ALBUM: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress

Release Date: March 31st 2015
Label: Constellation
Website: None available
Twitter: None available


It’s always an event of interest when a band that has laid dormant for a period of time releases new material. The infuriatingly named Godspeed You! Black Emperor have only released one album in the past thirteen years, and even across their twenty-one years as a band, they’ve only managed four (now five) full-lengths. ‘Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’ is, in typical GY!BE fashion, an unheralded performance.

‘Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress’ is not so much an album, but a story. Across its 40 minute playtime it tells a tale that spreads across four tracks, beginning with a strong instrumental narrative section, evolving into a droning noise interior, before sounding out as another post-rock explosion.

As ever, it’s difficult to tell what in the hell GY!BE are exactly blathering on about exactly, but opener ‘Peasantry, Or ‘Light! Inside Of Light” plays much like an old anthem that has been buried under the sands of time for generations. Its lumbering riff is an elephant slowly rolling through the Arabian desert amongst an expedition to some unknown location. Darkness falls with ‘Lambs’ Breath’ and ‘Asunder, Sweet’: two very different tracks that showcase the band’s mystery, vibrating like a soul lost in a storm. ‘Piss Crowns Are Trebled’ is the 14-minute closer, providing more of a building up than a petering out.

It appears that ‘Asunder…’ is a return to form for the band that hipsters adore to gestate. Musically, it’s difficult to fully grasp GY!BE as they rely heavily on live visuals to truly encompass their range. Indeed, ‘Asunder…’ has been previously played live in 2012 as part of a completely different set, named ‘Behemoth’.

It’s easy to write off GY!BE as just another bunch of hipster twats who pretend to know what they’re talking about, but in the end this band is genuinely ahead of the rest of the pack. It’s not that often that the Canadians make it to these shores, so be sure not to miss them next time.

Written by MG Savage (@MGSavagewriter)