Review: Godspeed You! Black Emperor ‘G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!’

Many of us were introduced to Canada’s Godspeed You! Black Emperor back in 1997 and their debut album release F♯ A♯∞ which, quite rightly, won the respect and critical acclaim of many music fans the world over, myself included. Less a conventional band set up, but more of a collective, they broke many rules and continue to do so. There are still ten core band members which include the original three who founded the band way back in 1994.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor 'G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END!'

Efrim Menuck (guitar and tape loops), Mauro Pezzente (bass) and Mike Moya (guitar) are still very much in charge. Former members add up to nine individuals and have included French horn, violin and bagpipes amongst others at one time or other. A new genre was invented the day their debut album was presented to the world’s media incorporating a new classical/chamber style of popular music, but not presented in such a fashion thereby creeping into many rock fans sub conscious and record collections.

A haunting, sonic, aural outburst which took the listener on a journey of emotive and powerful sounds rarely heard before outside of the classical idiom. In some ways they successfully banished the word ‘genre’ in respect to their own output. Many other bands around the late 1990s such as Scotland’s Aerogramme and Australia’s Hungry Ghosts have fallen, whilst the likes of Godspeed You! Black Emperor and Mogwai have risen in popularity. Sheer persistence and a strong quality control, however, shine through.

Their desire to keep an extremely low profile by only presenting two official band photographs in twenty five years, plus only half a dozen interviews, they’ve been very keen to let the music speak for itself. Unbelievably they have no ‘official’ website or social media involvement either.  Four years since their last release, Luciferian Towers, and this their new album entitled, G_d’s Pee AT STATE’S END! (God’s Pee at State’s End), has been a long time coming for their fans.

Consisting of four tracks, the first, A Military Alphabet…, lasts a full twenty minutes and twenty two seconds and there is still no compromise to commerciality. The new record was written while on tour, and recorded in Montreal during 2020 while in masks at their studio Thee Mighty Hotel2Tango by Jace Lasek who, along with his wife, also co-founded Besnard Lakes.

this is a record for every human being who feels and listens to music with their hearts as well as their heads…

A manifesto, of sorts, that’s issued in the accompanying press statement speaks volumes about the band’s thoughts and feelings on the current state of the planet – ‘This record is about waiting for the end. All current forms of governance are failed. This record is all about us waiting for the beginning and is informed by the following demands-Empty the prisons. Take power from the police and give it to the neighbourhoods that they terrorise. End the forever wars and all other forms of imperialism. Tax the rich until they’re impoverished.’

There are many adjectives I could throw at this music, but I feel it’s necessary to continue the thread the band has sown of letting their creations speak for themselves. At just over five minutes, the second track, Fire At Static Valley…, is followed by, the just short of twenty minute epic , GOVERNMENT CAME… and then we end on OUR SIDE TO WIN… There is no doubt that if you’re already a fan you will absolutely love this release. It adds to their impressive back catalogue and I’m sure that live, with their legendary film projections accompanying, it will be an experience to behold.

You can rest assured the darkness is still there, plus their anarcho punk spirit is brimming over with a host of raw passages designed to make you feel from your core and release much that’s buried deep within you. Whatever your tastes or whatever you identify with, this is a record for every human being who feels and listens to music with their hearts as well as their heads.

Label: Constellation Records
Band Links: Bandcamp

Scribed by: Tim Keppie