In what might be ‘their most hopeful and melodic album to date’, Film and TV editor Charlie Gearon reviews Luciferian Towers, the sixth studio album from Godspeed You! Black Emperor.
Canadian post-rock ensemble Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s sixth effort is an unwieldy beast. In the two decades since their inception, GYBE’s discography has given rise to some of the genre’s greatest works, and Luciferian Towers seems to have been created with the same ambition and experimentation that cemented their earlier works as modern classics.
The album is separated roughly into two halves signposted by two 15-minute, three-part compositions entitled ‘Bosses Hang’ and ‘Anthem for No State’ respectively. Their anti-establishment political message is placed immediately on display with these titles; in conjunction with this album, GYBE made a tongue in cheek demand that ‘the fuckers who broke this world never get to speak again.’
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Despite all this disillusionment, it would be wrong to label Luciferian Towers as a pessimistic album. It is perhaps their most hopeful and melodic album to date. The instrumentation is thick and lush, with whirling guitar textures filling out the sound. The repeating brass melody line on the album opener ‘Undoing a Luciferian Towers’ is relentlessly positive, forcing the listener to remember that despite GBYE’s negative political outlook, they still retain hope.
The album does somewhat fall short in terms of clarity and structure. When held in comparison to 2001’s Lift Your Skinny Fists…, the compositions can feel slightly aimless and meandering. The focus seems to be more on ambience and tone rather than on compositional development. Though never boring, this can render some of the longer compositions on this album fairly repetitive.
As a whole, though, Luciferian Towers is undoubtedly a success. It shows an even more detailed understanding of sonic textures than any of their previous works and will surely earn a valuable place in GYBE’s catalogue of work.
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Catch them live at Motion, Bristol on Monday 30th October.