The Black Emperor is back! Long live the Black Emperor! On #neuguitars #blog

April 2nd 2021. Godspeed You! Black Emperor release their new album “G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!”, another chapter of what now seems to be definitely oriented as their prog music saga with a high rate of epic and adrenaline.

some time ago I wrote an article, talking about their first four albums (Godspeed You! Black Emperor on #neuguitars #blog – NeuGuitars ), so I take the ball to continue that conversation, while their latest cd runs on my player.

What does “G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!” offer new? Very little, indeed almost nothing to what we already know and have heard in the three previous works: “’Allelujah! Don’t Bend Ascend ”(2012),“ Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress ”(2015) and“ Luciferian Towers ”(2017). Godspeed don’t change much of what I mentioned in the previous article. They maintain their stylistic figures with great consistency, which I am going here again to list and update:

  • the absence of real singing parts. When they appear, the voices are elusive, incomprehensible, cold and gloomy, often recited and filtered through the hauntological instrument of a radio tuned to a dead channel. Voices of ghosts, whispers passing through the walls.

  • the lengths of their pieces bring them closer to both instrumental pieces for chamber ensembles, and the cosmic rides of Hawkwind, as well as Glenn Branca’s progressive suites and sound storms;

  • a certain kinesthetic taste very similar to Morricone’s dark soundtracks, those connected to the B series softporno and violent police films of the 60s and 70s;

  • the epic that they manage to insert in each piece. Normally they start slow, with the introduction of static discharges taken by radio doped by white noise and then explode in an energetic sound wave that is electrifying to say the least, which makes them forgive any lack in the harmonic construction of the songs;

  • the particular layout of their cd. Look at the pictures of their albums. Their booklets, the same cardboard packaging, denote a particular taste for a certain design with an apparently sloppy and casual air, but which instead betrays a careful study and an intelligent reworking of blurred images in black and white, texts typed on an old typewriter , wrapping paper or semi-transparent. All always very hauntological.

  • in these last four records the guitars have clearly taken over, undermining the lines created in the previous albums by the strings, the sound is now much more charged, more electric. The guitars, however, are not expressed in solos. They create dense electrical storms, layered clouds of sound reminiscent of Glenn Branca’s symphonies and which move within the pieces accelerating them, slowing them down, generating dynamics and pauses charged with static electricity waiting for a resolution that is often masterfully postponed;

  • a strong, very strong, progressive component. Maybe they were also in the first four albums, but now the sound has taken on this very strong connotation, which is based on a pure sound level. Some historical prog groups perhaps show only some chamber assonances with King Crimson. Genesis and Peter Gabriel are light years away. It is a stylistic trademark, there is no trace of baroque suites adorned with kilometer solos, the improvisational component remains an important detail as well as the love for noise and distortion;

  • these four albums are very similar to each other. Yes, some of them have a darker component, others like the last one, it seems to sparkle by comparison, but they all have the same starting matrix, the same musical mother yeast. I did not expect any news from this latest “G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!” and so it was. The Black Emperor remains so on his throne. Granitic. Algid. Proud.

So why buy this last album too if I don’t feel any real sign of a stylistic evolution? What’s the point of listening to a band that continues to replicate itself, providing only small signs of difference between one album and another? Because I love them. They conquered me, they took my soul. The truth is that the Black Emperor has been able to create a sonic spell so sophisticated, ductile, malleable and immersive that it can no longer be done without. I’ve been waiting for this record for a long time. The Black Emperor knows how to sip his releases with precision and a perfect sense of marketing. A new album every 4-5 years. He curates his albums with obsessive attention to detail. It evokes a sound that is not regardless. I can’t resist. I buy and listen regardless. I’ve even stopped telling myself it’s going to be the last time, because I already know I’ll buy the next one too. Long live, Black Emperor!