Legendary Canadian post-rock outfit Godspeed You! Black Emperor have been touring steadily since their return from hiatus in late 2010, and earlier this month fans started noticing that the group were selling an unannounced new album at their gigs. Godspeed took everyone by surprise by announcing only last week that their fifth LP ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! would be out in a week’s time, and it is now available to purchase and stream online. A new album from these titans of incendiary, droning and transcendent sounds would be enough for rabid fans, but this is much more than that, delivering a powerful summary of everything this band does best. The two lengthy tracks — the gloomy ‘Mladic’ and comparatively beautiful ‘We Drift Like Worried Fire’ — have been part of the group’s live show since 2003, and they make up the bulk of the four-track LP’s brief (by Godspeed standards) 55 minutes. After a handful of spellbinding listens, I would say this cathartic and vital album rivals — if not surpasses — the epic achievement their heroes Swans delivered this year with The Seer, and it easily crushes anything being released today by peers such as Mogwai, Dirty Three, Explosions in the Sky and Mono. If you’ve got an hour to spare, sit down with some headphones and ascend with Godspeed — you won’t regret it.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor will be in Australia in February for ATP’s I’ll Be Your Mirror festival (alongside Swans and My Bloody Valentine!), so let’s hope they add a New Zealand date to their tour.
‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is out now. Stream it below, and check out some images from the album’s packaging (via The Guardian).