As black metal has evolved from its frightening Scandanavian roots, in which the name of the game was tinny, treble-heavy guitars and drums played as fast as humanly possible, those involved in the genre have begun mixing other influences in. And, of course, purists have become haters as they watch an inevitable process in contemporary music: evolution. Brooklyn’s Liturgy have earned their share of scorn from the black metal scene for their fusion of spine-chilling howls and choral arrangements akin to postmodern composers like Steve Reich and Iannis Xennakis, but they’ve also turned a lot of heads that normally would not have dipped their toes in that musical pool. Their new release on Thrill Jockey, Aesthetica, is an intense ride, definitely full of the pummeling rhythms and monolithic guitar structures associated with any form of metal, but it’s also a gorgeously arranged piece of work that rewards repeated listening. It’s still loud as hell, though, so bring earplugs along with your open mind.
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