Godspeed You! Black Emperor Lucifierian Tower
Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s return—in 2010, after a seven-year break—has been one of the decade’s most welcome musical developments, providing newer fans a chance to witness the post-rock immortals’ epic live show and bolstering those concerts with three albums of new material. But listening back through Godspeed’s catalog, something else feels apparent: The group’s post-hiatus material, though undeniably majestic, hasn’t pushed in new directions the way Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven or Yanqui U.X.O. once did.
Like 2012 comeback LP Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! and 2015 follow-up Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress, new album Luciferian Towers mostly follows a formula: Its orchestral instrumentals start gently, gradually gain strength and ultimately rock out, as intensely in their way as most metal you might hear. The melodies are a smidge stronger this time (especially “Bosses Hang,” which transmits equal parts sorrow and joy), and there’s a running Morricone Western thread that culminates in closer “Anthem for No State,” but overall Towers sounds relatively unsurprising. It’s a solid addition to 2017’s soundscape that falls short of a Godspeed classic.