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Liturgy - Renihilation (8,5/10) - USA - 2009

Genre: Black Metal
Label: 20 Buck Spin
Playing time: 38:40
Band homepage: Liturgy


  1. Untitled
  2. Pagan Dawn
  3. Mysterium
  4. Untitled
  5. Ecstatic Rite >mp3
  6. Arctica
  7. Untitled
  8. Beyond The Magic Forest
  9. Untitled
  10. Behind The Void
  11. Renihilation
Liturgy - Renihilation

“Renihilation” is the aural equivalent of a runaway bulldozer in a glass factory. Shattered shards fly everywhere whistling a razorwire symphony over the rumble of caterpillar tracks as some wretch shrieks out in dismay. What more do you need to know?

Well, that description could point to a number of bands, so some clarification may help. LITURGY are basically a Black Metal solar flare, they represent an antithesis to most who cavort within the genre, where finding the shadows is the primary aim. Here you are bedazzled by lasers that leave your retinas smoking and a bottom end that will have your ears ringing with tinnitus. It's clear that another black splinter has pinged from the ebon pole to be carried off in another new direction, ready to get under the skin of those it encounters.

The thing that smacks you in the mouth like a wet kipper is the exuberance that lifts the playing, it's obviously fuelled by youth and so is full of not giving the flying fucks, there is a confidence, almost a cockiness, that rules are there to be ignored and so if LITURGY's take on the genre doesn't meet with your approval, it's your loss. This is brittleness tied to a sun beam, Earth-bound to pierce through the thunderheads and so give contrast of light to the dark storm that underpins the scour of the guitar. Melody is shredded like bird-strike through a jet engine to form a red mist that seems fragile and ephemeral when in fact it is a cloud of crimson ice capable of removing skin from bone. The speed with which this rain of refracted light needles down is unrelenting, factor 50 is a must, staccato searing that is ultimately uplifting and capable of keeping the dark at bay.

Whilst some aim for destruction and demise “Renihilation” destroys to bring about re-birth, it certainly breaks down Black Metal to molecular level and then mutates its DNA to engender a new beastie that is recognisable yet that functions in a wholly different manner. Simplicity is the key, though subtle shades provide some depth, despite the light show there is introspection and uncertainty which is briefly manifest before enthusiasm wells up again and drowns it. The guitar may cast a filigree fire but beneath there is a percussive onslaught that has all the finesse of an elephant ballet, the drums pummel as if Dennis Hopper has rigged the kit to explode if it drops below Fasty McFast's recommended BPM, not only that but they take a leaf out of Thuddy McThuds book on how to sound both muffled and raw as well as clatteringly clear at the same time. Despite the sonic assault, there is a hint of free form to the drumming as rips and rolls frequently punctuate the blasts to add a manic intelligence to the fury.

Given that grim and frostbitten is a land far, far away, what atmosphere does “Reinihilation” convey? The band themselves describe themselves as Transcendental Black Metal and I think the cap fits, certainly in the celestial sense. Whilst the pace of these tracks predominantly reach escape velocity, they also soar and glide, sub-melodies instil a joie de vivre and on a occasion nearly rip your rapidly pumping heart out such as the oxygen-in-the-explosive-range snatch of something that evokes “Nights In White Satin” you'll find buried in here or the frequent surges of exhilaration found throughout. Even the wraith-shriek vocals can't diminish the positive nature of this album, they verge on the redundant for the most part as they tend to form part of the instrumentation rather than providing a narrative, they hint at desperation but could just as easily embody the sense that the force of this music might just turn around and bite them.

“Reinihilation” is an asteroid strike out of nowhere, it's an overwhelming and otherworldly planet buster that has smashed through Black Metal's crust. What they'll find in the crater when the dust settles is anybody's guess.

(Online November 24, 2009)

Niall MacCartney

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