Montreal Right Now Forever. Godspeed You! Black Emperor, 'Allelujah! Don't Bend Ascend.

What We Brought                            What We Wrought                            What We Got

These words stand as tablet slabs; the self-depreciating Veni, vidi, vici of the greatest band ever spawned of Montréal. They are the Three Commandments according to Efrim Menuck et al., and are the inscriptions atop the credits of the first original recording in a decade from the inimitably supreme Godspeed You! Black Emperor. Godspeed (or God's Pee as they're now seemingly self-referenced, if the sleeve containing said credits be anything to go by) don't come out with many words although whenever they do, they seem to be imbued with the solemn poignancy of any utterance from the lips of a mute. They are an immutably excellent band in a time of flash-pan frivolity, and the unwieldily entitled 'Allelujah! Don't Bend Ascend does nothing but validate their enduring, and with it folkloric, omnipotence.

Wreck'd us our countrie's amok/ Torn thru/ With birds, thee sky's a bruis'd unreckoning/ Thee shore's bled dry but tepid waters.

If ever we needed a sprinkling of new material from God's Pee then now is the time. With independent music becoming increasingly diluted with commercialism and the mainstream long since contaminated, there's an ominous relevance to these portentous, and almost impenetrable passages. 'Allelujah! Don't Bend Ascend serves as a sort of soundtrack to the beginning of the end, and yet you sense that Godspeed could save this world from its looming self-implosion were they only constructed a pedestal from which they may instruct and rain down these leaden beauties.

Almost grotesquely tense instrumentals, if Godspeed have long since extracted the overwrought from the fabric of post-rock then the Canadian behemoths are here in no mood to ease off. Theirs is a quite exasperating form of enchantment – without question enchantment is precisely that which they produce – but by God do they make you, and more pertinently your body, work for it. They set your pores to sweat; your ears to plead for recess. Respite does come, yes, although when it does you're left yearning for further onslaught. For 'Allelujah! Don't Bend Ascend is, to all purposes, constructed of two almighty pillars which combine to uphold the LP, and form a plinth from which their good (not so much word, as) instrumental narratives may resound. Around these two pieces is but dronal buzz; that relief aforesaid. Their Helicopters Sing begins with the baleful hum of hushed field recordings, yet these pastures are soon infiltrated by the ominous scratching of seesawing strings; infected with the cattish shrieks of bagpipes indelibly savaged in a previous existence. Strung Like Lights At Thee Printemps Erable, meanwhile, is a rather more rampant composition drawn from a palette of distortion and musical disconcertion.

Of course within the context of most other records, these may be deemed the magna opera of the piece as they purr up to some point around the 6:30-mark. Yet here they're comparative snippets; mere interludes. They're the works that ought to connect the record yet in disharmony, they only serve to disconnect. Devoid of the acute definition for which the outfit are have become all but revered, the creeping feeling is that they fall into the realms of superfluity. For Godspeed's unrivalled musicality is one of their most formidable strengths; the tool with which they sculpt their inconceivably ornate melodies, and these two works are found severely lacking in this department. They belong to faintly unpleasant anti-music, almost.

But thankfully 'Allelujah! Don't Bend Ascend is akin to a syndactyly hand in that as unlovely as these shorter cuts – the webbing connecting the indispensable, monumental digits at its core, if you will – may be, they serve a purpose. It may not be one I fully comprehend, nor in many ways derive much delight from but concerted purpose seems to have gone into the album's structuring. That there are a scant nine seconds to differentiate between the running times of sides A and B attests to this. It may be a monumental shame that, subjectively, I've struggled to connect with these intermediary appendages yet their effect is not purely antagonistic but symbiotic too, in that they emphasise just how thoroughly affecting its two primary works prove, even from first play.

Much ado has been made of late of minimal modern classicists à la Nils Frahm, or Dustin O'Halloran – Oskar Schuster, even – although it's these men and women from the crispest, wintry reaches of the North American continent who ceaselessly vindicate their standing as the real sorcerers of the musically melodramatic, and oft wickedly malevolent, and always incontrovertibly mystifying. Nothing comes enwrapped in more raw emotivity than a Godspeed LP, and it is emotivity that is both discernibly human and disconcertingly alien all at once.

As the troupe's first new material in give or take ten years, the sound they call upon is as wondrously rusty as one may expect. Russet and scratchy, yet lucid when required to be, Mladic is the sort of operatic offering to extend GY!BE's enduring esteem for aeons in just moments. It lasts enough of them, although it seems to evolve as may a season over its wearying twenty: snatches of miscellaneous recording immediately construct reminiscences of that monologic, woebegone misery to commence Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven standout, Static. "With his arms outstretched/ Can you get him? Do you see him?/ Hang on – hang on/ OK." Were it not for those final two letters, the morose doom we've come to expect of God's Pee may have again been ratified. Yet this cursory abbreviation comes to represent hope snatched from a time of evident desperation and, appositely, Mladic is arguably their most optimistic recording currently uploaded to my memory.

It's no Everybody Dance nor McFadden & Whitehead's notoriously wonderful one hit, but it's certainly of a brighter disposition than their usual. And so as with cosmic fruitcake Baumgartner just days ago, there's a sense with Allelujah! Don't Bend Ascend that this is the sound of an already otherworldly band boldly going where neither they, nor any other band has gone before. Mladic doesn't exactly hurtle down blackened lugholes at 800-odd mph, but does so more at a rather inert pace of torpidity.

The squawk-seasoned air of a Minehead (now read: Camber Sands) morn yanked through corroded pickups signals the beginning to brood of their time-honoured, warped mania. Bells toll, militant drums roll, and Godspeed start to ascend as may a gull blooded of beak having viciously nipped one of the legion of ATP acolytes. We're seven minutes in, rapt and all that, and yet it feels as though the track has already dragged on for a minor infinity. A crusty guitar line then cuts through the mood, forbidding as anything conceived by Stephen O'Malley. As it builds, strings are intertwined with what now sounds an armada marching toward Armageddon. Whether Godspeed at this point side with the forces of good or evil is entirely obfuscated by the sheer hysteria of the track and, ultimately, such is its hypnotic power that it's entirely irrelevant anyhow. Midway through it powers down into a thunderous strand of dissonance, only for the dim grandeur to be renovated minutes later. The majesty of uncountable Olympic opening ceremonies condensed down into one multi-storey sound, it is genuinely unlike anything else I've yet to hear. As it slumps to silence, the sound of ensnared slaves clunking pots, pans, and anything else to hand only exacerbates the profound immersion felt.

The album's other mainstay, We Drift Like Worried Fire, is a rather more conventional GY!BE hunk consisting in the regular array of ups and downs; loud and quiets to combine in a perfectly equilibrated mélange of the searing and the sullen. Commencing with a guitar line that oscillates about just three notes, it is in fine keeping with the theme of ascendancy – of course a theme to course throughout this one, and indeed the discography – and tides our attentions over until the vivid bursts of tremolo that cut in eight minutes in. As with all things Godspeed, these gradually crescendo only to soon after ebb away to leave a dramatic cortège of regimented snares and swelling orchestrations in its wake. This segues into an ebullient period of loud, which is in turn enveloped by seconds of quiet, which are then once again immersed in a momentous loud. At this point, for me, the record ceases to exist until I inevitably scurry right back to its start again. This is a process that has already been occurring for a week and, as thee onlookers continue to stare in dumbfounded awe, I once more thank fuck God's Pee did once descend.