Liturgy
Aesthethica


3.5
great

Review

by Dakota West Foss USER (15 Reviews)
May 25th, 2011 | 211 replies


Release Date: 2011 | Tracklist

Review Summary: When horrible, horrible people make good music.

"One could propose a new meaning for black metal along with a new
array of techniques to activate that meaning. The meaning of
Transcendental Black Metal is Affirmation, and its new technique is
the Burst Beat."

What?

Lead guitarist and vocalist of Liturgy, Hunter-Hendrix, is that guy. You know, the one who somehow wormed his way into your group of friends, taking everything way too seriously. Any sort of gay joke has them almost pleading in their assertion of being straight and any sort of potty humor is met with a smug look to the sky with their nose and chin telling you they are above that kind of thing. That guy.

You see, Liturgy are hellbent on proving that they are above the genre that they've planted roots in. Someone must have told them that they were an interesting take on black metal or something; at least, that's what I hope. Like the gay jokes earlier, Liturgy do not take these allegations lightly. In fact, Hunter-Hendrix wrote an entire manifesto in order to prove otherwise. In Transcendental Black Metal, Hunter-Hendrix insists that Liturgy are just that. Rather than being grouped into a void of stagnation and pointless depression -which is his view on black metal- he makes up a genre that really only changes the intent.

The whole ideology reads like a freshman's philosophy paper that happened to overuse large words from a thesaurus. It's annoying, temped, and, quite frankly, ***ing stupid. Black Metal is known for its ridiculousness: some in the form of burning churches, others in the form of bloated ideologies. Ironically, as is always the case with hipsters, Liturgy fall into the latter genre staple. Needless to say, these guys aren't going to win any fans over from giving interviews. As a matter of fact, a quick search for “Liturgy interview” on YouTube nets you the douchiest, most pretentious interview I've ever seen (keep in mind that this is metal too), with nearly all votes being negative.

Lucky for them, their music happens to be pretty good. Even though they deny being a part of black metal (myspace.com/nybm what?), Liturgy's style of music clearly belongs under that umbrella. There's tremolo picking; there are shrieks; there are unrelenting drums. However, it would be remiss to say that there isn't anything fresh to be found within Aesthetica. Don't get me wrong, Hunter-Hendrix is still full of ***, but asides from being assholes and a few 'beginner' mistakes, Liturgy is definitely a band to keep your ear on.

Perhaps the most obvious and unique trait to Liturgy's brand on non-black metal are the almost math-rock tendencies. It's not Tera Melos' effortless dance of moving up and down the fret board, but Aesthetica contains many of that genre's stop-start rhythmic sections to create a refreshingly powerful assault. Tracks like 'Returner' and 'Generation' make excellent use of this unique blend to create something that is both unrelenting and, dare I say, groovy. 'Generation' is also one of the few instrumentals found on here and it highlights pretty much all of the positive aspects of the band. They have an amazing talent in being able to create interesting rhythms with downright epic chord progressions with lots of repetition but none of the tediousness.Seriously, there are some jaw-dropping moments on the record to be had: the aforementioned tracks, “Bronze Glory”, and “Harmonia” all do a great job of creating memorable black metal tunes that you might want to show that friend of yours who's jizzing over Bon Iver or something.

And the drumming. Oh god, the drumming. I still hold my doubts over whether or not the 'burst beat' will revolutionize the genre, but Greg Fox is one hell of a drummer. Rather than performing blast beats ad-nauseum like most black metal bands, his fills and beats feel organic, creative, and unrelenting. The math-y sections feel appropriately disorienting, but the tremolo riffs are surrounded by organic, building snare rolls and well executed increases and pauses in tempo. He might not be the greatest drummer in the metal scene, but his performance on here is definitely worth recognizing.

Then there's the negative aspects of Aesthetica. For one, there are some downright awful decisions found on here: the intro to the first track is a little grating; “Helix Skull” seems to be only present to prove that someone in the band can use Fruity Loops; and the chanting is head-scratchingly misplaced. I actually laughed when I heard the penultimate “Glass Earth” from how unnecessary it was, sounding like an unholy union of your high school fire alarm and ...monks. While the majority of the record is solid, songs like “Sun of Light” fail to ignite any sort of emotion and come off as filler. Also, Hunter-Hendrix's vocal aren't special, I guess.

