Album Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor – Luciferian Towers

By Maria Lubanovic, Staff Writer
[Constellation; 2017]
Rating: 6/10

Key Tracks: “Fam/Famine”, “Anthem for No State Pt. III”

Luciferian Towers is Canadian post-rock collective Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s sixth album. The group spreads their droning style over four different tracks, each with a unique feeling and style. The entire album is instrumental, uniting heavy guitars and melodic string lines to create dark, orchestral moods.

“Undoing a Luciferian Towers” opens the album with low buzzing and a violin that almost sounds like a bagpipe. The droning wave of sound switches between keys a few times before the trumpet and flute enter. This combination and a wobbly synth create a dissonant sound, one that takes hold for a long time before resolving into a simple guitar riff.

“Bosses Hang” is split up into three parts, like movements in an orchestra. “Bosses Hang, Pt. I” is a slow guitar and synth jam with a violin, creating a push-and-pull feeling before the percussion kicks in. Through this section, it almost feels like waves crashing on a beach, and electric guitars wail and synths screech over top. After the drum section in part one, the instrumentals wind down into a single guitar over a slight buzzing sound to enter “Pt. II”. The guitar is again joined by the violin in a playful melody that gradually grows more dissonant. It’s a very slow build back into a fuller section where the percussion seems like it is off at a distance. The theme or the section repeats for almost three minutes before transitioning into a slightly faster and more upbeat guitar and bass-driven ending through “Pt. III”.  Eventually, it turns around, but it’s longer than it needs to be.

After opening with a violin and cello rhythm, “Fam/Famine” builds itself into a droning and crackling track that allows violin and guitar melodies to swirl around the monotonous center. It’s the most melodious of any of the tracks.

Like “Bosses Hang”, “Anthem for No State” is also split up into three movements. The first part opens again with violin and soft guitar, but the violin is truly able to sing before being complimented by cello and soft percussion. “Pt. II” is highlighted by a more prominent guitar and the violin melody completely disappears. It turns this section into a more post-rock feeling than the previous one. The last track finally shreds into a more buzzing feel, which is then joined by low drumming and a heavy guitar. Its simple melody and hard rock feel make it a stand out from the other two movements. It winds back into the violin motif introduced in part one, before crashing back into a drum moment and then winding out into nothing. This set of tracks feel like they could be the soundtrack to some sort of post-apocalyptic movie.

For someone who isn’t into drone music or truly instrumental post-rock, it’s pretty mild in comparison to some of the collective’s early heavier work. It’s not for everyone, but it’s a good starting point for people to get into the genre.

Listen here:

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