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Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress CD (album) cover

ASUNDER, SWEET AND OTHER DISTRESS

Godspeed You! Black Emperor

 

Post Rock/Math rock

3.63 | 79 ratings

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Walkscore
4 stars This album is better than their predecessor 'Allelujah! Don't Bend Ascend'. It remains rooted in the harder style noted on 'Mladic' (the best composition from that album), but on this one the entire album flows together much better. Indeed, although the album is broken into four tracks, they are all part of one long composition (the formerly-named 'Behemoth', mentioned by the other reviewers). I have seen this composition performed live, and it works very well in that setting. I think it works slightly less well on the album, mainly because it starts so starkly with the two drummers hammering a loud 6/8 beat for a few bars, followed by the entrance of electric guitar power chords. That is, the album doesn't start quietly like their other albums, building to a crescendo. On this one, they begin at (or close to) the crescendo. I find the first two (of the four) tracks less musical than the last two, but those last two (the second half of the long piece) are definitely worth waiting for. The third track involves improvised droning, and a particular delight is the fuzz bass (providing evocations of Soft Machine - one of my very favourite bands - and the Cantebury scene in general - indeed, parts of the third track sound like they almost could have come out of SM live recordings from their 'Fourth' and 'Fifth' periods). On this album and the predecessor, GYBE do not feature nearly as many beautiful quiet passages as their pre-break albums, nor the many sound effects, radio/tv snippets, street noises, talking, etc that added political and emotional weight to their (otherwise instrumental) music. When they play live, they are always accompanied by visuals, which add this weight in that live setting. I am not sure this particular album needs them, but the previous one ('Allejuh...') surely could have used them. Overall, I give this album 8.0 out of 10 (on my 10-point scale) and so PA 4 stars.
Walkscore | 4/5 |

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