The most exciting part of listening to metal is finding a band that is willing to push boundaries without losing their edge. Over the past decade, it would be difficult to argue that any single band within the confines of the genre has done this more effectively than Liturgy. Billed as “transcendental black metal” the group flirts with music techniques that are almost completely unheard of in metal. Everything from glitched out electronics to flutes and hip-hop beats can be heard on this record, sometimes within the same song.
Now, I won’t pretend to fully understand the narrative that Liturgy and Hunter Hunt-Hendrix are trying to weave throughout this album. Even looking at what few lyrics there are, all one can glean is hints of themes. But even without context, the album rings out as a searingly original work from one of the brightest voices in metal.
But were there themes that I had to take a stab at, they are clearly themes of transformation and change. This guess is not without consideration. Earlier this year Hendrix took the bold step of coming out as a trans-woman. Given the dangers the trans community faces on a regular basis, this is always a bold choice, but to do so as a prominent figure within the metal community (a place that is not always known for its tolerant fanbases) is a revelatory decision, and her newfound freedom in her public identity has pushed her music even further into the realm of impossibility. We are not dealing with a band that does interesting things with metal. We are dealing with a band that is shattering boundaries and expectations in every way possible.
I’m not speaking in hyperbole when I say that Liturgy is singlehandedly redefining the perception of how music can be created and experienced. Yes, at the end of the day it is still music that comes out of your speakers and headphones like anything else. It is not trying to be Zaireeka, or something that approaches the format in a new way. No, this is a raw, violent, triumphant bolt of lightning that captures the spirit of countless genres and compresses them into a singular diamond. It will tear open your mind and reassemble it, regardless of how much music you’ve experienced. There is nothing like this, there may never be anything like it again.