PEOPLE LOVE LITURGY for the same reasons other people hate Liturgy. I’m not sure what philosopher said it, but if you hate something enough, it’s not all that different from love. You spend time hating.Your hatred defines you. If you are courageous or fucking stupid enough (depending on your perspective), you act on it. It’s good to know what you hate just as much as what you love. Liturgy, New York’s premier metal band, is a great example of this.
If you had to define the band’s listening population, I guess it would be: The open-minded who aren’t turned off by the tremolo/blast beat black metal sound and have no problem with the fact that these guys aren’t immersed in the lifestyle that goes with black metal. But that ain’t right either, because who’s really open-minded anymore?
This is 2010. It’s time for war, hate and misunderstanding.
Liturgy was formed by Hunter Hunt- Hendrix, as a one-man black metal band. He played guitar and screamed over a drum machine. Over the last year or so, Liturgy has grown to a full band, including Greg Fox, Hunter’s buddy from high school, on drums,Tyler Dusenbury on bass and Bernard Gann on guitar.The band’s first proper album, Renihilation, came out last year and it started playing regular shows in some Brooklyn DIY spaces like Death by Audio and Market Hotel.The band describes itself as “Pure Transcendental Black Metal,” which is as good a way as any to put it into words.
“The rules for black metal have been so orthodox and so rigid for a lot of its history, but the techniques that are actually employed can really be used to do all dif ferent kinds of things,” says Hunt-Hendrix.
While talking to Hunt-Hendrix, he named a lot of influences, ranging from black metal bands Emperor, Darkthrone and Xasthur to avant-garde guitar god Glenn Branca to weird 19th-century classical composers Carl Nielson, Anton Bruckner and Alexander Scriabin. Hunt-Hendrix also says he brings in lots of outside influences, including free jazz, and says Liturgy is even open to playing improvised shows in the future. Comments like this have gotten Hunt-Hendrix into trouble.
“I get MySpace messages from people who hate my band so much that they’ll write me these long message about how we’re not true, we’re not playing black metal so we shouldn’t say we are,” says Hunt-Hendrix.
To make it easy for you visual folks out there, I’ve got a chart [see sidebar]. My original chart had everything in the Awesome column repeated in the Suck column to prove the ridiculousness of it all, but I changed it to give some haters a say.
The comments come from popular metal site Metalsucks.com, BrooklynVegan and smaller blogs that mostly specialize in metal reviews. One thing I couldn’t add was this: Renihilation is 39 minutes of dizzying, horrifying beautiful music regardless of genre. I couldn’t find a comment anywhere criticizing the actual music, all bullshit aside.
“If it’s exciting to some stranger in Scotland and he hates it so much he wants to write me a message about it, that’s kind of cool,” says Hunt- Hendrix. “I’m not offended; I’m more flattered.”
The lovers say some of the things I say:
Liturgy is chaotic and epic. Fox’s drums might be the best drumming in black metal.The closing to “Ecstatic Rite” is so good, I listen to the song over and over just to make sure I didn’t miss something. It makes me feel like destroying. It’s violent, like black metal, but with enough harmony there’s gotta be room for love.
Mar. 6, Union Pool, 484 Union Ave. (at Meeker Ave.), Brooklyn, 718-609-0484; 9, $10.
A lot has been said, both good and bad, about Brooklyn’s Liturgy. Here are some of our favorites:
What we think
Greg Fox is an insane drummer and happens to have curly, blond hair.
Hunter Hunt-Hendrix went to Columbia and knows what Darkthrone is.
Liturgy’s album art includes clouds and rays of sun and solar eclipses.
What Internet haters say
“Since when did Hanson start doing black metal?”
“Is this how you´re making use of your Columbia College degree? Oy vey.”
“Black metal is Satan, it is blasphemy, it is extremity and principles and respect for the forefathers of the genre.”