Day 122 – #138. Godspeed You! Black Emperor – ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - 'Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend! Album Review

In a strange mood today, so it’s time to once again deviate from actually talking about an album. I will say that I wrote this entire thing while listening to Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s 2012 release, ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend! – the band’s first album in a full decade.

Tomorrow, I graduate from the University of South Florida, with a degree in mass communications. I minored in English, with an emphasis in creative writing, just like everyone else on the internet. A few semesters ago, I took a narration and description course that had an assignment to create or recreate (i.e. parody) our choice of newspaper articles: hard-hitting news, sports, editorial, etc.

As with anything I write, I try to turn it on its head and make it complicated. So I took the common sports article and doctored it.

Here’s what I wrote:

LAS VEGAS, Nevada (Sun News) — Beer got some advice from Liquor before his title fight against unbeaten champion Prostate Cancer.

“Liquor told me to stick to the game plan,” Beer said.

Beer listened to the Beverages & Diseases Federation’s biggest star and the outcome was four knockdowns in an upset victory over Prostate Cancer in the B&DF bantamweight title bout Saturday night at the Pleasure Palace Hotel & Casino in Las Vegas.

Beer (17 wins, 2 losses, 3 no decisions) won by technical knockout in the 8th round despite considerable odds stacked against him, including an undefeated opponent. At his pre-fight weigh in, the challenger was still half a pound too heavy. Judges and officials required him to sweat it out in a heat chamber.

The pressure must have worked. Beer, 26, came out looking to pounce, while his opponent looked shellshocked by the barrage.

“I really had it going tonight,” said the new champion. At the post-fight press conference, Beer’s trainer Wine was in tears and couldn’t field questions from the media. “I just feel like I’m going to burst right now,” Beer said.

After the bout, Prostate Cancer, who turned 33 just days before the fight, was at a loss for words.

“That just wasn’t me out there in the ring tonight,” Cancer (28 wins, 1 loss, 1 no decision) said, the cut over his right temple swollen to the size of a golf ball. “I just couldn’t get anything going.”

Prostate Cancer was almost knocked out in the second round against Beer, after a particularly powerful combination. The champion looked dazed and spent nearly the entire 10-second count with one knee on the mat, causing referee Premium Malt Beverage to separate the champion from the challenger. He got up but was bleeding heavily and had to be sown up after the round.

Prostate Cancer’s trainer, Radiation Therapy, was furious after the match.

“That match was f—— rigged,” Radiation Therapy said. “I’m no conspiracy theorist, but I want Beer’s gloves tested.”

Prostate Cancer did not concur with Radiation Therapy’s statements.

“I just got beat,” said Prostate Cancer, whose only previous bout that did not result in a win came almost 8 years ago to the day against Syphilis. “Bad. But I don’t doubt that there will be a rematch, and I will come out the winner.”

The new champion was jubilant but humble in victory.

“You know, my opponent is one m—– f—– of a disease,” said Beer. “I studied his style for 2 years. He’s almost flawless, and I love that dude. But I knew when my opportunity came, I’d have to make the most of it.”

After four eventful rounds, Beer landed a strong right hook to begin Round 8. The pace of the round ramped up when Prostate Cancer landed a body shot that left Beer backpedaling into the ropes. But the challenger exploded with a mammoth right cross that knocked the champion out cold.

“It was a beauty of a punch,” Liquor said afterward. “A tasty, delicious shot.”

The crowd responded to the fight’s end by giving both fighters standing ovations afterward.

Prostate Cancer, gracious but clearly devastated by the defeat, called the fight “one for the ages.”

When asked about what other advice Liquor had for him, Beer was not willing to disclose much information.

“Liquor’s my boy, know what I mean?” he said. “But y’all don’t need the specifics. All I’m gonna say is that n—-r is my dude. He’s the toughest bastard in the world. To win 40 straight matches, guy … I can’t even comprehend that. He is the king of this industry.”

Beer now has an eight-fight winning streak. He hasn’t lost in nearly four years, when he was knocked out in the fourth round by Apple Juice. The new champion, previously a Lightweight challenger and Featherweight title contender was elated by his first title.

“I’m staying at Bantamweight,” Beer said. “I’m the champion here. I’m the king of the bantamweights.”

So uh, there’s that.

Because ‘Allelujah! is an instrumental album (with its opening two tracks each exceeding 20 minutes in length), it’s hard to shed light in any substantial way regarding its lyrical themes – since, ya know, there aren’t any. In terms of its instrumentation: a slew of syncopation, which is to be expected considering “Mladic” and “We Drift Like Worried Fire” alone total almost 41 minutes. The succeeding tracks, “Their Helicopters’ Sing” and “Strung Like Lights at Thee Printemps Erable” are more digestible at around 7 minutes each.

Lots of sprawling space with just a single instrument taking the lead at various points. It’s a beautiful album, and not just because all four tracks are cinematically-worthy. I will say that it takes a certain kind of listener to be able to appreciate post-rock, because of its slow-to-burn but technically complex tracks. But if you do enjoy the genre, Godspeed and Explosions seem to be the granddaddies.

From last year’s ‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!, this is Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s “Their Helicopters’ Sing” –

Standout tracks: “Mladic” is particularly good, but all of it’s worth listening to the whole way through.
Weakest track: If you don’t like post-rock or don’t want to give it a shot, you probably won’t like any of it. If you do like post-rock, here’s 52 more minutes of goodness.

RIYL: Post-rock, experimental rock, prog rock. Explosions in the Sky, Fire Spoken by the Buffalo,



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