Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Luciferian Towers album review
Montreal’s instrumental post-rock heroes return in style
It says much about their tenacious determination to remain private that Godspeed… are no more knowable now than when they first started in 1994. Canada’s greatest enigmas stopped giving interviews years ago, allowing the flow of their music to act as their sole mouthpiece, save for some inscrutable liner notes and curt press releases. This sixth album (and their third since reuniting in 2010) finds the nine-piece in scintillating form, creating semi-symphonic atmospheres that build inexorably and hover in the air, suspended by strings and shivery guitar drones. This is most explicit on Undoing A Luciferian Towers, which imagines a metropolis where skyscrapers have been stripped to their bones, leaving only braids of bare wires and hollowed windows. A mountain-folk feel permeates the first section of Bosses Hang, before looping into a keyboard motif and soaring higher. Meanwhile, another three hander, Anthem For No State, presents a future nightmare in which Canada is an environmental wasteland, its resources long since removed. It’s an extraordinary work that begins with an understated guitar figure and ends in an orchestral assault of distorted notes and crashing cymbals that scramble the senses.