20 Buck Spin

Heady and drunk on the freedom inherent in unfettered noise, Liturgy lets loose a primal scream of heretical sound that is just as informed by Swans and Big Black and No Wave as Wolves in the Throne Room, Krallice, and Shining. Renihilation is what happens when the black metal style is unmoored from any nationalist, political or religious considerations and left to roam wild and free.

Of course, that’s not to say that Liturgy’s New York City surroundings and obviously catholic (no, not that way) record collections didn’t influence and encourage the strangely beautiful ambient pieces and near-choral vocal hymns (the first track even reminds me of NON a little) that serve as conceptual threads linking the songs. The actual “songs” are gloriously loud and violent; born from primitive 4-track experiments, the sound has filled out incredibly to a host of panicked, grabbing hands with grime-caked nails and guttural, alchemical roars. Every instrument is soaked in reverb, bleeding all over one other. Spidery lead guitar drips and flows into the cracks between lurching stop-start rhythms. Guitars are detuned and abused in a manner befitting Sonic Youth more than Darkthrone and the whole album hinges on this gorgeously disordered axis of depression and loneliness. This might be the beginning of black metal’s next phase. Even here, in art there is still hope.

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