Blind Idiot God + Oneirogen + Rhyton + Gnaw

Music, Punk and metal
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Blind Idiot God + Oneirogen + Rhyton + Gnaw
Photograph: Seldon Hunt
Blind Idiot God

Blind Idiot God, BIG for short—could a band possibly select a pithier acronym?—formed in 1982, then migrated from St. Louis to New York City, trading early hardcore mannerisms for larger-than-life heaviness and seemingly incongruous decelerations into cavernous, art-bleached dub. Enveloping left-field metal in sophisticated dissonance and adding a faint Jamaican accent, the instrumental power trio created its own niche and dug in. Three albums, including 1987’s self-titled debut for storied SoCal punk label SST, followed, as did collaborations with avant-luminaries John Zorn and Bill Laswell. Then in the mid-1990s, BIG went on indefinite hiatus, leaving in-the-know doom and math-rock fans to whisper its name in reverent tones.

Abetted by ex-Khanate drummer Tim Wyskida, the group started working on new material in 2001 and resumed playing live in 2006. After more than a decade of fitful recording, this lineup released Before Ever After, BIG’s first record in 23 years, last month via founding guitarist Andy Hawkins’s Indivisible imprint. Featuring fewer warp-speed blastoffs and funky asides, the Laswell-produced double LP emphasizes lumbering repetition that infuses the music with increased space and grace. The noisy stuff breathes deeper, and the dub tracks sound meatier.

Marking the arrival of bassist Will Dahl, this weekend’s gig presents a rare opportunity to hear abstract discord pumped through arena-worthy equipment. BIG’s megawatt thunder may be mercilessly overamplified, but it’s also meticulously arranged, which makes for an almost symphonic, undeniably massive experience.—Jordan N. Mamone

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