Godspeed You! Black Emperor doesn’t write songs. The Montreal collective, which plays Showbox SoDo Thursday, writes instrumental pieces. Evocative swells of sound more rooted in classical than rock music, they’re beautiful and terrifying, like soundtracks to movies not yet made — or life itself.
After a decade on the sidelines, the octet shocked its audience last year, releasing its fourth full-length “‘Allelujah! Don’t Bend! Ascend!” (listen) one October day with no buildup or fanfare whatsoever. Delicate at times, overwhelming at others, the emotionally-charged LP is unmistakably theirs, and reminds listeners why they were so moved by the band’s music the first time around.
To know Godspeed is to understand they don’t operate on a traditional recording and touring schedule, so Thursday might well mark their last local appearance for awhile. The group’s sets regularly eclipse two hours, so arrive early, settle in, and let the epic orchestral rock envelop you.Godspeed You! Black Emperor, Total Life
9 p.m. Thursday at Showbox SoDo, 1700 First Ave. S., Seattle; $25-28 (206-652-0444 or www.showboxpresents.com)