I tend not to read band interviews, promo blurb or pay any real attention to music news but even in my murky cave I can smell the shit that's been slung at LITURGY. Looking at the way they look and listening to the way they play I suppose it's understandable, As for whether the band is actually Black Metal, well that's an argument for those that give a fuck.
For me, the primary consideration for a piece of music is; does it move me? In the case of “Aesthetica” it's a definite yes, moved in what way though? Well whilst their second album doesn't have quite the same arc-weld intensity of “Renihilation” it certainly shines, in fact only the fear of ridicule stops me referring to this as LED Black Metal. Much of the exuberance remains, the sodium skitter that prevails when LITURGY are at full pelt brings Midsummer into a genre that can dwell too much on ice wanking and the womb of gloom. I suppose being young guns allows for their devil may care attitude because if the prismatic approach to Black Metal doesn't have some pulling their hair out, the incorporation of jittery slabs of Mathy Metal will send them apoplectic.
I have to say that “Aesthethica” has moments were even my supportive mien is strained with mild consternation at some of LITURGY's antics, foremost of which are the appreciable number of moments where the band adopt said Math approach and the annoying acapella bray of “Glass Earth.” In fairness, such dissatisfaction pales somewhat when the album is taken as a whole and I'm aware that some of the band's contemporaries may be more supportive at their attempts at diversification. The bulk of this work though relies on the trade mark blinding brilliance of LITURGY's sparkfest where fireworks dazzle in daylight, if the Health & Safety bods get wind of “Aesthethica” the wearing of welders goggles will be mandatory for the listener.
The band are at their most effective when they are blazing along with shrill abandon, a frenzied mix of glass and helium, the guitars sound fragile but like strands of silk belie their own strength, the effect is uplifting and, as before, there is a strong sense of the spiritual about many of these songs. Whilst the guitar rides the jet stream, the bass and drums are well and truly rooted to terra firma, the former wobbles like some bloater having fun with a jigger-pick and the drums are more thud than clatter. The more down to earth instruments have a gravitational effect that prevents the guitars flying off into the stratosphere and by and large they match the varying tempos, in effect they give you something to grab on to, where as you would lose fingers grasping for the guitars.
Once again LITURGY seem to be teasing the listener over the concept of their work, the cover art more than suggests it, I never read lyrics but I'd imagine there will be as much ambiguity with them as there is with the sound. On face value “Aesthethica” reaches for the heavens but I suspect that the band's intent isn't as black and white as the cover, to me this is of no consequence, it's the music that matters, mind you at my age the message isn't as important as it tends to be with you young spunk bubbles. I think we can all rejoice together when LITURGY are at their most incendiary, it's hard not to feel uplifted by the sheer primitive shimmering energy that courses along like lightning that's had all its forks removed.
With today's technology, it's easy to pare off the parts of an album you don't like. I'm going to take the knife to “Aesthethica,” that's still going to leave me with the best part of an hours music with which to recharge. The review score sums up my opinion but I'll accept that this is an album that's just great or just grates.
(Online July 8, 2011)