An eclipse – for many cultures, a symbol of terror and transformation – is an appropriate image for this New York-based black metal act. Their seething, caustic sound ripples and sloughs off the death, thrash and punk roots of the genre and launches skyward into the expansive realms of drone and post-rock – and then, like a comet (yet another harbinger of doom and suffering), it hurtles earthward again with frightening force. Of course, minimalism and atmosphere are nothing new to black metal, but Liturgy deconstructs and attacks the genre with a clattery post-modern ferocity. It also doesn’t hurt that they’re coming out of the same scene and studio (The Thousand Caves) that brought us last year’s excellent Krallice debut. So how does that indie cred and ambition work out?

In this reviewer’s estimation, not terribly well. Renihilation comes off to me like someone’s taken Nattens Madrigal, Babelfished it and wound up with… something else. If you’re not familiar with the term, Babelfish is the web app that lets you translate a block of text from one language to another – and then back again, if you want. Try going from English to Korean to English again. You’ll frequently wind up with some truly inspired phrases and off-kilter reinterpretations, but you’ll also wind up with a lot of mess and noise. That’s what this album felt like to me.

It’s not that there’s a lack of musical talent involved, either. There are some tumultuous, jagged riffs stretched out along the extended compositions, like untwisted strands of barbed wire struggling to recoil themselves. And the drumming is at once precise and spastically frenetic, frequently changing up blastbeat tempos multiple times at a moment’s notice. However, there’s the matter of the tremolo riffs, which are pitched super-high and drenched in feedback, seemingly going for a hypnotic effect but striking a histrionic note instead. There’s the vocals – pained, yowling and fittingly half-buried in the mix – but they’re so staccato and haphazard that they barely seem tethered to the music. And there’s the compositions themselves, which are progressive and protean, but also a chore to sit through. In a live setting, I’m sure the sound and fury of Renihilation is formidable, but it doesn’t translate to a listening experience I’d care to repeat again.

Basically, I’d recommend this to people who find Wolves in the Throne Room too pretty or who find Krallice too structured and clinical. Some of you may find Liturgy to be the next big thing, to be a daring and post-modern take on black metal – but I found them to be dangerously close to parody.

[Visit the band's website]
Written by Jordan Itkowitz
September 22nd, 2009


  1. Commented by: Erik Thomas

    I actually really dug this- the melodies are so chaotically epic

  2. Commented by: Juan Pinto

    Hi Itkowitz… I babel fished your review from English to Korean and then from Korean back to English… hilarious! It doesn’t make much sense but I found it more entertaining than the original.
    Here it is:

    Is cool and – fear many culture, respects a symbol and a transfer – puts a base in this New York and is an image which is suitable for the metal act. Dead of style and firing, hitting and shoots and the dog tree root falls and at their upper direction, again by horrible force swarms the causticity in expansibility territory of the ripple which is healthy and sloughs pilotless plane and the post rock – comes after that, like the comet (with fate undergoing, on the other hand the pioneer,), earthward rushes. Justly, minimalism and the atmosphere metal to the sword is the soldier, the worship deconstructs attacks a style but to clattery poster modernism brutalities. It is coming out and also the stew D five (thousand oysters) brings Krallice stages which last year are excellent and in compliance with scene them who are identical in us. In order to exercise consequently cred the indie and ambition is how? The unit only from opinion of this critic the well. Is Renihilation who and like in me to have Nattens Madrigal, Babelfished it falls and comes,… Gets a comfort hurt with the something else. Is not familiar in this duration of you and in case, Babelfish wants your this in case, from this 1 language of you also again to return after web app – that does to make translate the block of text different one. English goes to English again with from the Korean language test. You to fall and a good condition reinterpretations the phrase which has become frequently true rubber with some and comfort wind, will relax with sound arresting the congestion where you also are many but comfort. It is this album what which comes to feel in like me. Is which side the intelligence which is the tribe of the musical talent which is included is not. In order to withdraw price their oneself who the thorn wire which fights hard comes loose according to long time composition, stretched together at the outside some is noisy, there is a zigzag riff. And under accuracy spastically enthusiastic next, blastbeat beat multiple time was high immediately in notice of moment and to beat a drum, side with changed frequently. Super-high where but, the situation pitches and at tremolo riff which is and the substitution surface respects a mesmerism effect going, but defect [ppek] is making wet from the opinion which hits a player week. Is, gives suitably, a pain and barks long sadly from mixture and anti-vocals where is not buried – – every [e] puts but barely in music and they quite staccato and are rash. And progressive and is protean, composition their oneself also from first until end is a chores will sit. Renihilation sound and rage are strong from the regulation which is living and the thing, goes out but in order again to repeat will worry and positive with the experience which listens does not translate the thing is. Basically, is too pretty the wolf which is in the throne room seeks and puts up, or, as the presence at a sickbed which is too constructed Krallice seeks, will recommend this in the people. In you some in order to be to be big afterwords, in order to be a poster modernism capture which in the black metal is bold and peerless seeks a worship and is good and – thing second degree rock that (thing) will imitate but clumsy dangerously will listen, gets near and seeks.

  3. Commented by: gabaghoul

    It is coming out and also the stew D five (thousand oysters). Indeed.

    Well played.

  4. Commented by: Dimaension X

    These guys are more in the vein of experimental and minimal black metal, very much meant to be harsh and abrasive – they’re not trying to be melodic at all – more like spontaneously improvised and noisy.

    But it can get to be a bit too much if you’re expecting Dimmu or Marduk.

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