If someone was to ask me whether Renihilation
was a black metal album my response would be “sort of.” Renihilation
is a hard album to pin down, the sound is clearly rooted in black metal, the harsh vocals, tremolo picked guitars and poor production are all here in great amounts however there’s much more going on here than the freshest batch of gauntlet wearing Darkthrone
Liturgy’s sound is quite unique within the black metal world. On first glance the sound appears to be incredibly chaotic, songs seem to lack structures, vocals don’t really have any rhythm and drums are incredibly fast. It all seems chaotic and unorganized. However upon further glance the music isn't as chaotic as it first appeared. Liturgy are very careful in how they've structured their songs, balancing the right amount of chaotic intensity with an odd sense of structure. Songs are all based upon a single idea, nothing ever feels out of place, songs are wonderfully organic, constantly flowing and never feeling mechanical. Even when the band engages in one of frequent blasting sections they keep controlled. The drumming in particular is very precise, ranging from extremely fast blast beating to more unorthodox patterns. That
word right there describes this album perfectly; unorthodox.
Liturgy has deconstructed black metal to its bare essentials and rebuilds it into something familiar whilst pushing the extremity factors to the top. The guitar tone is impossibly abrasive, often causing the album to appear as nothing but a jumbled mess of chaotic noise. The vocals are a high pitched wailing shriek that remains constant throughout the album. Seemingly without lyrics, the vocals work incredibly well when mixed with the surrounding chaos. The production values of this album work incredibly well with the vocals, pushing them back behind the guitar they sound as though a demon is shrieking out from an impossibly thick layer of mist.
Yet even with the overall savageness of delivery there’s no real ugliness about this. Sure it’s impossibly harsh but the guitars are quite mournful, occasionally uplifting, lacking much of if not all of the darkness that traditional black metal embodies. If you are familiar with my taste then you should know that this is a ringing endorsement in my mind, I’m always looking for new music that pushes the boundaries of black metal and Liturgy provide a good example of forward thinking and emotionally engaging black metal.
Song structures are quite minimalistic, mainly comprised of fast paced guitars that drone on and on with very little variation to be found and drums played at a frequently frantic pace. This results in the album blurring together so as to form one long, monolithic composition. There’s very little variation between tracks if any as each song flows smoothly into each other carrying on the ideas established by the previous track. The untitled tracks, whilst breaking this album up somewhat never defer from the overall flow of the album. Instead, they feel like natural progressions of each individual song, never out of place and always sitting smoothly in the music.
Whilst I am hesitant to label this as “transcendental” as Hunter
would undoubtedly want me to do so, there is admittedly something quite experimental about this album. Although I wouldn't argue that this is a reformation of black metal as the overall sound isn't as out there as one would lead you to believe, it is different. I don’t think I've come across another black metal album that has the kind of atmosphere that this one emulates. It’s really very strange, sounding inhuman, clinical, chaotic yet oddly comforting and even warm. It’s a strange mix and one that serves the music very well.
is a very strong album, it’s certainly not exactly ground breaking but it explores some new ground in the style. It adds more onto the black metal framework in terms of atmosphere and compositions of the overall songs. It’s suitably modern and really rather interesting. If you’re immune to the pretentious self indulgence of Hunter
Hunt Hendrix then Renihilation
is well worth checking out if you’re looking for some forward thinking black metal.