In one sentence: ALLELUJAH! DON'T BEND! ASCEND! is both exactly what you think a new Godspeed You! Black Emperor album should sound like (particularly given that it's made up of "definitive" versions of two songs that were being performed before the group's hiatus) and a reminder of their music's ability to transcend expectations. Surprises: it's heavy as fuck, all squealing guitars and full band detonations. Reassurances: occasionally that exquisite brand of melancholy that is distinctly Godspeed will be teased, but the band never gives in to the temptation to rehash past glories--this is nervous, edgy music for a nervous, edgy time. Ultimately: if this is the end, it's on a higher note than Yanqui U.X.O., trimming some of that record's fat in its longer pieces and including some of the atmospheric dronescapes that made Slow Riot For New Zero Kanada and Lift Your Skinny Fists Like Antennas to Heaven such engrossing listens. Fuck yeah, I'm pumped, basically. I'll write a real review when I've stopped smiling. For now, listen here.