Brooklyn, NY’s Liturgy (not to be confused with a Chicago death metal band of the same name) deal in a style of indie black metal steeped in the genre’s most basic foundations of buzzing, dissonant guitars and whirlwind percussion, and yet they demonstrate an acute ability to make the sound firmly their own, both modern and ancient. Liturgy’s unique take on the genre only slightly recalls their NYC friends Krallice and the earlier works of the Norwegian wolves Ulver (particularly their 3rd LP masterwork Nattens Madrigal). In some sense Liturgy represents the seeping of black metal into the consciousness of the indie music world at large. The band claim influences ranging from cult black metal figures Vlad Tepes to Angelo Badalamenti to Nusrat Fateh Ali Khan, all of whom can be distantly identified in Liturgy’s approach.
Renihilation is the band’s debut LP, following two demo tapes and a 12 inch, Immortal Life. The album weaves intricate waves of dissonant dual guitar riffing and complex blackened harmonics between main songwriter Hunter Hunt-Hendrix and second guitarist Bernard Gann. The strange tonalities they seamlessly create providing layers of eerie dimension over which Hendrix’s tortured howls battle to be heard. The ultra-chaotic yet superbly minimalist drumming of Greg Fox, utilizing only a kick, snare and crash symbols, adds a dose of old, raw punk/grind to the mix. Several intros and interludes consisting of vocal pieces and drones break the album up into distinct sections.
Renihilation was recorded and mastered at the Thousands Caves Of Menegroth with Colin Marston of Krallice at the helm. The purposely low-res minimalist artwork recalls the work of German photographer Thomas Ruff in both aesthetic and intent. A photograph of a total eclipse, a massive celestial event, its aura being subdued and defeated by the void the low resolution of the image leaves in its wake – an apt analogy for Liturgy’s ecstatic sonic experiments.