Review Summary: I still don't know what HAQQ means and I've never met this OIOION guy before but they both seem rad
Liturgy has always been masterful in creating contrasts. There have been contrasts in the music itself (black metal, trap music, classical), contrasts in the fan base (trve and not trve) and contrasts in identity and spirituality (pre-2020 Hunt Hendrix and 2020 Hunt Hendrix). This theme of contrast has become a main part of the identity of Liturgy and is quite poetic if thought about holistically beyond Origin of the Alimonies. Edgar Allan Poe once suggested that ‘never to suffer would never to have been blessed’ which is contrasting in itself. Liturgy in its strides has fostered suffering at several points in its career but now we find ourselves blessed with recent releases inclusive of this album. I would take a step further and suggest that Origin of the Alimonies may yet be Liturgy’s most refined, sophisticated, sensitive, and radical form to date and that again we are blessed with its release.
Liturgy have described this release as its most meticulous and radical statement to date. They say that it represents ‘their characteristic synthesis between black metal, minimalism, experimental club music, and 19th-century romanticism to new extremes’. Perhaps I’m not smart enough to even begin to fully appreciate what a task it must be to combine all those things or rather find those things post-creation but I am smart enough to understand that this self-description is very fitting for Liturgy. Furthermore i am smart enough to understand that it has translated to something that is truly wonderful with this latest release.
Burstbeats, frenetic tremolo, and Hunt-Hendrix’s wailing are all still present and continue to form a large part of what Liturgy is sonically. In Liturgy’s previous work these chaotic passages were defined as paragraphs whereas their latest work refines these more as full stops. These sections of fast, jerky, and aggressive pace are now shorter, less frequent, and are used to maximum effect to capitulate the slower and intimate areas that define a large part of Origin of the Alimonies.
Utilising what feels like a symphony, Hunt-Hendrix has crafted emotions previously unbeknownst to Liturgy. Perhaps this is the new extreme of 19th century romanticism talking but feelings of suspense, stress, and foreboding are effectively created through delicate arrangements of strings, horns, woodwind instruments, and piano as evident in OIOION’s Birth, Lonely OIOION, and the Fall of SIHEYMN. Conversely, and perhaps this is the French post-structuralism talking but feelings of joy and beauty are similarly created to great effect through those same instruments and arrangements such as what is found in the opening track, The Separation of HAQQ from HAEL.
Cumulatively these intertwined sections of varying speed and style have been crafted together and operate as a cohesive unit. They play off one another and create genuine moments of joy, stupor, and suspense in their transitions that unfold before us in this album without much issue such as in The Armistice. Strange audio-glitches similar to those in H.A.Q.Q. are present once again (also see The Armistice), but this time to such a lesser extent that they are forgettable if not annoying. Nevertheless, these glitches alone are drowned out by the consistent high quality of each song that they feature in and on balance don’t serve to detract much from the overall album.
Of course, it would not be a true Liturgy release without some strange oddity making its way into a song. SIHEYMN’s Lament reintroduces an ‘experimental club’ flavour that was previously met with laughter in The Ark Work and PASAQALIA II. The difference this time around is that it works and works well. After approximately a minute of Hunt-Hendrix’s wailing over claps, triangles, and a bass more appropriate as 808 samples the song goes through a string and fluted transition back into heavier, uplifting, and almost religious burstbeats all set amongst a backdrop aura of softer strings. Following this, the song continues to evolve into a slow and absolutely filthy riff towards the end of the song which makes this the overall standout track on the Origin of the Alimonies.
Hunt-Hendrix must be commended for her fervour in which she approaches Liturgy with. Whilst some more of the zany ideas that have come before have not worked fantastically, the ideas present in their latest work are cohesive. More importantly they cumulatively create a unique progressive experience that should not be overlooked. Where H.A.Q.Q marked a successful blend of all prior experimentation of Liturgy (disregarding PASAQALIA II that was released shortly afterwards) Origin of the Alimonies marks a further maturation of these ideas in an overall positive direction.