Postrock is dead! Deal with it. The only thing that sucks more is to revive a defunct post hardcore band from the late 90’s and play at Loolapallooza or Rock Am Ring.
Honestly, I really don’t know where to start here. Godspeed You! Black Emperor are one of my all-time favourite postrock bands and they have been on an indefinite hiatus since 2002. With Yanqui U.X.O. (released in 2002) , they disappointed their fans and did not meet the expectations after they set the bar to an unattainable height with their legendary record Lift your skinny fists like antennas to heaven, so going on hiatus or disbanding would have been the logical consequence, as GY!BE achieved everything there was to achieve and said everything there was to say, as a monumental political band.
Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is not that bad, though. The first song Mladic contains every known ingredient in GY!BE’s songwriting but lacks any big surprises. It starts with wiry samples of a radio conversation, gets over to what I call uninspired riff rocking hence the rhythm and aggressiveness and ends in an epical orchestral climax in best GY!BE manner. As far as I recall Mladic used to be Albanian and We drift like worried fire used to be Gamelan, 2 songs from their live repertoire back in the past.
There’s not much to add to Their Helicopters Sing and Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable. 2 tormenting interludes between 2 tracks that last for 20 minutes is nothing new here.
We drift like worried fire is my personal highlight. It’s got the melancholia I know from older songs like Sleep from Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas To Heaven and a lot of variation. It’s chaos and control in every single aspect though the only thing missing is the big bang, the moment that gives you shivers down your spine. We drift like worried fire is a good GY!BE song, don’t get me wrong, Godspeed You! Black Emperor dominate the loud / quiet game unlike any other band but the song is too cranky to arouse deep emotions.
All in all, Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! is an okay record, not the best but also not the worst. It saddens me to see one of my all time favourite bands coming back, trying to give a sign of life even though their momentum and zenith has been over 10 years ago and post rock has been over used for longer than Michael Jackson’s demise, especially when both main tracks are re-interpretations from former live tracks. Next!