Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress

Godspeed You! Black Emperor - Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress
Critic Score
Based on 26 reviews
2015 Ratings: #66 / 1008
User Score
Based on 689 ratings
2015 Ratings: #284
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Louder Than War
Already locked in for album of the year, this is a masterful work from a group that have already defined the word epic on their mysterious and powerful releases over the years.

There’s a reason why GY!BE can go out in front of a crowd and play one song and have that be enough, and that’s because Asunder is Godspeed: the Band condensed into one piece. Their building tension (plenty of that). The lulling drones. The tear-summoning climax.

A.V. Club

At just 40 minutes, Asunder is also 13 minutes shorter than Allelujah! But despite its brevity, Asunder has more meat on its bones. And though it calls back to many of the strengths of early GY!BE albums, it also highlights an evolution of intent.

Drowned in Sound

Asunder, Sweet is Godspeed at their most conciliatory, most bloody-minded and most untouchable.

Godspeed You! Black Emperor don’t really deal in limitations. What they do deal in is catharsis, which the world needs as much now as it ever has. Maybe they came back just in time.

Asunder… is a focused distillation of a composition that is one of the band’s most affecting pieces.


It’s an invigorating makeover of Godspeed You! Black Emperor’s firmly entrenched sound, and thus Asunder is both a thematic and musical awakening for the band.

The Observer

This relatively curt 40-minute set – the Montreal multi-instrumentalists’ second recording since their lengthy hiatus ended in 2010 – ranks among their most immediate.

This is music of compelling intensity.

Asunder ... follows a familiar trajectory: martial climaxes and blackened ambient passages, bombast and afterburn. Rarely, though, has that trajectory been charted so effectively.

Record Collector
The band’s signature slow riffs and brutal, unison forces are all present, while it’s between these chord changes that the interplay of feedback, overtones, drones and whistles play, against and with, in and out of the bludgeoning drive of the enormous, portentous menhirs of minor melody.
FLOOD Magazine

This album is no less ambitious than the rest of the group’s discography.

NOW Magazine

While it takes a few listens to absorb, Asunder, Sweet And Other Distress captures everything we love about the gloomy experimental instrumental rock group.

The Guardian

Asunder, Sweet begins in devastation and lament, takes time to plot, then surges with a single purpose: it is resolute and defiant, much like the players themselves.

No Ripcord

The band might well still be fluctuating and developing, but, at least in parts on Asunder… they've truly perfected their sound, and there’s not many bands that that can be said about.

The Skinny

Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress is slim but huge, and tests the GYBE aesthetic with courageous enterprise.

Because they write music without words, you're forced to find meaning in the substance of Godspeed's music. Their vision remains a bleak one - but it makes resistance sound holy, and love sound like a revolutionary act.
This is a beautiful, concise blast that conveys this band's musical essence.
Under The Radar

Asunder may not be the second or third best Godspeed record but its likely to be one of the best records you hear this year and heralds a band that is not yet done creatively. It's thrilling to see the kind of compelling adult this punky prodigy has grown into.

Exchanging their volatile tendencies for restraint and focus, Godspeed You! Black Emperor have created another incredible work and one that finds them again evading the confines of formula — even if it happens to be their own.
There is nothing about this album ... that would have sounded out of place if they had released it in 2002. Change is not Godspeed’s way, but the other side of that coin is that, despite many imitators, there’s also nothing else out there that sounds quite like them.
Consequence of Sound
Recorded during late 2013 and 2014, it’s a dramatic look at evil once again being destroyed — or perhaps as the one doing the destroying.

The conclusion of Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress is, as musically foretold on F# A# (Infinity) in 1998, the undoing of a world. The process of evolution is destruction. In GY!BE's musical universe, everything has already passed over the margin and returned to the void from whence it came. What can be left but silence?

The Line of Best Fit

Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress has little to say and fails to spark the imagination in the same way GY!BE have always accomplished. It’s a crushing disappointment to hear a band of this ilk release something that sounds so much like its contemporaries.

Tiny Mix Tapes

Here, the band seems to retreat from such (was it always over-)determination instead to make joyous, explosive anthems born out of the turmoil, a little less on-the-nose politically, but more on-the-nose noisily.

The Needle Drop
Godspeed You! Black Emperor hangs in their comfort zone on this new, relatively unambitious record of theirs.

while not as epic in scope as some of Godspeed's earlier projects, Asunder, Sweet is still a very enjoyable release, and is really underrated in their catalog.

the intro track, Peasantry or 'Light! Inside of Light!,' which has possibly the most Godspeed title of any song ever, is one of their most direct and forceful songs. it ditches the long crescendos and intense, physical buildups for a more immediate and heavy sounds, and i think it works amazingly. the electric guitar solo, something i ... read more


I'm sorry, but Godspeed You have just disappointed me with this one.

After a promising comeback from a decade long hiatus, I did have hopes that the remaining couple of albums I had yet to hear from this group would keep up the streak of fantastic instrumental post-rock records. Hell, I knew that these last few would be good considering they are getting just as much praise as the previous ones did! Unfortunately, the first of these last two releases has not set the best example for what a good ... read more


This album cover is just pet sounds but in hell. Pretty good album, enjoyable, but definitely works as background music more than anything. Browsed r/vinyljerk to this album. Shit's litty like a titty up in here.


This album gave me a panic attack.


Yet another epic album that is great. It feels like it sort of dips down in the middle with there being dead zones of silence that felt a bit boring and inconsistent, but for the most part, just great as always.

Best Track: Piss Crowns Are Trebled


I don't want to hear anything. "Piss Crowns" is more worthy than many entire discographies.

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Added on: February 24, 2015