That being said, their new record, Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress, resists this formula to some degree. This album, their second after a multi-year hiatus, seems to bear the distinct influence of the Godspeed side project, Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra. That project is a little more straight forward in their construction of song forms, and borrows a lot more from rock than Godspeed. This influence can be seen in the monstrous metal-like opening chords to this album. It's a little surprising when the pay off for a long tension build comes before the build up. After some pretty sludge metal reminiscent riffing, the music eventually becomes more subdued, though still eerie and foreboding. This instrumental swells and swells before another massive explosion of sound.
Though I can say that I enjoy this album, I can say I have a few problems with it. The first problem would be the length. At around 40 minutes, it's one of Godspeed's shortest releases, barring their Slow Riot for New Zero Kanada EP. I feel like the band could have much more effectively built tension if they had given themselves more space to build and expand their sound. The payoff of 'Bring The Sun / Toussaint L'Ouverture' off To Be Kind would not have been nearly as good if it were five minutes long. The second problem I have with this record is the structuring of the piece (it's 4 songs, but it's essentially one piece, which from live performance has been known as 'The Behemoth'), in which some of the most climatic and intense instrumentation is near the beginning of the record. The climax at the end of the record is only comparable to the first explosion of sound. I can see the surprise of the opening heaviness being a selling point of the album, as it definitely caught me off guard, but the slow build afterwards should have progressed and built up to an even larger climax. You don't throw the most climatic scene at the beginning of a movie, do you? Then it only feels like downhill from there.
In conclusion, I did enjoy this album, though I thought the pacing was just a little too fast for a album that relies so much on building tension, and that the pay off at the end of the piece was a little underwhelming when compared to the opening of the piece. A misstep? I wouldn't say so. I applaud the band's desire to break away, if only slightly, from their formula, though I hope this approach, if they choose to continue with it, is more fully realized on their future projects.
Out of a total of five stars, I give this:
Check back in later for my opinions on Earl Sweatshirt's new album. There's a whole lot their for me to process and wrap my head around. Also, I was pleasantly surprised that I noticed that I can finally pre-order William Basinski's Cascade (still can't pre-order my copy of The Deluge though), so I'll be sharing my opinions on that as well.
"Copyright Disclaimer Under Section 107 of the Copyright Act 1976, allowance is made for "fair use" for purposes such as criticism, comment, news reporting, teaching, scholarship, and research. Fair use is a use permitted by copyright statute that might otherwise be infringing. Non-profit, educational or personal use tips the balance in favor of fair use."