David Jackson reviews acclaimed Canadian post-rockers Godspeed You! Black Emperor at Warwick Arts Centre
If the apocalypse happens, Godspeed You! Back Emperor would almost certainly be leading contenders to provide a fitting soundtrack.
Montreal’s post-rock masters combine moments of, gentle, brooding calm which build and explode into euphoric, deafening screams of clashing instrumentation and violent riffs, only to subside, leaving fans trapped amid an almost hypnotic grip.
Since emerging from a hiatus about five years ago, GYBE have released two albums in three years.
Their return was cemented by Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! in 2012 with Asunder, Sweet with Other Distress following this year.
At the Warwick Arts Centre on Thursday, the band’s nine song set featured the latter in its entirety sandwiched between a handful of other songs.
Opener, Hope Drone slowly built amid screaming violins and reverberating guitars as band members assembled on stage amid a faint overhead light.
While GYBE played their entire set in near darkness with some members sat at chairs, they were illuminated by a rear screen, which projected images and words as varied as the band’s music.
While moments of calm featured night time grasslands and wild animals, sudden changes of their dynamic saw the band accompanied with clips of industrial smoke stacks, electricity pylons and scrolling texts.
On occasions, from the rear of the Butterworth Hall, all that was visible were orange lights from the numerous amplifiers scattered across the stage, the screen projections and the rough outlines of eight band members crafting a cacophony of sounds.
Occasional cheers and ripples of applause drifted around the venue, as GYBE shifted between songs with no interaction with their audience.
Among the highlights of the night were recent LP track Piss Crowns Are Trebled and set closer The Sad Mafioso.
On Thursday, Godspeed You Black Emperor took fans on an emotional rollercoaster of calm and beauty interjected with abrasive, crushing post-rock soundscapes.
It was everything you’d expect from one of the genre’s leading bands, but utterly thrilling at the same time.
Godspeed You! Black Emperor played:
Peasantry or ‘Light! Inside of Light!’
Piss Crowns Are Trebled
unknown (new song)
The Sad Mafioso