Editors' pick

Liturgy

Metal
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Editorial Review

LITURGY
Album review: "Aesthethica"

Liturgy has carved out an odd niche for itself. The Brooklyn quartet plays a very specialized brand of music — black metal — yet has managed to become largely reviled within that small community. Some say that’s because the band doesn’t strictly adhere to the genre’s classic sound. Others see Liturgy frontman Hunter Hunt-Hendrix as a pretentious brat. But those squabbles are best left to Internet message boards. Liturgy’s new album, “Aesthetica,” is best simply played very loud.

The full-bodied assault within “True Will” and “Glory Bronze” — all bursting rhythms, hyperspeed guitars and incomprehensible, ear-piercing shrieks — sounds mighty sinister on first listen, but the songs soon reveal themselves to be uniquely uplifting. The result is both bone-crushing and spine-tingling. Whether the band members are racing against themselves to create the speediest thrash possible (spoiler alert: it’s a race that drummer Greg Fox always wins) or are settling into thundering, riff-based monsters, there’s a lightness to the extremely heavy proceedings.

Near the end of the album comes “Glass Earth,” an unexpected 3 1/2 minutes of only vocal intonations. As more layers are added to the mix it becomes a meditative, almost hymnal chant. It leads directly into the closing track, “Harmonia,” which returns to ear-splitting mayhem, but without losing the sense of tranquillity.

— David Malitz, July 1, 2011