Album Review: Thee Silver Mt. Zion Memorial Orchestra – Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything

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Last week, Montreal post-rock group Silver Mt. Zion released their newest album Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light on Everything and the LP is a fresh entry in the group’s discography and shows the evolution of the their sound.

Silver Mt. Zion is an off-shoot of Polaris-winning and punctuation aficionados Godspeed You! Black Emperor. GY!BE can be called the current kings of the post-rock genre fans of both of these groups would be familiar with the political nature of frontman Efrim Menuck’s music. This LP as with the other more recent releases from Silver Mt. Zion incorporates vocals of Menuck and the rest of the group to convey their image of a crumbling society that may be past redemption. With tracks titled “Austerity Blues” and “Little Ones Run” the group isn’t holding back in its depiction of a world that’s falling apart at its seams. The vocals on this LP may be off-putting to long time GY!BE fans but Menuck’s vocals have pleasantly evolved into a great accompaniment to the heavy layering of sound that the group known for.

The first track, “Fuck Off Get Free (For the Island of Montreal)” features Menuck’s vocals and with the strings and guitar behind his vocals, a wall of sound is created that sweeps you away. The meter in the middle of track creates the feeling of falling down a deep, dark hole straight into earth. In the latter half of the track the gears shift and the distorted guitar these chords that create a sense of dread, only to be interrupted by the group vocals coming in above all of the thick layers of guitar.

On the track “Austerity Blues” the group focuses more on the layering of the different instruments and this track is easily is a highlight of the LP because of it. Near the middle of the track, “Austerity Blues” the pounding of drum patterns that sound like they’ve come right out of a doom metal band starts and with a disgusting bass plucking away behind these guttural beats it all builds to distorted guitars screaming back to each other a melody that rises above all of the heaviness. Menuck’s vocals return for the latter part of the track while everything is playing behind him. The strings join him and the track builds and builds more into an explosion of sound, then everything falls away and we’re left with a drone that’s very reminiscent of the droning tones on GY!BE’s 2012 release Allelujah! Don’t Bent, Ascend! The vocals and drums come in a pick up the pieces as the track finishes up.

Issues within the music industry are touched upon in the samples the band uses. The sample at the beginning of “Take Away these Early Grave Blues” is of a woman with a thick south London accent talking about how she doesn’t think of herself as a girl signing rock and roll but as a “person doing a thing” as she says and she doesn’t understand why people don’t think the way she does. The other sample, which sounds like it came out of a Quebecois television interview, is of an artist explaining how music “more than something that you just do on the weekend…what you are, it’s how live, it’s the things that you do…”. Although there isn’t much explanation to go with these samples, the inclusion of them causes the listener to at least think about the issues if only for a moment.   If you’ve been paying attention to Menuck’s opinions on the music industry in Canada you’d know that he’s very critical of the industry and more importantly, the Government’s involvement in the music industry.

The vocal performance on “What We Loved Was Not Enough” the most emotional part this release; Menuck’s voice sounds excellent here and the punchiness in his inflection and his mournful and strained delivery of the lyrics “are our children gonna die” and “kiss it quick and it’ll rise again” is really outstanding. The last track on this LP “Rains Thru The Roof At The Grande Ballroom (For Capital Steez” is actually the most underwhelming of the bunch and although it isn’t necessarily a bad closer to an otherwise fantastic listening experience, it leaves the listener unsatisfied.

Fuck Off Get Free We Pour Light On Everything is definitely worth checking out if you’re a fan or Silver Mt. Zion, Godspeed, post-rock, or just some good music. It’s great to see that St. Mount Zion has been able to distinguish itself from Godspeed with such a solid and unique-sounding release and although the group portrays a terrible future for society in their music, the future of St. Mt. Silver looks very bright. 

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