A Silver Mount Zion is one of the few musical projects that rose out of the ashes of the paramount Godspeed You! Black Emperor, formed by their ringleader Efrim Menuck. As such, they can never escape the criticism that they are not Godspeed You! Black Emperor. And, of course, this is true. They are a completely different project, with a completely different sound, and a completely different intention. Godspeed You Black Emperor is about creating crushingly pure atmosphere; each of their albums represents some emotion that is indescribable except through their music. Their music is considered by many to be the perfect form of this. Conversely, A Silver Mt. Zion exists in the realm of emotion relatable through real human communication. Their music includes Menuck’s vocals, which are grating to most, and passionate and beautiful to some. Their music, at least on Horses in the Sky, is given as an outcry. This music is about belief and change.
The album Horses in the Sky is a political one. It is not political in any specific sense, as in it does not refer to any modern or exact political issues, but it is political in that it represents one man’s discomfort with the society in which he lives. Listening to Horses in the Sky I imagine a countercultural movement. I imagine a group of people, representative of whatever portion of society will always perpetuate change, sharing their thoughts and feelings because it is a thing that they need to do in order to feel settled. People will listen to this music and feel impassioned, just as I do. I feel the power of music itself as a function to create change.
Musically, this album is perfect. Its instrumental arrangement is unconventional. The instruments involved, I can assume, are what they are because the members of the band believed they were the right media to use, without thinking of standards or traditions. This music is not overcomplicated in any sense. In fact, it is almost minimalistic. Instruments and sounds layer in as they are necessary and filter out as they become unnecessary. Nothing presented here is senseless. This music is standalone, in that it cannot be confined by the constraints of any genre or defined with words.
I believe this transcends music itself in a lot of ways, and may in the future be regarded as a cultural artifact, although that might be a bit pretentious. I would urge anybody to listen to this, but it is important to try not to compare it to Godspeed You! Black Emperor, unless you are considering it as a progression in Efrim Menuck’s ideas. To get a real feel for this album you will have to listen to it for yourself, of course, as all I can really say about it is that it is sincere.
like i said, i liked the review. your style is distinctive and easy to read, doesn't blather on for too long. in fact, this review is almost too sparse, but i like that you were going for the base feelings under everything here rather than going into too many descriptions. I tend to shy away from statements like "The music is perfect," or the last one - you spend the whole review explaining why someone should listen to this album so it's sort of redundant for me to say at the end is "listen to it for yourself."