Tuesday, January 5, 2010
Liturgy (USA) - Renihilation (2009)
1. - 01:54
2. Pagan Dawn 05:47
3. Mysterium 04:43
4. - 00:57
5. Ecstatic Rite 04:43
6. Arctica 04:40
7. - 01:51
8. Beyond The Magic Forest 03:24
9. - 02:19
10. Behind The Void 04:18
11. Renihilation 04:04
Total playing time 38:40
I never ever thought I'd say, "now here's an album with intensity comparable to The Inalienable Dreamless," and I really didn't think it'd be a black metal album. But here it is. Wait, what? What's that? Woah... I wonder if they'll ever create a James Bond movie with a fitting title for the masses of Discordance Axis fanboys/girls shouting "bite your fucking tongue!" Don't get me wrong, guys, 'cause Renihilation is a wholesomely different kind of deal. The Inalienable Dreamless is condensed, claustrophobic, atom-grade and absolute, while Renihilation is a loose, free-form swarm drone, an explosion with a life of its own, a total annihilation of nothing, an exnihilating contradiction, non-negating of one another.
Guitarist, vocalist, and bandleader Hunter Hunt-Hendrix presents a fairly different kind of black metal. Although somewhat comparable (in the realms of the genre) to Ulver on Nattens Madrigal (says on the press release, too) for the old, and perhaps Krallice (who they predate, technically) for the young, Liturgy sounds nothing like either of those in the end. According to the myspace page, their influences range from Gerard Grisey to the Swans, featuring generally prominent avant-garde, minimalist, contemporary, spectral composers, and Vlad Tepes (Les Légions Noires). While Tyler Dusenbury's bass is rarely and barely audible, Bernard Gann's and Hunt-Hendrix's riffs are interwoven in such an organic way that one might lose sight of the start, end, time, rhythm, if not careful, making for a progressive and liberating drone of ascending tremolo melodies colliding in massive booms. Greg Fox is the Mitch Mitchell of blastbeats, unrelated to the last name / pseudonym (?) of Hunter. His drumming is a nothing short of absolutely goddamn amazing burst of the rawest, most delicate blastbeats, not intersected but symbiotic with fills akin to cascades in the river-like flow, and sudden breaks, waterfalls, where the whole world plunges into nothing and everything. He blasts with a groove, a technique more reminiscent of jazz than of metal, a somewhat oscillating chaos-constant on the tiny, very minimalist set consisting of a crash, a ride, a snare, and a double bass (this I assume), although he does the job just as nicely - and apparently more than often - with one bass drum (this I saw on youtube). The band rises into a tight, naturally magnetic bundle, culminating, climaxing almost infinitely just to finally lose their relevant properties debilitated of disappointment and unfulfillment, only to rise again, like waves surging on the tide, ebbing away, forever attempting to transcend the familiar shore.
I feel like my description thus far lacked concrete imagery, so imagine two to three film frames of a woodland bombardment looping at about 200FPS, getting subtly faster - that's right, faster - leaves and branches forcefully swinging away, blinding light and scorching heat seeping through the trees like the wind from Sheol. You are in the film. You are / it is only looping, yet you can't help but feel like it's coming closer and closer, faster and faster, impending apocalypse revelation. After the first untitled track - an eerie, sublime chant building-up into collapse - a blast of the beginning and the end turns you into a deer caught in the ghastly gaze of monstrous incoming LKW headlights, a havoc that can never settle, only reignite from the inside just to destroy itself again and again and again, so joyous that it can die and live and die forever. Moments later, have you understood? - gave in, withered away, unexisted, re-existed, re-exploded, died, un-died - saw the answer somewhere in the implosion of nothingness, like vacuum negating vacuum, but actually much simpler. Because sci-fi writers are obviously the smartest people in the world, I'll let an old and famous one do the explaining; namely, according to Isaac Asimov, we absolutely do exist, we have to exist, the same way that we don't have to exist, because of basic mathematical reasoning, the specific way that we can write a zero equation, e.g. -1 + 1 = 0. It matters because it is the same, equal, twin-truth to zero plusminus zero, 0 ± 0 = 0, nothing equating nothing, when it is actually everything that equates to nothing, everything that is nothing. Ex nihilo nihil fit, out of nothing comes nothing - out of nothing comes everything, creatio ex nihilo - all the same, because 0 ± 0 = -1 + 1 = ∞ ± ∞. There cannot "be" anything but nothing and everything, because nonexistence constitutes existence, and everything cannot "be" without nothing, therefore nothingness is not possible without something(ness), thus all there is is everything, converging at a point in the middle of the existential contrast, the droning God-loop equilibrium, the circle of life.
On an individual level, Liturgy sounds/looks/represents man as a witch moth twitching frantically on her earthly deathbed with final ripples of strength - ending, transcending, beginning - with crystally lucid interludes where chanting pagan men exit their trance-state pounding the dead, tough, trembling skin of some magnificent animal, only to spiritually explode again and again and again / re-enter with euphoric blasts of spirited, ecstatic, soul-tearing black metal aural embodiment of the elusive forest, natural panic euphoria, lost in total solitude and alienation and togetherness and oneness with everything at the same time - no ego, no pride, flickering sanity, and a spark of genius.
Album of the year, for sure. (Mediafire) Released on 20 Buck Spin.
EDIT: Not sure about that "no ego" part, but Renihilation still kicks ass. You know me as excessively self-indulgent, funky, and inane in all these "reviews", anyhow. Might / might not pertain to the actual music.
Just a photo that I liked from Liturgy's myspace page.