Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers
Godspeed You! Black Emperor's apocalyptic vision remains as relevant and powerful as ever on Luciferian Towers
Luciferian Towers is Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s sixth album and their third since their long hiatus in the 2000s. It hardly marks a revolution in their two-decades old sound, but their ability to let beautiful, subtle soundscapes degrade into noise before forging them into punishing climaxes remains untrammelled.
Abandoning the spoken word samples and field noise of their early career, it’s up to the liner notes to tell us what these songs are about, to confirm the post-apocalyptic, revolutionary scenes they evoke. Undoing a Luciferian Towers, for example, is accompanied by images of skyscrapers “hollowed out and stripped bare of wires and glass”. Shimmering guitars echo over a bedrock of feedback with a death march snare keeping time. Off-kilter, off-key strings fade in and out while jazzy horns build until finally out of the chaos some kind of order emerges, a nightmarish marching band which soon fades away to nothing.
Both split across three parts, Bosses Hang, and Anthem For No State are powerful slow builds, building and receding and building again towards violent crescendo. Bosses Hang (a call to revolution according to its liner notes) is more uplifting than destructive, while Anthem is an atavistic festival of reverb and degenerating riffs, partially giving way to a stunning violin motif at a climax as mesmerising as anything the Canadiens have ever accomplished. There's little on this album that would sound out of place on any of their other works, but GY!BE's apocalyptic vision remains as relevant and powerful as ever.
Listen to: Bosses Hang, Anthem for No State