Godspeed You! Black Emperor
Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada


5.0
classic

Review

by Adam Knott EMERITUS
July 22nd, 2010 | 45 replies | 9,244 views


Release Date: 1999 | Tracklist

Review Summary: I don't want to raise your expectations, but this record is perfect.

What have you done in the last 28 minutes?

In 1999, Canadian post-rock outfit Godspeed You! Black Emperor had a really big problem, but Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada could quite easily serve to convince you that the band had no fucking idea. F# A# Who?, they asked. If matching their phenomenal, dark debut album seemed unlikely, the bookies weren't even offering odds on an improvement second time around. This was a group of musicians that in one fell swoop had practically reinvented instrumental music with the apocalyptic textures and motifs they set to disc in 1997. But not only did Godspeed live up to any and all expectations, they absolutely obliterated their own masterpiece and every piece of hyperbole attached to it. With a fucking EP.

This is - quite simply - probably the best EP you'll ever hear. Post-rock struggles so frequently to find the right balance of build and crescendo, but this is a record which proves that the atmosphere-setting of so many other releases in the genre is little but an ineffective extravagance if you know how to bring a climax about well enough in the first place. The strings and cymbals of 'Moya' rise at an uncharacteristically rapid rate through the various floors of excitement and fervour, before exploding through the roof eight minutes in. Gone are the builds; Slow Riot cuts to the chase, not through haste, but embraced by urgency; like even two-thirds through 'Blaise Bailey Finnegan III' when it's so obvious the climax is coming, when the cymbals grow and the guitars come forwards, but it doesn't dampen the effect.

No, Godspeed are playing with us; they know we expect them to tell us a story and evoke the whole environment like they did at the start of 'The Dead Flag Blues'. They know we're prepared for a gradual rise in tension, so they skip gears. And then there's 'BBFIII', Slow Riot's only spoken sample a crazy man rambling about paying his speeding ticket and not taking any bullshit from a judge or the world or the government or the people out to get you. The strings hang in behind him, just about supporting his angry tone, but without any conviction, as he clenches his fists at the smallest of things and protests his point far too much; it's mesmerizing, as the music flows around his voice, occasionally interrupting it, how little and how much he seems to say at the same time; how he seems to have been talking forever, but you can still remember the first thing he said.

The Hebrew on Slow Riot's packaging suggests void and emptiness. Its place there, wrapped around the passionate, self-important monologue from 'BBFIII' and the mournful outro of the same track, sheds a different light on the meaning behind these two songs, this one incredible half-hour of symphonic composition. Somehow, these waves of bass, wailing guitars and pounding drums add up to a spectrum of emotion from doubt right through to rebellion, without ever seeming schizophrenic or confused. What Finnegan, and (vicariously) Godspeed are saying is that nobody's really got the slightest clue what's going on in the world but that shouldn't stop you making the most of it. With that in mind: what have you done in the last 28 minutes?

You should at the very least have been listening to this album.



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user ratings (1533)
Chart.
4.5
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other reviews of this album
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Knott-
Emeritus
July 23rd 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Happy 100 :D :D :D :D :D

ive decided this is better than kid a

bailar11
July 23rd 2010



2433 Comments


best ep ever

[img]http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/48605513/Enrique+Iglesias+Enrique+PNG.png[/img]

enrique approves and pos

Ire
July 23rd 2010



41749 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

best ep ever

ziroth
July 23rd 2010



1252 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Happy 100th!

Athom
Staff Reviewer
July 23rd 2010



17200 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

I wish i was doing something epic for my 100th but it will probably just be the new decrepit birth cd
next week due to time constraints

cvlts
July 23rd 2010



8954 Comments


sweet reviewin' dude. congrats

pospospospospos

Knott-
Emeritus
July 23rd 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

i have loads of normal shit to review including I Am Kloot which i promised ross but

this needed to be done

im so close to all my 5s now but this is probably my favourite album ever so yeah

cheers guys!

fromtheinside
July 23rd 2010



17714 Comments


this is my favorite Godspeed album. fantastic review.

Digging: Fallujah - The Flesh Prevails

Eclectic
July 23rd 2010



3302 Comments


Great review, happy 100th man. Has it gone by quickly?

Slum
July 23rd 2010



2579 Comments


This isn't a pokemon soundtrack sadface

Lucid
Contributing Reviewer
July 23rd 2010



7021 Comments


Review is brilliance. Happy 100th.

Digging: Shabazz Palaces - Lese Majesty

Knott-
Emeritus
July 23rd 2010



10194 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0 | Sound Off

Haha sorry Slum. Thanks Lucid.

Cheers Michael... it certainly doesn't feel like I've written 100 reviews, but I've been pretty slow since September last year, what with having been in different countries with little or no Internet.

Eclectic
July 23rd 2010



3302 Comments


And then you come back and give us a bunch of awesome reviews for awesome albums.
Awesome :big thumbs:

ShadowAmI
July 23rd 2010



1542 Comments


awesome review man. this is the single best piece of music i have ever heard. in fact i think ill go five it right now.

ShadowAmI
July 23rd 2010



1542 Comments


it makes pleasureman look like a 4.5

Slum
July 23rd 2010



2579 Comments


Anyway the review is fantastic man, congrats on 100.

Also that got me thinking, how fucking epic would it be if Godspeed set down the soundtrack for a pokemon game holy shit

Bitchfork
July 23rd 2010



7584 Comments


I've got a review in the works for this because even though I rate the album's quality very similarly, my thoughts of the album are intensely different. Like, I seem like an MJ when I talk about them.

bailar11
July 23rd 2010



2433 Comments


one MJ was more than enough. thank you very much.

Bitchfork
July 23rd 2010



7584 Comments


like even two-thirds through 'Blaise Bailey Finnegan III' when it's so obvious the climax is coming, when the cymbals grow and the guitars come forwards, but it doesn't dampen the effect.

Like, I enjoy the album, but the climaxes are usually underwhelming for me. The album makes me want to run and it makes me feel things, but the build-ups are where all these moments come.

Also, I think "Moya" is structured like a characterstudy, tbqh.

ShadowRemains
July 23rd 2010



20253 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

i like this album and the review, pos'd



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