You probably noticed that we experimented with an Editor’s Score for the past few Premature Evaluations. The feedback we received suggested these Stereogum ratings weren’t necessary, or necessarily what people liked about PE, so we decided to chop them. We’ve kept the Stereogum Readers’ Rating, though, so you can offer your feedback both via comments and a vote.
Liturgy’s second album (and third release) Aesthethica, the followup to 2009’s Renihilation, finds Brooklyn “black metal” quartet harnessing, refining, and expanding upon their considerable live energy, creating an exhilarating, cathartic, at times overwhelming, and ultimately moving records. The dozen songs offer a nonstop buzz or drone, a kind of harsh, but embracing experimental explosion, a real-time transcendent loop. Vocalist/guitarist Hunt-Hendrix mixes passages of soothing trance-like raga-esque vocal chants with BM howls. Drummer Greg Fox, one of the most compelling drummers in underground music, nimbly destroys his very bare-bones kit. Bassist Tyler Dusenbury and second guitarist Bernard Gann strum/pick for their lives. The chaos has a center via a complex spiritual and philosophical integrity: “Cycling through the fundamental modes of being: stasis, chaos, repetition and entelechy, Aesthethica is a metaphorical exercise in affirmation.” And, as Hendrix sings on “True Will”: “Floating upwards / Lungs filling up with air / As God inhales me / Into the impossible / I wave a sad goodbye /To each newly conquered territory,” etc. At times you’ll hear Lightning Bolt. Other times Glenn Branca. The entire Table Of The Elements catalog playing at once. So, is it metal? Is it punk? Something else entirely? The group’s ambitious genre-hopping has resulted in a lot of debate and derision on web boards: This is not “tr00″ black metal. Are they hipsters? What the fuck is Hendrix singing/talking about? The debate will be ongoing, and remains pretty pointless: It’s more helpful tossing tags out the window, focusing on the music, and holding on for Aesthethica’s wild ride. It’s the kind of music that’ll shift your insides.
Aesthethica is out 5/10 via Thrill Jockey.
Now that you’ve voted, here’s the Zev Deans-directed video for “Returner.”