Thee Silver Mount Zion
He Has Left Us Alone...


5.0
classic

Review

by Tyrannic USER (9 Reviews)
January 13th, 2012 | 32 replies | 2,533 views


Release Date: 2000 | Tracklist

Review Summary: A stunningly personal tribute to a fallen comrade.

7 of 8 thought this review was well written

It has become increasingly hard, as of late, to confine myself to a single musical niche. With the rumblings and tumblings of a child stricken with attention deficit, my attention bounces between bands and genres like a fiend. Whether this is a fault or a blessing remains to be seen, (and considering the interconnected web of computers some call home, I’m leaning towards the latter), one thing remains abundantly clear: I always draw myself back to Effrim Marduk. Regardless of the situation, if someone asks for a great song, I’ll always throw on Broken Chords Can Sing A Little, a track off of Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra’s debut album He Has Left Us Alone... When the situation calls I know that once this album is spun, the room is about to experience something great. He Has Left Us Alone is a stunningly personal tribute to a fallen comrade, and one that resonates with the soul of those who share the feeling.

Through the introduction provided in Broken Chords Can Sing A Little, the band does little to differentiate themselves from their main project, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Creeping piano chords, surrounded by writhing strings, carry the melody throughout the piece, ultimately culminating in a sampled conversation between two zealots. Yet, it is the most personal sounding of anything Effrim Marduk has ever produced. Perhaps it could boil down to a simple game of numbers, i.e. three members v.s. twenty, that allows this album to avoid the bombast of Godspeed. Without this backing, Effrim is allowed to toy with more personal-sounding arrangements, and this shows throughout the work.

The longest track, Blown Out Joy From Heaven’s Mercied Hole, is centered around a strolling bassline with various instruments providing feedback to whomever happens to be strolling along. The image of Effrim trying to pen this work on a dollar store notebook, and failing repeatedly, is apparent through the steady bass and sporadic instrumentation. The track continues, with the instrumentation becoming more and more prevalent, while the bass simply strums along; almost like some kind of character is becoming schizophrenic through loss.

This sense of loss stands front and center throughout the album. As has almost become post-rock stuff of legends, Effrim recorded this album after the loss of his dog, Wanda. Through this, he takes us through an experience which can only be described as desperate isolation. The record shines brightest, however, at the end. For Wanda is the single point where the album offers a glimpse of hope. Lighter, airy piano keys dance over swelling strings in an arrangement that tries to resolve some kind of fear. Somewhat like the feeling of getting dressed for the first party after a period of self-imposed abstinence, the track is a swelling in the stomach. Whether or not I fall asleep in my own bed is irrelevant, the point is that I tried.

Therein lies the heart of the work, the fact that Effrim can take a relationship as abstract as a man and his dog, and make it resonate with someone who’s about to meet a girl for the first time in years. Without even trying, he has created a work that can be appreciated by anyone in a slump. The songs are pretentious and odd, mostly during the sampled bits, and those with low musical attention spans need not apply, but those up for it should come prepared to meet the greatest of lows.



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user ratings (308)
Chart.
4
excellent
other reviews of this album
S. G. Shaw (4.5)
...


Comments:Add a Comment 
Tyrannic
January 13th 2012



3229 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

first try reviewing post rock. i had a lot of trouble writing this, but i guess this is it. tear it apart please and thank you.

Tyrannic
January 13th 2012



3229 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

THANKS BUD

spacedkadet
January 13th 2012



3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Always hard to review post-rock in a manner that doesn't sound too pompous or too... i don't know, biased. fanboy-like? And to be honest, when it comes to ASMZ you can't really "review" their music, you can either empathize with what they're saying or not. Anyhoo, great article.

Tyrannic
January 13th 2012



3229 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Oh wait I've never nitpicked someone's italization, so if you don't like me and just want to be a dick why don't you actually find something wrong with the review itself and I'll correct it.

Tyrannic
January 13th 2012



3229 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Did I come off that way? It's pretty hard to avoid, thanks.

spacedkadet
January 13th 2012



3 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

No, you didn't. That's what I forgot to add It's hard to avoid getting into that whole bias-spiral when reviewing post-rock but your article has none of it. That's why it's great, captures the feeling.

Jash
January 13th 2012



4243 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

great album, i'll read this when im not so drunk and stoned tomorrow

Aids
Contributing Reviewer
January 13th 2012



23671 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Josh don't lie you'll be just as drunk and stoned tomorrow.

Digging: Trophy Scars - Holy Vacants

scissorlocked
January 13th 2012



3483 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

I was not that impressed by this album

maybe it needed a little more music and less silence

Digging: Fantastic Mr Fox - Sketches

Tyrannic
January 13th 2012



3229 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

wow two ghost negs already thanks guys

ZilbelPing
January 13th 2012



5788 Comments


Have yourself a pos to counter those ghost negs.

I'll check this out. Your review convinced me to stop holding off listening to these guys.

TheVoiceAndTheSnake
January 13th 2012



3663 Comments


"Through the introduction provided in Broken Chords Can Sing A Little, the band does little to differentiate themselves from their main project, Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Creeping piano chords, surrounded by writhing strings, carry the melody throughout the piece, ultimately culminating in a sampled conversation between two zealots. Yet, it is the most personal sounding of anything Effrim Marduk has ever produced. Perhaps it could boil down to a simple game of numbers, i.e. three members v.s. twenty, that allows this album to avoid the bombast of Godspeed. Without this backing, Effrim is allowed to toy with more personal-sounding arrangements, and this shows throughout the work."


The way you formatted this paragraph is a little awkward, might want to edit that .


stabbler
January 13th 2012



1413 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

one of my favourites of all time

Tyrannic
January 13th 2012



3229 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Thanks for the pos zilbel. Seems like I got another though so whatever.

Thanks snake, I'll see what I can do with that. But is that honestly neg worthy?

North0House2
January 14th 2012



5621 Comments


I love Menuck, he's my favorite musician... Or at least, he's among them. However, I don't think this album quite merits a 5, there are a few awkward moments in it here and there. Despite such things, it's still a beautiful release. Review was so-so. I've reviewed post-rock before. It's difficult, so I feel your pain.

Digging: Lantlos - Melting Sun

Tyrannic
January 14th 2012



3229 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Can you elaborate about what makes the review meh? I want to edit it but other than that paragraph I don't know where to start.

Shukal
January 14th 2012



59 Comments


seems like people are butthurt because of your criticism of their reviews

have a pos.

Tyrannic
January 14th 2012



3229 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

you know, the people on this site amaze me sometimes. then i remember it's the internet and go find a video of a monkey riding a pig. i'm thinking of taking a hiatus from sputnik for a while. ugh i hate troll negs.

stabbler
January 14th 2012



1413 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

yeah it's a brave effort to write a review on here...i never pos or neg cause i hardly ever read the reviews cause they would rarely influence me either way anyway

Tyrannic
January 14th 2012



3229 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

it's not even the fact that people don't like my work, it's that they don't explain why. i couldn't care less that i got neg'd i just, you know, want to be a better writer i guess?



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