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Preview: Godspeed You! Black Emperor

The Montreal band plays the Joy Theater Sept. 12



Godspeed You! Black Emperor is almost too immense to enjoy. It's a band to ponder, to let wash over you, in which to become immersed. The Montreal instrumentalists spent a quiet decade between releases and, like dog years, the span seemed to take forever and went by in the blink of an eye. When they returned to the studio, with 2012's surprise four-song, 53-minute Allelujah! Don't Bend! Ascend!, it wasn't so much a reunion as a reprise after a lengthy rest; the two 20-minute anvils, "Mladic" and "We Drift Like Worried Fire," were recompenses to anyone who sacrificed their eardrums at concerts in the early 2000s. It's music that is and always will be: the sound of storms gathering, of glaciers melting and waters rising, of certain species evolving and others becoming extinct. Rather than belonging to any particular genre, Allelujah feels like time-lapse video footage of the entire history of a movement, be it punk or metal or noise — there is birth and life and death and decay, and everything feeds back into that which begat it, all the while new things springing from the organic matter left behind. Fifth LP Asunder, Sweet and Other Distress (Constellation) can rightly be called the first "new" Godspeed material since 2002's Yanqui U.X.O., and it's a twisted, purple-tinged mushroom that's punched through the dung. Exclamatory opener "Peasantry or 'Light! Inside of Light!'" is all heavy psych-rock hits and smeared guitar leads; "Lambs' Breath" all static atmosphere and eerie, otherworldly possession. "Asunder, Sweet" swarms out of the former's drones, half insect, half electrical interference; and "Piss Crowns Are Trebled" plays the part of the big finish, a temple vice of drones and strings, crashing cymbals and imploding framework. It's exhausting and exhilarating, a workout that works from within. Tickets $25-35.

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