100 Greatest Albums of the 90’s: #31

Godspeed You! Black Emperor – F#A# (Pronounced F-sharp, A-sharp, infinity)

With a name like “Godspeed You! Black Emperor” and a concept album about an approaching apocalypse, you’d be forgiven for thinking the band made generic thrash metal. No, Godspeed are something totally anomalous and their debut is one of the most absorbing and stunning works of art of the 90’s (and I use the term “work of art” with good reason). This isn’t an apocalypse where fire and brimstone rain from the sky like a Meat Loaf album sleeve, this is the sound of society’s gentle collapse and is far more beautiful and frightening for that matter (in fact Danny Boyle envisaged it to soundtrack ’28 Days Later’). Opening with a monologue from the guitarist’s aborted film project, which should sound clichéd and overly cinematic, but instead sends shivers down the spine. Building hypnotic guitars and strings, slowly changing slow/fast/quiet/loud dynamics and mesmerising atmospheres make this at once depressing for its subject matter and uplifting for being the rich human experience it is. Lights down, headphones on.
Listen to: The Dead Flag Blues


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