Godspeed You! Black Emperor released a string of albums from 1997-2002 widely recognized as redefining what protest music can be, where longform instrumental chamber rock compositions of immense feeling and power serve as soundtracks to late capitalist alienation and resistance.
The band’s first four releases—especially F#A#∞ (1997) and Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven (2000)—are variously regarded as classics of the era and genre. Godspeed's legendary live performances, featuring multiple 16mm projectors beaming a collage of overlapping analog film loops and reels—along with the distinctive iconography, imagery and tactility of the band's album artwork and physical LP packages— further defines the sui generis aesthetic substance, ethos and mythos of this group.
GY!BE has issued two official band photos in its 25-year existence (the second, left, a 2010 recreation of the first from 1997) and has done a half-dozen collectively-answered written interviews over that same span. The band has never had a website or social media accounts. It has never made a video. Few rock bands in our 21st century have been as steadfast in trying to let the work speak for itself and maintaining simple rules about minimising participation in cultures of personality, exposure, access, commodification or co-optation.
"A timely career triumph. The four suites of music here sound incredible, capturing the grandeur, aggression, and power of their symphonic punk with perfect clarity. And it feels incredible, too, as it endures passages of oppressive darkness to step at least toward a new dawn... There is no moment more radiant or galvanizing in Godspeed’s discography than the third piece’s finale, “Ashes to Sea or Nearer to Thee.” It’s hard to hear it without smiling, without imagining yourself winning a race or beating back whatever long odds you certainly have." – Pitchfork (8.1)
"A ferocious, thrilling blast of energy...impossibly dramatic music with a symphonic sense of scale. Though Godspeed works with specific structural parameters – long compositions, gradual builds and titanic, cathartic climaxes – it finds untapped expressive possibilities. This excellent record from this one-of-a-kind project might require time for its lengthy pieces to sink in, but the stirring and emotionally resonant music more than rewards the effort." – Mark Richardson, Wall Street Journal
"Twenty-seven years on from their formation, their ability to convey the spectrum of both emotional and political feeling through the raw power of music remains unparalleled." – Clash
"There are few outfits better suited to produce an album during a global pandemic than Godspeed You! Black Emperor... [Producer] Jace Lasek has done a tremendous job making the band's seventh full-length come to brilliant, vibrant life. On G_d's Pee AT STATE'S END! Godspeed has created a perfect soundtrack for these strange times." – The Skinny ★★★★
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