Liturgy is part of what may be referred to the new school of hipster black metal. Sure this is an unfair assessment in reality but when Xasthur gets noted time and again on Pitchfork of all places it may benefit to note what type of black metal each release is. So in any case, Liturgy is from Brooklyn and they delve into a style of black metal laced with nods to industrial music. This is an interesting idea in one sense as it very obviously bucks against the true school, lo-fi, kvlt style of black metal. While it would be easy to appreciate it just from that sense it fails to truly capture what is going on here on this LP.
Liturgy makes use of their production tools using noise and feedback to build various interludes and an introduction. While these things do help to build atmosphere, they also tend to trade any momentum from song to song for the atmosphere. This can prove interesting as a lot of black metal has a certain dark atmosphere. Unfortunately these noise pieces consistently fail in truly building an atmosphere for the listener.
On the other hand, the actual songs have a strong edge. Yes it is generally black metal but it carries a wash of white noise under each song making it more noisy and creepy. Along with this there is the fierce hoarse vocals that propel everything as well. The band uses a few production tricks starting some songs with a more lo-fi sound then building into a fully produced and cleaner sound. The down side in one sense is that there is very little in tension and release in the songs themselves. The band seems to rely on the industrial soundscapes of the interludes to give the listener a reprieve. This in effect creates a huge blur of blastbeats and staccato riffing between each interlude.
Generally 20 Buck Spin has a strong sense of packaging and presentation. Unfortunately they sent nothing in the way of that to go with this release. I find this upsetting solely because this type of music lends itself to a certain type of artwork to help relay the atmosphere of the music. So beyond my personal issues with that everything is produced clearly the album cover is interesting and helps to show a visual interpretation of the soundscapes within.
Generally speaking here we get a very strong album ideally. The band is clearly very talented but doesn't entirely capture their skill by relying on blastbeats and other black metal convention. Liturgy could cross over throughout the metal way in a huge way. This of course would require the band to cease their fear of building broader structure in their songs. Till then Liturgy have built an angry blur of black metal.
7.8 / 10
Posted Feb. 25, 2015, 9:45 a.m.
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