Jakob's Album Reviews

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Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – “Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything” – ALBUM REVIEW

Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra “Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything”

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Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra has undergone several changes in both lineup and band name since their formation 15 years ago. The Montreal group’s main consistent members are Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s Efrim Menuck, Thierry Amar, and Sophie Trudeau. Much like the band that birthed them, A Silver Mt. Zion specializes in experimental post-rock. Unlike Godspeed, however, the group utilizes vocals on most of their tracks. Efrim’s especially passionate and imperfect vocals dominate the group’s discography, especially so on their seventh record “Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything.”

While the atmospheric post-rock feel of the band’s music is familiar to fans of Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Silver Mt. Zion goes about it in a much more ear-friendly way than Godspeed does. These guys incorporate indie rock and punk rock sounds into their music making them feel like a vaguely emo group that could tour with acts like Modest Mouse if their songs weren’t so lengthy. The music A Silver Mt. Zion makes is beautiful, and on this album, which is the best I’ve ever heard from the band, I can’t help but be impressed with the way they manipulate sounds and filter it through a post-rock lens without appearing too derivative.

“Fuck Off Get Free” is composed of six songs, three that exceed 10 minutes and three shorter songs. The three monolith tracks are huge in scope, length, and concept. The instrumentation speaks for itself, but I will say that it’s calculated and intricate while still feeling loose and almost improvised. The three shorter tracks are sort of all over the place, with the longest of the shortest sort of mirroring the overall atmosphere of the 10+ minute songs. Lyrically speaking, it’s basically exactly what you’d expect from these particular musicians if you’re familiar with their previous endeavors. Godspeed You! Black Emperor has always been very political, but they don’t express their fears and thoughts quite like A Silver Mt. Zion does, especially since they utilize lyrics and vocals. Efrim sings about blood and violence and riots and civilization very poignantly, but not in a way that at all distracts from the immense musical fusion.

Perhaps the strangest part of this album is the short closing track which just so happens to be dedicated to Capital Steez, a 19-year old New York rapper and member of Joey Bada$$’s Pro Era crew who took his own life in December 2012. The song itself is pretty messy and probably my least favorite on the album, but it’s still an interesting dedication and a sorrowful reminder of what mental illness can do to a person; there are many who suspected that Capital Steez may have suffered from schizophrenia and depression.

Overall, “Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything” is a whirlwind of emotion and musical competence that sort of continues in the vein of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s 2012 comeback record “Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” While I very strongly prefer Godspeed to A Silver Mt. Zion, the latter has made some very consistently great music over the past decade while Godspeed has hibernated, and this new record is a step above the rest of their discography. It’s not overlong or boring, and if you’ve ever been interested in hearing what Godspeed could have potentially sounded like before they found direction (perhaps on their much sought after mid-90s demo “All Lights Fucked on the Hairy Amp Drooling”) then give this record a few listens.

SCORE – 7.8

FAVORITE TRACKS – Fuck Off Get Free (For The Island Of Montreal), Austerity Blues, Take Away These Early Grave Blues, What We Loved Was Not Enough

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