Godspeed You! Black Emperor
F#A# (Infinity)


5.0
classic

Review

by Chewbacca USER (32 Reviews)
June 6th, 2006 | 77 replies | 10,644 views


Release Date: 1997 | Tracklist


14 of 15 thought this review was well written

"And I saw when the Lamb opened one of the seals, and I heard, as it were the noise of thunder, one of the four beasts saying, Come and see. And I saw, and behold a white horse: and he that sat on him had a bow; and a crown was given unto him: and he went forth conquering, and to conquer. And when he had opened the second seal, I heard the second beast say, Come and see. And there went out another horse that was red: and power was given to him that sat thereon to take peace from the earth, and that they should kill one another: and there was given unto him a great sword. And when he had opened the third seal, I heard the third beast say, Come and see. And I beheld, and lo a black horse; and he that sat on him had a pair of balances in his hand. And I heard a voice in the midst of the four beasts say, A measure of wheat for a penny, and three measures of barley for a penny; and see thou hurt not the oil and the wine. And when he had opened the fourth seal, I heard the voice of the fourth beast say, Come and see. And I looked, and behold a pale horse: and his name that sat on him was Death, and Hell followed with him. And power was given unto them over the fourth part of the earth, to kill with sword, and with hunger, and with death, and with the beasts of the earth."

- King James' Bible, Revelation Chapter 6, verses 1 through 8

None too familiar imagery these days, you're thinking. We're all familiar with the Book of Revelations or the Ragnarok (less so on the latter), and by now I'm sure it's set fear into our fragile, human hearts at some point. But what many fail to realize is that the Four Horsemen and the pending actions that come as a result could also be of our own doing, without the involvement of sometimes over the top prophecies and fear mongering. The HIV virus has become a pandemic, poverty is ravaging the world as it always has, and the war on drugs still continues on. And yet, a large portion of the world could really care less. If they do, then there is a decent chance that it is nothing more than an afterthought or a nasty little taste left in their mouths.

Godspeed You Black Emperor! would more than likely agree with this. However mysterious they want their personas to be, their music still carries the weight of the human essence to an extent that no other band has or will probably again. Forming in the mid nineties and named after a documentary on a Bozoku gang (the equivelent of a biker gang in Japan) by the name of the Black Emperors, the band cultivate sounds and experiences to form long, slowly unfolding songs that are as influenced by classical and avant-garde as they are by the raw feelings of punk rock. Unlike some of their contemporaries, Godspeed's music sounds anything bu joyous or sad; even more, the overall tone of F#A# (Infinity) is more of the post-apacolyptic experience, the impending strife and mourning, and that pulsing sense that their is hope for humankind afterall.

And it all began with "The Dead Flag Blues"; scenes from prophecies, as claustrophic as Vancouver pavement on a summer night. It went like this: "The buildings tumbled in on themselves. Mothers clutching babies picked through the rubble and pulled out their hair. The skyline was beautiful on fire. All twisted metal stretching upwards. Everything washed in a thin orange haze. I said, 'Kiss me, you're beautiful.. These are truly the last days'". Then come the sighs, the surviving gasps of life coming to the surface to view the passing clouds, marked by mourful, glistening guitars, spaghetti western bass lines, and sympathetic harmonica, building to a crescendo that leaps over the rubble and to the gray skies. This is the first ounce of hope, as the humanity finds it's place in a now devestated world. A waltz of glockenspiel and strings, hope marches through, then we are left to ponder.

Salvation cries out through a preacher in the streets, as bagpipes sing out the same tune. "East Hastings" slowly settles itself in. Eventually, the melodies start to rise: the repeating of doomed and depressing guitar that is eventually joined by complimentary drums and bass, slowly pounding under the heavenly forces of all three guitar players. It falls; introduction of crooning strings, that morph to puncture wounds and die, only to be ressurrected again with the force of a thousand swords. Slowly and gradually, like the previous piece, "East Hastings" throws itself into the depths of possibility; a ten-ton steam engine pummeling anything in it's way. If you have believed anything to be intense before here this buildup, then my friend, you have never heard a proper crescendo/release such as this.

"Providence" is almost as epic, but never reaches the terse strains of the former. This may be due to the almost thirty minute length. An interview in Providence, Rhode Island also reflects the apocalyptic feel of F#A# (Infinity): "The preacher man says that it's the end of time. Says that America's rivers are going dry." However the length affects the song, it still lives up to it's main function: to continue the feeling of the music and enforce the great confusion of what is beautiful and what is not. However, it still remains as a vital component of the album, with sparkling melodies and same type of ferver and enthusiasm that is spread throughout the rest of the album, making it blissful and inspiring in the process, something that few, if any bands, will every accomplish in our lifetime. We can all learn something from listening to Godspeed You Black Emperor!, especially in the sort of delusional times that we live in. Our own fate as humans is beyond our grasp, but there is hope. Always.



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user ratings (2545)
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Comments:Add a Comment 
Neoteric
June 6th 2006



3243 Comments


Sweet.

masada
June 6th 2006



2733 Comments


Wrong username. Damn it.

I don't think I like this review much.

The Jungler
June 6th 2006



4827 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

God damn, I need this. Brilliant review, sans a few misplaced exclamation points.

masada
June 6th 2006



2733 Comments


I prefer them where they are.

Thor
June 6th 2006



10183 Comments

Album Rating: 4.5

Grrrrrreat review. I've heard lots about this band but I have yet to listen to them.

masada
June 6th 2006



2733 Comments


It's the same as the rest of the album, basically. I also got kind of lazy. So, I'll probably fix the review up a bit later if you don't mind.This Message Edited On 06.06.06

Blindguardian
June 6th 2006



186 Comments


Never heard anything by them, are they anything like Mogwai or Explosions in the Sky? There are so many different styles that fall under post rock

masada
June 6th 2006



2733 Comments


Yeah, they're like those bands.

Except that Explosions in the Sky are pansies.

Blindguardian
June 6th 2006



186 Comments


Then I should listen to more pansy music

Iluvatar
Staff Reviewer
June 6th 2006



16083 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Skinny Fists detroys this, but this is still excellent stuff. The Dead Flag Blues is fantastic.

Jawaharal
June 6th 2006



1832 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

Probably one of my all time favorite albums. Its just so beautiful.

masada
June 6th 2006



2733 Comments


Also one of your all time favorite reviews amirite.

Jawaharal
June 6th 2006



1832 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

nouwrong

DesolationRow
June 6th 2006



833 Comments


I still have yet to hear this. I don't know what they sound like or anything... I am assuming its very mellow and instrumentally focused.

pulseczar
June 6th 2006



2385 Comments

Album Rating: 4.0

Not mellow at all.

Nice review, Nikolai.This Message Edited On 06.06.06

sgrevs
June 6th 2006



698 Comments


I've only heard a select few Godspeed songs, but they were all good. Now I wanna hear this. East Hastings sounds good...I've been just looking for some 'epic' music.

masada
June 6th 2006



2733 Comments


Check 'em out.

masada
June 6th 2006



2733 Comments


There's basically only one fast part on the whole album. They're not chilled out like Sigur Ros, because they aren't little half-blind pixies from Iceland.

Godspeed are real.

Storm In A Teacup
June 6th 2006



12701 Comments


[quote=Nick]Wrong username. Damn it.



I don't think I like this review much.[/quote]You may be modest here, but I remember you saying this would be a great review over msn. :p Although it's not as long as I thought it would be, but it's still awesome. As I told you, I'm going to buy this soon.

masada
June 6th 2006



2733 Comments


Yeah well then I actually read it.





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