Musically, Liturgy are on the right path. They are a young band with room to grow (this is only their second LP) and the quality, for the most part, is up there. It's 'hype' that people are going to have to get through: yes, Liturgy are pretentious douchenozzles; no, this is not the best album ever. However, writing them off is almost unfair because there is something worth listening to in Aesthetica. This very well may be the most unique variation of black metal in recent memory. While their sophomore effort reaches impressive heights, transcendence is still a long ways away.



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user ratings (220)
Chart.
3
good
other reviews of this album
1 of
  • Motoi (4.5)
    Intense, satisfying black metal from Brooklyn....

    Subrick (2)
    Black Metal: Art School Edition...

    rmill3r (3.5)
    Pretentious? Not trve fucking kvlt? Maybe. But still simultaneously beautiful and relentle...

    DarkNoctus CONTRIBUTOR (2)
    an album that tries too hard and as a result collapses under its own weight....

  • Otaku (5)
    Liturgy basically singlehandedly re-defined black metal....


Comments:Add a Comment 
Odal
May 25th 2011


350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Comments/suggestions/critiques welcome. I wrote this kinda quickly as a response to the '5'.

Proof these guys are awful people: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA_p2RLfpsk

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2011


8871 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

fairly accurate review despite me disagreeing that the music is any good, well written review. good job. pos.

Tyrael
May 25th 2011


20893 Comments


I would call this 'Black Metal Lite'. Good review. You might want to forge some of the smaller paraghraphs together so it reads a little better.

Hyperion1001
Staff Reviewer
May 25th 2011


18672 Comments


http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=kA_p2RLfpsk


Wow this guy is a giant doucher.

Digging: Execration (NOR) - Morbid Dimensions

NapalmDe4th
May 25th 2011


54 Comments


Haha, "I wrote a manifesto called Transcendental Black Metal" and here I was thinking Goat Vulva was the most absurd band on the black metal scene. Still, I just checked out "Returner" and that song was great (and how the hell is it not Black Metal?). I'm getting the sense that there's another genre-influence in the song, though you're absolutely right about math rock...can't quite pin-point it.

Thanks for the excellent review and letting me know what a dickhead this Hunter-Hendrix dude is. As much as I hate to say it, I'll probably end up enjoying their work.

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2011


8871 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

also I'd like to point out

"we don't make grim music, and we don't wear corpse paint" - HHH

http://userserve-ak.last.fm/serve/_/38127065/Liturgy+4065676547_e0c40a4b37.jpg

Tyrael
May 25th 2011


20893 Comments


At least he's wearing a Bathory t-shirt...

LIKE HE SHOULD

Xplisit
May 25th 2011


1646 Comments


yo fuck this hipster fag metal

ev0ken
May 25th 2011


586 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol that interview, the singer looks like Bill Hader in the movie hot rod and his voice was just...

Odal
May 25th 2011


350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

Edit: f*ckin double post

Odal
May 25th 2011


350 Comments

Album Rating: 3.5

lol I thought the same thing, ev0ken

Thanks for the positive feedback, all! I'll try and fix the paragraphs

robertsona
Staff Reviewer
May 25th 2011


15050 Comments


I think i would like this

Otaku
May 25th 2011


60 Comments

Album Rating: 5.0

I love how DarkNoctus uses my abbreviation for the singer (HHH)

DarkNoctus
Contributing Reviewer
May 25th 2011


8871 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

that's what everyone uses, pink fluffy bear :]

Mewcopa0
May 25th 2011


1800 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

ugh this band is getting way to much attention

astrel
May 25th 2011


2614 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0 | Sound Off

Vocals are so bland it really works against the rest of the music.

Digging: Jessie Ware - Tough Love

Xplisit
May 25th 2011


1646 Comments


one of the worst frontmen ever

Wizard
May 25th 2011


19502 Comments

Album Rating: 2.0

Damn good review!

Digging: Godflesh - A World Lit Only By Fire

Zion
May 25th 2011


812 Comments

Album Rating: 2.5

I want to rate this low based entirely on the interview, but of course that'd be silly. But I'm going to. Because unlike punching the lead singer repeatedly in the face, I can do this from the comfort of my chair.

Crysis
Staff Reviewer
May 25th 2011


16434 Comments

Album Rating: 1.5

These guys are fucking terrible. It's like the band members took a 100-level philosophy class at a community college, got a C-, and then talk as if they are Nietzsche. Plus their music sucks.

Digging: Swallowed - Lunarterial



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