 tracks. Their new format although is less ambitious than their 87 minute Lift Yr Skinny Fists but still formulaic nonetheless. They have two long tracks and two drone-like short tracks. So the first long track is really the only track I didnt love. I liked it and all but its what was kind of expected from them. I did like the organ and distorted guitar blemishes but other than that, it sounds like the beginning of “Storm”. The second track is the first drone like peice but its more song than drone. I like the riff, I like the strings and the timpani gives it a lot of texture. Its overall a start that we desperately needed for this album. We then get the second and final long track which lasts around 19 minutes and god what a track it is. Its starts off very slow and subtle like Godspeed usually does but then is gradually goes into this opening that could go on the beginning of a metal album and then it continuously goes on and on never losing ear focus until transitioning to the second moment where the impact begins. Lets just say the motif on here is not only uncomfortably soothing but also nostalgic for no reason whatsoever. It then goes up the tempo going into an Arcade Fire esc movement with its rock-built beat and chamber orchestra and then ends off with a bang. Despite me loving the hell out of the last two tracks, the very last track is probably my favorite. Its actually 6 minutes of orchestral drone music which I’m usually not a fan of. This is different though. Its like a sense of relief going into this and it honestly just ends the album perfectly.


I mainly have two cons. ones a big one and one is kind of just a mention. The first one usually comes with all Godspeed releases and I usually give it a pass because its without a doubt their greatness comes with this one weakness. The music is pretentious. It’s very pretentious. Its honestly a lot more pretentious than the other Godspeed I’ve listened to thus far. I also think this weakness is another one to mention. IT’S THE SAME GODSPEED. The same tones, the same instrumental palette, the same theme, same vibe and the only thing that makes it different is the fact that the field and radio recordings are just drone and don’t have a message provided. It’s just their for the vibe. Other than that, I think this is a triumphant comeback that Godspeed desperately needed.


God….damn. I honestly haven’t felt this impacted from a Godspeed album since Lift Yr Skinny Fists. I don’t think its better than albums like Yanqui U.X.O or maybe even Allelujah but what im saying is that this Is the Godspeed that we knew and loved all along and they finally came back in great fashion.



bottom of page