For the uninitiated, Liturgy’s yearning, life-affirming music exists in an uncanny space between avant rock, black metal, fine art and shamanic ritual. The band began as the solo project of Hunter Hunt-Hendrix, who remains the sole songwriter and conceptual architect. Since 2009, he has been joined by guitarist Bernard Gann, bassist Tyler Dusenbury and force-of-nature drummer, Greg Fox, who performed earlier this year with Ben Frost as part of our ‘Supersonic Presents’ series.
Their fervid and cohesive live presence, in particular Fox’s unorthodox and dynamic drumming, quickly earned them a following both in the global metal underground and the Brooklyn art punk scene. Controversy erupted, along with interest from the wider world, around the companion piece to 2009’s album, ‘Renihilation’, Hunt-Hendrix’s text, ‘Transcendental Black Metal: A Vision of Apocalyptic Humanism’. In its appropriation and intellectual exploration of black metal, Liturgy challenges notions of musical identity and legitimacy. Beyond this, however, performing stripped of black metal’s traditional hallmarks of costumes and props and beyond the theorising, Liturgy are truly transcendental live. Staggering in their technical precision, they move and swell together within a scorchingly intense cavern of sound. Their third full length, ‘The Ark Work’, is a quantum leap forward, a radical change in sound that paradoxically sounds more like Liturgy than ever. Blindingly intense, brutal and ecstatic, Liturgy is the rock band as a real-time visionary performance/art/life project. Prepare to be blown away.