Godspeed You! Black Emperor: Luciferian Towers

Ryan Reed on November 14, 2017

More than possibly any other post-rock band on the planet, Godspeed You! Black Emperor realize the magic of a patient crescendo. Like their previous five LPs, Luciferian Towers is defined by the slow build, by tension and release—with stretches of static, dissonant drones disrupted by swaths of celestial melody. Like its predecessor, 2015’s Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress, the album is more succinct than the band’s seminal early work, structured around a pair of shapeshifting, nearly 15-minute long three-parters. “Bosses Hang” settles into a glacial swirl of guitars and violin, while “Anthem for No State” evolves from glimmering, fingerpicked guitars into a feedback-drenched noiserock death march. The remaining two tracks function like elaborate interludes: the brass-backed “Undoing a Luciferian Towers” is an orchestral-scale drone that largely hovers on one chord, while bumble-bee guitars and suspended strings buzz throughout “Fam/Famine.” The mighty Canadian octet—three guitarists, two drummers, two bassists and a violinist—augment their sound with snatches of organ, saxophone, and flute. But this is their muddiest recording in years, and it’s hard to detect the depth of that nuance within their densest masses of sound. And that’s the LP’s lone drawback: Even as the arrangements ebb and flow majestically, particularly on the two centerpiece tracks, fewer individual moments emerge from the din. By Godspeed’s lofty standards, Luciferian Towers is simply another album—no major surprises or tweaks to the grandiose recipe. But for these guys, business as usual is high fucking art.

Artist: Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Album: Luciferian Towers
Label: Constellation