Liturgy - Aesthethica

“High Gold” is the blistering opening track from Liturgy’s second album (and third release) Aesthethica, the followup to 2009′s Renihilation. (Full disclosure: I’ve booked a couple shows with Liturgy — once with KRIEG, once with Mount Eerie — and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix contributed to an art project of mine.) The Brooklyn quartet’s been a favorite live band for the past couple years: Aesthethica harnesses and refines that in-person energy, resulting in one of the year’s most exhilarating, cathartic, ultimately moving records. It’s a nonstop buzz or drone, a kind of harsh experimental explosion: Hunt-Hendrix mixes trance-like vocal chants with black metal howls and drummer Greg Fox destroys his kit while bassist Tyler Dusenbury and second guitarist Bernard Gann strum/pick for their lives. As mentioned, it’s exciting seeing American punk going places like this. Or American black metal going this route. Or….? Whatever the label, at a time when too many underground (etc.) bands seem more concerned with scenes and celebrity than honesty or soul, Liturgy create music with heart, forward motion, beauty, a strange power. It also taps the spiritual. As the guys note via their press release, “Cycling through the fundamental modes of being: stasis, chaos, repetition and entelechy, Aesthethica is a metaphorical exercise in affirmation.” (If Dan Higgs had a black metal band…) We’re told “High Gold”’s their vision of the apocalypse. Listen:


01 “High Gold”
02 “True Will”
03 “Returner”
04 “Generation”
05 “Tragic Laurel”
06 “Sun Of Light”
07 “Helix Skull”
08 “Glory Bronze”
09 “Veins Of God”
10 “Red Crown”
11 “Glass Earth”
12 “Harmonia”

Aesthethica is out 5/10 via Thrill Jockey. You can hear a second track, “Returner” at Soundcloud. Another helpful text chunk that cites Vangelis, Lightning Bolt, Glenn Branca, and Sleep, among other things:

The record is a unified whole. A major concern, sonically and lyrically, is the question of what it is to be meaningful, and how intensity relates to emotion or affect. Many of the songs activate and manipulate cliches relating to heroism, tragedy, hope, and so on by connecting black metal techniques to the spirit of film score writing (Vangelis, Badalamenti) and post-Romanticism (Scriabin, Sibelius). “High Gold” presents a vision of apocalypse, “Harmonia” presents a judgment on the meaning of life, and so on. The resulting collection of songs, at once, embodies and transcends these tropes. The music is supersaturated with lofty melodies and lyrics, bursting with frenzied execution, and builds to a boiling point of chaos, distorting all meaning and distilling to reveal the raw core of pure sonic joy. Liturgy surrounds these fractured islands of meaning with a sea of a-signifying ritual repetition and sound (Branca, Sleep, Lightning Bolt). Tear at the seams of the straitjacket of ordinary life, release the energy from the field of potentiality that it binds, enter the realm of the good and the beautiful, so commands Aesthethica.

Liturgy Promo 2011

Comments (10)
  1. Also, like if Rhys Chatham were in a metal band. Are these guys marathon runners? They keep up a pace that’s so fast I would expect them to literally break their necks. I need a cool-down just listening to it. Thanks as usual for the exposure, Brandon.

  2. I could see the apocalypse sounding like that. Also, are you going to post a story on trap them any time? I’ve been looking forward to that album and i see it’s on the heavy rotation list… i assume it’s you who’s listening to it lol

  3. Seems major-key Krallice-y to me. And a bit more percussive given the 3rd minutes Morse code section. Interest piqued…

  4. This is kind of off-topic, but I figured Brandon might know. I hear a lot of new takes on Black Metal and new takes on Black Sabbath / Budgie / Deep Purple style doom metal. Are there any newer thrash-sounding metal bands? There has to be a few artists still taking on the mantle of thrash a la early Metallica / Coroner / Exodus. Even if they suck, I’m just curious.

    • Lazarus A.D., Bonded by Blood, Warbringer, Revocation. Like you said, i don’t know if they’re all that good, but they are definitely modern thrash bands.

      • Cool, thanks. I will have to check them out and see if they are any good. Warbringer is a sorta cool name.

        • You could also check out Mantic Ritual, Violator, Municipal Waste, Vindicator, etc. I’m posting some “blackened thrash” later today. I tend to prefer that stuff.

  5. this is awesome. i saw them at whartscape two summers ago and literally didnt know what to think, it was such a crazy performance. they seemed transfixed or something. really excited to hear this album

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